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Success! (and some fairness to RSN)

Dice K Matsuzaka Baltimore Orioles take back the yardLast night I saw something at Camden Yards I’ve never seen before: lines. Long, long lines. It was a terrible sea of red and blue, and I was worried.

If the notion of taking back the yard is measured only in numbers, we lost again. Last night was, as you might expect, about 60-70% Sox fans. But our little band of rough riders, including a fortuitously seated Dan the Man and a handful of others, succeeded in transforming our section. We cheered, we yelled, we heckled (staying at all times on the right side of the line). When the Orioles put up 7 runs in the third inning we went bonkers and rode the wave from there to an extraordinarily satisfying victory.

It couldn’t really have gone much better.

Which leads me to something that I have to say in the interest of fairness: there’s a lot of decent folks in Red Sox Nation. I’m not sure if they represent a majority (my instincts say no), but they do exist.

Most of the folks I talked to last night were decent, gracious, and friendly. We had a robust back-and-forth at times, at other times we just sat and talked baseball. And I learned a little something from them. I learned that they come here because they can, and that they don’t understand why more folks like me aren’t at every Saturday night divisional matchup. They sit in that beautiful stadium and think “you’re not taking advantage of this? Are you nuts?”

The answer to that would be “yes,” if you’re wondering.

There were assholes, of course, but not as many as I thought there would be. So to those of you who behaved decently and respected us and our stadium, come back anytime. I’d like to think that someday it won’t be as easy as it has been, but it is what it is.

Last night was a perfect cap to the baseball season. I’ll carry that good feeling with me into the offseason and come to spring ’08 with renewed optimism (as always).

If you can’t find something similar, I suggest you give up on baseball entirely.

19 comments to Success! (and some fairness to RSN)

  • KonaBoy

    Yeah, I actually had the same experience last night, most of the Sawk fans around me were decent/sane folk, though it was funny to so see the divergence in taste along age lines; older fans were real baseball fans while the younger drunker ones (near my age: 23) would cheer and high-five at anything red.

    Where exactly were you guys? I was in the 94 section of ESR surronded by a sea of navy & red, but was blessed to be seating directly next to a wonderful family of Os fans from Chesapeake, VA. I also proudly displayed my, at least I thought so, well-thought out signs of: Hey Boston, time to circle the BANDwagons!, on one side & 30-3>1918-2004, on the other. Sawk fans either look confused at it or went “come on!”, but lots of random high fives from fellow fans in orange & black. :-) Loved the atmosphere last night, even saw a Bill Hagy-esque event in section 90 of the ESR when a good dozen of Os fans were being lead in spelling by one brave fan.

    Is anyone from last night thinking about going to the last Yankee series this year at OPACY? I am now seriously considering going again on the 29th.

  • df1570

    Oh yeah, no one else mentioned it, but kudos to Dave Trembley for calling out Cabrera in public for his bush-league move on Friday night.

    It’s about time someone in that organization stood up for professionalism.

    What a train wreck ’07 has become.

    I still say it’s gonna get worse before it gets better.

    The O’s have, what, 61 wins right now?

    They’ll be hard pressed to get 66.

    I said it two weeks ago and I’m sticking with it now. They’re gonna finish in last place.

    Maybe that’s what they need.

  • Although as a Red Sox fan, I wasn’t happy to see “our boys” trounced, I’m enough of a baseball fan to be happy that the O’s fans who turned out for Take Back the Yard had something to cheer about. Must have been fun. (And I love that 30-3 sign. Very funny.)

    I appreciate that there are a lot of Red Sox fans who are louts and assholes, but a lot of us are just folks who grew up in New England and who really like baseball. This goes especially for us middle aged and older fans who remember when the team was just TERRIBLE. (I’m talking pre-1967, of course, when the Red Sox were regular cellar dwellers.)

    I’ve always liked the O’s, so I hope that they “come back”. Having another strong team in AL-East would be great for the game.

    By the way, the fellow who was the lead engineer on your beautiful Camden Yards – Tom Rogers – is a native New Englander and life-long Red Sox fan. In fact, I was with Tom at his first Red Sox game in July 1960. We sat in the bleachers, and the Sox beat Cleveland 6-4. On our drive back to Worcester, Massachusetts, our dad told us how happy he was that his kids had gotten the chance to see Ted Williams play ball. Ted even hit a home run for us.

  • dan the man

    KonaBoy – I saw you standing in line for food, I think, with that sign and I high-fived you. It was the first thing that made me smile that night, because walking into the park I was not in a great mood. I obviously know about the Sox Nation invasions, but I had yet to really go to a game when they were out in full force. And man, were they. The first thing I saw upon walking out of the parking lot was a drunk Sox fan who said, most predictably, “YEAHH THE TWO THINGS I LOVE MOST- THE RED SOX AND BEER”. Then he proceeded to hit ever metal street sign on the way to the ballpark, walked into the middle of the street screaming at cars, and eventually ended up going the opposite way of Camden Yards. Well done, buddy.

    The dude leading the Hagy cheer in that section was a guy named Dan, who really stepped up and kick-started the 10 or so of us O’s fans in that section and never let up. Major props to him. While the Rally did not go as planned, the few of us O’s fans who just happened to be sitting in the same section made the absolute most of it. Once the game was tied, we let it fly. We heckled back and forth, we drank beer, we engaged in revelry, and we cheered real hard. By the end of the night, my vocal chords were shot, and I had an extremely satisfying feeling of moral victory. It was the most fun I’ve had at an O’s game in a LONG time, if not ever. The odds were stacked so high and yet guys like Leicester, Cherry, Moore, and Tike teamed up to beat the surging Sox and Dice-K. We like to think we had some small part in that victory, too.

    Nope, we didn’t Take Back the Yard. But we took back section 96-98, that’s for damn sure. We were raucous enough to get some “SHUT UP”s from a whiny female Sox fan, to which Neal’s buddy replied, “No! We will NOT shut up. When we’re in your stadium, you’re more than welcome to do this to US.” Right on, man. Where do Sox fans get off telling O’s fans to shut up in Baltimore? They shouldn’t, and they didn’t last night.

    But as Neal said, there were some good natured Sox fans who were, at first, downright surprised at our behavior. And then, after we shared some words with them, I like to think we won them over a bit. The woman next to me was particularly nice, and completely understood where we were coming from.

    “Millar traded in his lobstah for a crab cake!” Haha, classic.

  • neal s

    Yeah, I second that on the Dan who was leading the cheers. That guy really brought everything together and helped the cause in a big way.

    Man, hell of a night.

  • neal s

    Also, it was great to finally meet you, Dan.

  • dan the man

    Yeah, man, you as well, and you’re whole crew. Funny thing – I actually left my phone in my car so I couldn’t call you. This bummed me out considering I ended up flying solo, but it didn’t matter after all. I’ll try and post that video I mentioned. By the time I got my camera out, I had missed most this guy’s rant but it’s amusing nonetheless. However, knowing my ineptitude at posting pictures in a comment, this probably won’t work:

    By the way – how about you leaving a message on Dan’s phone to that LC fan? Haha TLC is big time now…

  • dan the man

    Damn, I guess the YouTube embed code doesn’t work, either. Well, here’s the link:

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=6i5AcDCv29E

  • neal s

    I wonder if middle-aged Pat, with her parents, on the third base side, managed to escape?

    And yeah, that message was awesome. The closest I’ll ever come to a celebrity moment.

  • matt

    Well, the stands may have been alive in your section, not in mine (Boston fan here). Even after the grand slam saturday when you would think the crowd would be rocking, almost nothing. It was more like watching a game in front of a disappointed crowd at fenway.

    Sunday was more of the same, with a few baltimore chants that finally exceeded more than one person finally showing up at the end of the game.

    It’s a beautiful park and the ushers and park employees were great, very friendly. My family had a great time. But even as a sox fan it was depressing to me seeing the state of baltimore home games.

    (as far as asshole sox fans, there’s more fans period, which means more jerks. Simple math.)

  • neal s

    Can’t argue with that, Matt. I’m pretty happy with what we did in our section, but I have no illusions about the overall crowd.

  • vicki

    Take back the yard night, please. You guys could not even take 5 sections back. This would not happen in Boston. All the Hype about take the yard back was a farce. You should not be bitching at the Red Sox. Why dont you save that for your owner. It been 10 years since your team has been competitive. Why dont you use your energy demanding this owner to sell.

    STOP BITCHING ABOUT OTHER TEAMS COMING INTO YOUR CITY. I KNOW ONE THING THE “BAH’S” LOVE US.

    LOVE,
    2007 WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS

  • Andrew in Rochester

    It’s nice that an Angels fan came here to “cheer” us back up. Keep on keepin’ on, Vicki!

  • dan the man

    If there was any hype about Take Back the Yard, it was created by bostondirtdogs.com, not The Loss Column. Check the title of the blog, lady. We hold no illusions about how bad our team is.

    It was a fun night, no one is trying to be negative towards you here. I don’t know why you’re so angry. Yes, you have a world series-caliber team and we don’t. That’s why no one goes to Orioles games. 10 straight years of horrible baseball will do that. We just wanted to have a little fun and stir shit up. Apparently, we stirred you up.

  • neal s

    Vicki exists for our amusement.

  • vicki

    Neal,

    I heard you just exist !!! Have fun watching us in the playoffs.

  • Andrew in Rochester

    Yeah, Vicki, it should be fun, and I’ll be rooting for your Angels all the way (unless the Cubs goto the Series, then they’re America’s team)!

  • vicki

    Andrew,

    How did the Angel and Indians do? Up 2-0 with the Rockies. How did the CUBS do? 99 years and counting.

  • Andrew in Girlchester

    You know, I was actually wondering when you were coming back. Anyway, congratulations – it was really quite impressive. Let’s just hope dem O’s get their act together with some young talent in the next years and make things interesting in a way the Yankees-Red Sox business hasn’t.