So, its February, and its cold. You've started thinking about springtime and baseball, and you've decided to jump on the Red Sox bandwagon. I, personally, feel like you need to cheer for your hometown team unless you are or have been raised (like me) by a transplanted fan. If, however, you choose not to do this, its all good.
Red Sox Nation is always willing to welcome one more.
So, if this is the case, here are a few rules/tips/etc., to get you through 2009 without being called a bandwagon jumper.
First, the rules.
1. No pink hats. Unless there's some breast cancer day, pink hats are big no-no's.
2. When Kevin Youkilis is up to bat, he is not being booed, everyone is yelling, "Yooouuukkk."
3. Never, EVER mention Bucky *@!% Dent or Aaron *@!% Boone without some sort of negative or expletive.
4. If someone brings up Yaz during game, they are not talking about birth control, they are talking about Carl Yastremski.
5. Ninety-nine point nine percent of the time we will never root for the Yankees to win. The only exception to this rule is if a Yankees win can secure the Red Sox the Wild Card or the AL East.
6. You cannot like both the Red Sox and the Yankees. Not possible, don't even try.
7. Starting the "Yankees Suck" chant when we are not playing the Yankees is a bad plan. It either makes everyone think you are drunk or a brand new fan.
8. If someone brings up Williams, Fisk, Lynn, Yaz, Pesky, etc., and you don't actually know anything about them, shhh!
9. You must know something about baseball. Be sure to know what a sac-fly is, a hit-and-run, what is and is not a save, drop third strike, fair and foul, and have a little idea what the batting average means.
10. If you are surrounded by fans who start the whole "that's it, we're done" nonsense, they are old fans. They've been around for a while, and they don't actually mean "we're done." They still have hope, but its a lingering knee-jerk reaction, and the longer they've been a Sox fan, the longer they will have said reaction.
Now, the traditions.
We'll start with songs. Songs at a baseball game are important. They take up the time in the middle of innings when we're switching sides, get the fans back into the game, and entertain everyone. The Red Sox have several that are played at almost every home game.
First, is Sweet Caroline.
Sweet Caroline is played at every game in the middle of the eighth inning. The lyrics can be found here or on the big screen at Fenway.
Next, we have Tessie.
Tessie has some history. It was originally from a Broadway play and utilized by the Royal Rooters in the early 1900s to inspire the Red Sox and taunt opposing teams. In 2004, if was re-recorded by the Dropkick Murphys and several members of the Red Sox organization, and it tells the story of the Royal Rooters. It is the second of three songs played after every Red Sox win at Fenway Park.
This is from the CD Warriors Code, by the Dropkick Murphys, explaining Tessie:
"We recorded this song in June 2004 and after giving it to the Red Sox told anyone that would listen that this song would guarantee a World Series victory. Obviously no one listened to us or took us seriously. We were three outs away from elimination in Game Four at the hands of the Yankees and receiving death threats from friends, family, & strangers telling us to stay away from the Red Sox and any other Boston sports team and get out of town. Luckily for us things turned around for the Red Sox and the rest is history."
Then there's Dirty Water.
Dirty Water was recorded by the Standells and debuted on the radio in 1966. It is the first song played after every home victory by the Red Sox and is a tribute to Boston. Lyrics can be found here.
Finally, Joy To The World.
Joy to The World is a song by Three Dog Night. It is the last of the three songs played at home Red Sox victories. Check out the lyrics here.
Finally, here are some random 2009 tidbits you might need to know.
Dustin Pedroia's listed height and his apparent actual height are different. Say nothing, he's a beastly player.
Kevin Youkilis is Mr. Intensity. He's not really called that. One of his nicknames is "The Greek God of Walks." He is also not generally called that. Mostly, we call him "Youk."
Jason Varitek is one of three team captains in Major League Baseball. So the "C" on his chest is a big deal.
Wakefield pitches knuckleballs.
Terry Francona is also referred to as "Tito." He doesn't chew tobacco, but he does go through tons of Double Bubble every game.
"PawSox" refers to "Pawtucket Red Sox," the AAA team for the Red Sox organization.
The mascot is "Wally the Green Monster." This is because the 37-foot, two-inch left field wall at Fenway, the tallest of such walls in the Majors, is called "The Green Monster." It was not actually painted green until 1947.
When they call Jon Lester a "southpaw" this means "lefty."
The AL East is the division the Red Sox play in. It is a tough division, because the Yankees spend so much money and the Rays have had first-round draft picks for years, so they have a lot of young talent. The Orioles and the Blue Jays are also in the division.
The "bullpen band" is a term for when the bullpen gets bored or wants to distract the other team and they bang on the fence and shake things to create music. They are actually quite good.
A Fenway Frank is a hot dog.
Jerry Remy and Don Orsillo are the NESN announcers for the Boston Red Sox
Fever Pitch was not that good of a movie.
That's about all I can think of for now, so if you're just joining us, welcome to Red Sox Nation. You'll love it here.