When I first moved to Massachusetts over ten years ago, I quickly noticed two things: Dunkin' Donuts establishments outnumber churches 100 to 1 and New Englanders have a different definition of the word "suck" than the rest of the country.
At first, I had no comprehension as to why there were Dunkin' Donuts on every corner, sometimes literally across the street from each other. But after spending one winter here, I realized that they are necessary. The caffeine and the fat make the weather and the traffic tolerable, a dose of comfort that alleviates the pain.
However, the "suck" usage still leaves me perplexed. You see, New Englanders have a propensity for saying "Yankees Suck!" It is in this particular sentence that I found the semantic difference.
Where I come from, the word "suck" means to be not good, to be bad. For example, my hometown team, the Pittsburgh Pirates, suck. And, they have for a long time.
The Detroit Lions suck.
A rectal exam sucks.
As a president, Jimmy Carter sucked.
Now, when I think of the New York Yankees, I don't think of suck. On the contrary, I think of excellence. To me, 27 World Series titles and 40 American League Championship pennants epitomize superiority, not ineptitude.
That's why I could never wrap my head around Red Sox fans disturbing obsession with saying "Yankees Suck!" Especially, since the Yankees dominated the Red Sox until 2004. Even after "The Curse" had been broken, they couldn't let it go.
What makes it more hysterical is the fact that most Yankee fans never really considered there to be a Boston-New York rivalry. It's pretty much a one-sided affair perpetuated by Bostonians exposing their inferiority complex.
(I remember watching a Patriots' celebration in Boston on the local news. Indeed, the Patriots had just won a playoff game, yet the crowd was chanting "Yankees Suck!" Clearly, there is something clinical going on with the entire fan base.)
Which leads me to another favorite pastime of Red Sox fans: Calling the Yankees "The Evil Empire". In the mind of the Red Sox faithful, the reason that the Yankees are evil is because they supposedly buy championships. The irony in this is totally lost on Red Sox fans.
It's like Donald Trump saying that Don King has a bad haircut.
And, whether or not Red Sox fans like it, they have now become the new "Evil Empire". Their payroll is surpassed only by those meanies from the Bronx. With the acquisition of both Carl Crawford and Andrian Gonzalez, the Red Sox have a big target on them, and can easily be labeled as a team buying a championship.
In other words, anything less than a World Series victory this year will be a disappointment. The pressure is on.
All of this leads to a question: If the Red Sox win another championship, their third in less than ten years, will Yankee fans start chanting "Red Sox Suck!" and label the Red Sox "The Evil Empire"?
The answer to that question can best be summed up using a quaint New Yorker expression: Forgetaboutit!