Top 9 Boston Red Sox Traditions

Pat DeCola@Pat_DeColaCorrespondent INovember 23, 2012

Top 9 Boston Red Sox Traditions

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    Every major league team has its own set of traditions.

    From kayak-bound fans diving for home run balls in McCovey's Cove at AT&T Park to the Tomahawk Chop at Turner Field, fans across the league all have their own practices that make themselves unique. 

    The Boston Red Sox

    Consider them the baseball-tradition trend-setters.

    Tradition runs deep in Boston and its set of rituals and trends run unparalleled throughout Major League Baseball.

    Behold, the list of traditions that make Boston the best baseball city in the country.

Hating the Yankees

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    Two things are guaranteed in life: death and taxes.

    That changes if you're a fan of the Boston Red Sox. If you happen to be a member of the Fenway Faithful, it's a hard-set rule that you have to hate the Yankees. There's no wiggle room.

    Sure, you can respect them. Many Red Sox fans have come to grow into a mutual respect for the likes of Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, et. al., but don't be mistaken. If you love the Red Sox, you hate the Yankees.

    As the saying goes, I'm a fan of two teams.

    The Boston Red Sox and whoever is playing the Yankees. 

Cowboy Up

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    According to, the term "Cowboy Up" means "When things are getting tough, you have to get back up, dust yourself off and keep trying."

    Not the most well-worded definition, but the point remains. 

    First coined in these parts by Kevin Millar and the lovable 2003 Red Sox "Idiots," "Cowboy Up" encapsulates everything that Boston has stood for since 1918. The team struggled over the course of 86 seasons, always pining for next year after a failure to bring the town a World Series title. Fans always came back positive the next season, hoping that that would be the year. 

    Once things changed in 2004 and the "Curse of the Bambino" ended, the "Cowboy Up" mentality subsided slightly, but the Red Sox could use some more of that magic in 2013 after a landslide of a 2012 season.


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    From 1997-2003, the Pope could make a trip to Boston and be eating lunch with Nomar Garciaparra out in public and fans wouldn't care.

    They'd just think "Nomah" was hanging out with some old dude, possibly his grandfather.

    As popular as Derek Jeter was and continues to be in New York, the phenomenon that was Garciaparra is untouched. To this day, despite the rockiness that led to the shortstop's departure via trade during the 2004 season, any baseball fan that paid attention during his career still views him as a legend.

    If they don't, they're kidding themselves.

Covering Pesky's Pole with Graffiti

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    Nobody knows why people feel inclined to take a Sharpie to the right field foul pole, commonly referred to as Pesky's Pole.

    Perhaps it's the chance to be etched in history (until it gets painted over); perhaps it's the fact that fans in the outfield tend to be inebriated well before beer stops being served in the seventh inning and their inhibitions are—ahem—lowered. 

    Either way, it's tradition to sign the pole if you're sitting out there. 

    Or else.

Touching the Green Monster for Good Luck

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    Much like Pesky's Pole, if you're within touching distance of the Green Monster, your hand better be swiped across the metallic emerald surface.

    And if it's your first time at the friendly confines of Fenway Park, you'd be doing your team a disservice by not doing so.

    It's cold, abrasive and potentially covered in germs that pre-date vaccinations, but the Green Monster is a fixture in Red Sox traditions. 

Sweet Caroline

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    There's really no good reason why the Neil Diamond ballad "Sweet Caroline" gets blasted through the Fenway speakers in the middle of the eighth inning, really.

    The song got its start at Fenway Park thanks to Amy Tobey, who was the ballpark’s music director from 1998 to 2004. She was responsible for choosing the music to be played between innings and picked Sweet Caroline simply because she had heard it played at other sporting events.

    Either way, it happens.

    And most people seem to love it, thus it's inclusion on this list. It won't be going anywhere soon, so we might as well embrace it.


Dirty Water

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    "Dirty Water," the popular 1966 single by one-hit-wonder The Standells, is played after every Boston Red Sox victory.

    You know what's funny about this?

    The Standells are from California.

    Regardless, the song has become an institution within Fenway Park, and every time it graces the ears of its inhabitants, it means the fans are going home happy.

Patriot's Day Game

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    Also known as "Marathon Monday," Patriots' Day is home to three major events. The Boston Marathon, a hellacious amount of traffic because of the Boston Marathon, and an 11 a.m. Red Sox game.

    Since 1959, this has been the case, and it's always an interesting concept.

    Baseball in the morning? Yes, please.

Fenway Franks

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    Clam chowder, sure. Baked beans? Why not.

    But give me a Fenway Frank any day of the week. Especially if I'm watching a baseball game.

    Each frankfurter contains at least half of a shaker's worth of salt, which make it all the tastier. I don't care if the first bite makes my fingers swell up to size of, well, hot dogs, or even if they are $4.75 a pop.

    If I'm at Fenway, I'm eating a Frank.


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