I’m reminded of Joe Pesci’s line in “My Cousin Vinny” when he showed up for court in another unprofessional outfit and Judge Herman Munster reminded him that he was going to hold him in contempt if he didn’t dress appropriately, and Vinny Gambini said: “You were serious about that?” It was funny, because he was so incredulous. It was such an absurd notion to him that he never even considered the judge could be serious.
So, now I ask Red Sox and Yankee fans: “You’re serious about this over-the-top rivalry nonsense?”
I had always assumed fans who booed someone like Johnny Damon did so because of an obligatory commitment to the joke we’re all in on. Nobody could seriously hate Damon for taking an extra 12-million dollars to play for the Yankees. I mean, the man plays baseball for money. What did you expect him to do? Love you? Stay in Boston for 12-million dollars less because of the strong bond you and he had formed? Johnny Damon never promised you anything. He owed you nothing. And he had no reason to be loyal to you. None. But I thought you knew that. I thought you pretended to feel betrayed when he left. I thought it was a community gag – a charade – to say you hate the Yankees. It’s fun to pretend! But you were serious about all that?
When fans verbally abuse or threaten violence against someone who wears a Yankee hat to Fenway, you’re serious when you blame the victim and say they got what they deserved? Some good-natured, harmless trash-talking is fun, but you seriously don’t think that some people take it too far.
A guy on the radio today — a grown man I’m talking about – said that it was a particularly stinging slap in the face when Damon went to the Yankees and made a public display of shaving his beard and cutting his hair. “It was like he was turning his back on everything he stood for when he was a Red Sock.” OMG!
A grown man behaving like a whiny ex-girlfriend who finds out her old boyfriend threw out the Valentine’s Day cards she’d sent him. “Doesn’t what we once had mean anything to you?” That’s how this grown man — and he’s not alone — sounded. He should be embarrassed — unless he was simply taking the game to another level.
Because, seriously, you can’t be serious about this stuff. It must be make believe when you take this rivalry to a disproportionate level. You must be pretending when you think you have a “relationship” with a stranger in a uniform.
Tom Brady said he hates the Jets, and Rex Ryan said he hates Tom Brady — and I’m convinced not even they were serious. Ryan certainly wasn’t. And if Brady is serious, it’s only because of Spygate. Why else would he hate the Jets and not the Dolphins or Bills, or even the Colts? Brady’s hatred, if it’s real and not exaggerated dislike, comes from a personal level. He’s got a stake in it. Where’s your hatred come from?
It might be better to just calm down. Gain some perspective. Like and respect the players on your team. Love’em if you want, but forget’em when they’re gone. At the very least, don’t brag about your hatred. Don’t think it’s cool to hate. It’s not. Seriously.