Monthly Archives: September 2010

Well-Connected Ken Burns Apparently Knows Only Two Red Sox Fans

OK, fine. Three if we count Little Timmy Barnicle, who is rumored to have learned George Carlin’s seven major curse words at a very early age.

We don’t want to sound ungrateful after Ken Burns’ Baseball: The Tenth Inning devoted a sizable chunk of its runtime to the 2004 World Series victory. The historical background and dramatic moments were captured about as accurately as possible. By and large, the segment did justice to truthfully depicting the significance of the win on the larger scale.

But, seriously: Mike Barnicle and Doris Kearns Goodwin?

Little Timmy Barnicle standing on his chair at Yankee Stadium??

Burns apparently wasn’t interested in finding a few other Sox fans willing to come out of the woodwork and go on record.

Yeah, we’re a really bashful bunch by nature…But a disgraced former Boston Globe columnist and a biased historian discussing their fan experience in 2004 wasn’t just increasingly tiresome, but also lazy for someone as respected as Burns.

Neither representative is heaped in loads of credibility. Both Barnicle and Goodwin have adamantly denied fairly obvious accusations of plaigiarism in the past.

Meanwhile, Brooklyn-born Goodwin is already in her second marriage in terms of team allegiances. Wait ‘Til Next Year may be applicable to the Red Sox, but the book focused on the Brooklyn Dodgers. She adopted the Sox as “her” team in the late ‘60s. Sure, she may look like she waited all 86 years for the Sox to bring home a championship, but she’s actually only 67 years old. Her fandom was self-chosen as a coherent adult and, thus, her depiction as a poor, tortured soul is somewhat disingenuous.

Barnicle? Well, before he was a talking head on MSNBC, he was the kind of newspaper columnist who fabricated stories about kids dying from cancer in order to inject dramatic effect into his pieces. That was a long time ago and perhaps the man’s turned over a new leaf. (There is absolutely positively no chance he played up the drama of watching the 2003 and 2004 Game 7s with his sons because cameras happened to be rolling in his face.)

Burns was content to just scratch the superficial surface of local fandom, regrettably managing to add yet more inertia to the unfortunate cliché of the Tortured / Maligned / Fatalistic Red Sox Fan. Spokesfans like Goodwin and Barnicle continue to spout their tired retrospective narratives of agony because that is what they believe people want to hear. It is a mindset that the media has projected onto Red Sox fans for decades and continues to be exacerbated by a handful of people who cannot stand to be ignored. Part of Burns’ job is to temper exaggeration in the name of historical context.

In the end, Barnicle’s anecdote about his 11-year-old son standing on his seat at the end of Game 7 in New York is telling not because it perfectly captures how it felt to be a Red Sox fan on that October night, but because father and son were surrounded by thousands of other elated people who were jumping just as high with joy. Unfortunately, when everyone is screaming at the top of their lungs, some people will do anything to stand out.

Red Sox officials plead with fans to exit playoff ticket virtual waiting rooms

It is beginning to look like this might not be the year. But the third-place blues of the local nine have not discouraged rabid Red Sox fans from flocking to infamous virtual waiting rooms (like the one pictured below) in the hopes of scoring coveted tickets to a ‘potential’ playoff showdown with the New York Yankees or Tampa Bay Rays.

The sellout streak holds strong as Fenway Park continues to be packed to the gills this month despite Boston’s injury-derailed season, which is poised to end short of a playoff berth for the first time since 2006.

Fans like Tina from Shrewsbury do not appear fazed by the likelihood that it will all be over in less than two weeks.

“I’ve been refreshing browsers on all three of my family’s home computers,” she said Monday night—after Daisuke Matsuzaka’s lackluster five-walk performance in a 4-2 loss to the Orioles. “I figure the more computers I have going the better chance of getting tickets. People won’t be laughing when I’m drunkenly yelling at Evan Longoria from third-base box seats a month from now.”

Club employees are not certain how people continue to populate the virtual waiting areas accessible through the Web site. Some suspect that so-called “zombie links” from past years continue to somehow provide access to the mainframe servers, which has wreaked havoc on the operations of the site.

The initial puzzlement has quickly given way to annoyance.

“Fans: Please, for the love of Pedro, stop logging onto looking for playoff tickets. There are NO playoff tickets,” begged one official. “The added traffic is disrupting our ability to employ a skeleton staff for end-of-season site operations.”

It would appear that the eternally hopeful mentality of Red Sox Nation could make for a long winter.

“I’ve been calling the box office a few times a day just to check in on availability. You have to be vigilant and keep the faith,” advised David from Hanover. “I’ll never forget what happened in 2004, when I got World Series tickets ten minutes before first pitch.”

Standing just steps away from the day-of-game ticket window on Landsdowne Street, Paul from Yarmouth could be spotted rolling out a sleeping bag and using his iPhone to view his virtual waiting room status.

“Those guys who work in the box office hate me. They know I’m gonna be here every day until they release Sox-Yanks ALCS tickets,” he said. “The team holds back a certain number of seats to be sold the morning of each game and I’m gonna be here waiting when they do. Believe that.”

Club officials have resorted to asking local news outlets to repeat proclamations from earlier in the summer that the season is doomed. However, TV and radio hosts have declined thus far, reasoning that repeating their prognostications would be construed as overtly negative.

“Youk’s out…Pedroia’s out…Lackey and Beckett have been absolute disasters. I don’t know what else needs to happen,” lamented one top executive. “This sellout streak is nice, but maybe we’ve taken the whole thing a bit too far.”