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Where Did Your Pink Hat Go?  Share

27 August 2010

Why does your coworker like the Red Sox so much?  And a better question, why hasn’t she worn that shiny, new Sox hat since July?  I’ll start with why she’s not wearing the hat this year and why you might hear a little bit more from Sox fans on Monday. 

Unfortunately for the Red Sox, they play in the AL East where the two best teams in baseball reside.  Of course, in my unbiased opinion, the Red Sox are the best team in baseball and the Yankees and Rays just cheat more.  Seriously though, if the Red Sox are to make a playoff run, it has to begin this weekend when they travel to Tampa to take on the Rays.

Going into the weekend, we (the Sox, I’m allowed to call them “we”) are 5 ½ games behind the Yankees and Rays, who share both the Division Lead and the Wild Card Lead.  (In sports standings if you are “a game behind,” that means the second place team has lost one more game than the first place team, assuming they have played the same number of games.  Half games come into play when teams have played a different number of games.  If team A wins a game, but Team B doesn’t play that day, then Team A is said to have gained a half-game.  If that’s not clear, don’t sweat it.  The bigger the number, the bigger the gap between the two teams.)  That means if nothing changes, both the Tampa Rays and the Yankees both go to the playoffs.  Unfortunately for the entire free world, the Evil Empire seems pretty stable and not likely to fall apart.  (Star Wars reference explained: when the current Red Sox ownership group took over the Red Sox, one of them quickly compared the Yankees to Darth Vader’s Evil Empire, finally personifying this hated entity.  And I say “unfortunately for America” because I like to think that my view of the world is the only correct one, and no one should be subjected the Yankees in the playoffs; it’s just awful.  Trust me.) 

Anyway…   the Rays have been streaky and could falter down the stretch.  For Sox fans a sweep is the only measure of success this weekend.  Sweeping all three games would pull the Red Sox to within 2 ½ games of the Rays and right back in the Wild Card hunt.  2 1/2 games can be made up over the span of a pretty boring week.  The Red Sox have hung around on the cusp of being “out of it” all season.  This is actually pretty impressive since the “oh-ten” (my favorite moron number) Sox have had more injuries than the French at Waterloo (or the French in WWI or the French in WWII or the French in…  you get the point).  Anyway… if they pull off the miracle and inject themselves into the race, a la Palin in ’08, you might see some pink hats around your town again (some of the bandwagoning female Red Sox fans wear pink Red Sox hats instead of the traditional red worn by most true fans.).    

This may seem like information that could be restricted to a small town newspaper in Maine.  I’m sure by now the reader in the Pacific Northwest is wondering aloud “so what?”  (To that reader, don’t worry; the Red Sox often make you wonder aloud, so just accept it and move on.)   Anyway… since 2003, “Red Sox Nation” has grown to include anyone who considers themselves a Red Sox fan because they thought Johnny Damon was hot or that watching the big comeback in 2004 made them “die-hard” (Damon played well during the Sox' World Series run in '04, but later committed the highest form of sports adultery by going to the Dark Side and becoming a member of the New York Yankees.)  In reality most Red Sox fans resent this new generation of Red Sox fans, known as the “Pink Hat Brigade.”  (Look it up on Urban Dictionary if you’re over 18.)  They drive up ticket prices (demand rises, supply remains constant), they distract you at the game (haven’t figured out that “going to pee” again is really annoying) and just generally give your fan base a bad name. 

It all started in 2003 when the Red Sox had a character on the team named Kevin Millar (pronounced Mill-ahhh).  This guy was a hard-nosed, class-clown type of guy who happened to be a very average baseball player.  The media latched on to him, made him seem like Babe Ruth, and started a movement centered on the phrase “Cowboy Up,” a phrase Millar once uttered trying to motivate the team.  After a devastating loss in the playoffs to the Yankees that year, a whole new population of fans who still couldn’t misspell Socks properly, were “crushed” and, in their mind, “die- hard fans.”  A year later Dave Roberts stole second, the Sox won the World Series, and the new generation of Sox fans had gone from the lowest of the lows to the highest of the highs, all in the excruciating span of 12 months.

 

Frankly, that was cheating.  I actually have a VHS tape (remember those?) labeled Red Sox Misery, which had games I taped from ESPN Classic.  Games like the 1946 Game 7 against St. Louis, and the 1967 Game 7 against St. Louis, and the 1975 Game 7 against Cincinnati, and the 1986 Game…  you get the point. 

Anyway… the point is this: there are a lot of Red Sox fans out there who claim to be Sox fans because from ’03 to ’08 it was chic to be a Sox fan.  The ironic thing is that some of them haven’t figured out that it’s time to jump off the bandwagon.  Someday I might publish a “True Fan’s Guide to Recognizing a Bandwagoneer.”    

All the ranting aside, I’m really just mad that the Sox aren’t winning.  To be perfectly honest, when the Sox are winning, Osama (or Usama, if you prefer) could sport a pink Sox hat with his army field jacket and I’d be ok with it.    

One liner:  “Nice Pink Hat.  Did you get it in ’03 or after the ’04 World Series?”

Send comments to: Mike@notasportsguy.com

The Basics

Baseball is  has been labeled "America's Pastime" because during the late 19th and early 20th century it was the most widely played sport in the country. More...

Terminology:

Win (for a pitcher):  A pitcher must complete five innings of pitching and his team must be leading when he exits for him to get a win.  A pitcher with 15 wins in a season is doing well; 20 wins is the recognized plateau of excellence.

ERA:  Earned Run Average.  A statistic which measures how many runs a pitcher averages surrendering to opposing teams based on pitching nine innings.  For instance, a pitcher with an ERA of 2.00 would on average give up 2 runs over the course of 9 innings.  ERA’s are always measured to the hundredths.  An ERA of under 3.00 is considered good.  An ERA under 2.00 is excellent and only a handful of pitchers are able to sustain an ERA under 2.00 for an entire season.

Pinch Hit:  when a player that did not start the game comes in to bat for a player that did start the game. 

Batting Average:   How often a player gets a hit.  Batting average is calculated by dividing the number of hits by total chances to hit.   If a player walks or is hit by a pitch, such actions are not counted as a chance to hit in calculating the batting average.  A .300 batting average (getting a hit 30% of the time) is considered to be above average for a MLB player.

Mendoza Line:  A euphemism for a .200 batting average.  The term came from a reference to Mario Mendoza, a light hitting infielder in the 1970s that usually batted around .200.  A player that is hitting around the Mendoza Line is lucky to still have a job in the Major Leagues.

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