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What the Red Sox Invasion Looked Like



Ok, I'm not just spinning here. The big takeaway from last night's game, for me, was that baseball in D.C. is gonna be a heckuva swell time when/if this team gets good. The weather would have made a dying man cry, the streets and concourses were lively thoroughfares of sporting excitement at what's been the deadest time of the calendar in this city, and for probably the first hour of the game you could still see people streaming toward the park. It felt like baseball mattered, and it was cool, and it'll be like that all the time when/if this team gets good.

What did the Sox fans look like? Well, I can tell you that they really believe loafers, no socks and khakis is the ideal way to watch baseball. They believe, almost without exception, that baseball hats should be worn backwards. They believe that no t-shirt is possibly so hilarious that putting it on a green background won't make it even more hilarious. And they believe that such t-shirts are especially great if they make allusions to drinking, Boston accents and (mostly for ladies) the hotness of Red Sox players.

As for the breakdown of that stadium-record crowd, everyone I asked guessed somewhere between 65 percent and 80 percent Red Sox fans. By noise, I'd still argue 80 percent would have been impossible; sure, the Boston roars were significantly louder, but no way were they four times louder. Maybe the Bostonians were too busy catching up with old friends from Brookline (or some neighborhood in which people actually live) to cheer. And by sight, there were sections where it was awful hard to find Nats gear. I'll say 75 percent seems fair enough.

But still, it's ok. It's three games, every few years, and we knew this was going to happen. It was nowhere near as disheartening as the Steelers game, which was one of 16, for a team still in playoff contention. Also, as always, yesterday I parked for free on my secret side street, and I waited less than five seconds in line for my veggie burger. (Fans who e-mail me with concession line complaints: go upstairs, way upstairs, in the early innings. Emptiness.)

Plus, it turns out that Nats fans could match Red Sox fans in the fashion department step-for-step. We're more alike than we are different. Check it out.



Both groups of fans like Obama, for one.


And both groups of fans like Julian Tavarez, which is kind of weird.



Both groups of fans like their football teams.



And their hockey teams, too.



Both groups of fans had leading elements whose jerseys will make you cringe or smile, depending on your particular attitude about life.



Also, both groups of fans have to be confused by all these types of people who were walking around yesterday. I mean, what were these people thinking?



And yet both groups of fans were gathering in confusing clumps of their own. Or maybe confusing isn't the right word. Clumps that made you go, "Hmmmmmm," how about?



Both groups of fans proudly paid homage to superstars who are no longer with us.



Repeatedly.



All night long.



And, of course, both groups of fans had stars who know how to accessorize. The Nats guy here refers comes in this get-up several times a year. His two sons, he told me, love it, and the chest-hair, he said, was "all organic." He was the best fan I saw on the night, and he was one of our own. Take that, invaders.

"We need a National superhero to pull us through," he explained. "We need all the help we can get."

By Dan Steinberg  |  June 24, 2009; 11:48 AM ET
Categories:  Caps , Nats , Redskins  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Nats Welcome Sox Fans in Style
Next: Ask Tiger Questions

Comments

Awesome pics and spin. From my own experience, the upper deck concession observation holds, too.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 24, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

Watching on TV, it seemed like a much more even crowd than those at the game are saying. I heard about the same amount of applause when the Nats scored as when the Sawx scored. Sure, the Youklis chant was loud, but other than that, watching on TV it sounded to m emore like 55-45 Sox or at most 60-40. I guess that means MASN did a good job with its microphones or that my ears are going bad.

Posted by: Dougmacintyre | June 24, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse

Previous to yesterday's suckfest - the last Washington home game v Boston...

Sunday, September 19, 1971
Red Sox 4
Senators 3
Robert F. Kennedy Stadium, Attendance: 4,834

Where were you for that one, fake Chowderheads?

Posted by: Kev29 | June 24, 2009 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Someone needs to start selling "Red Sox Fan Since 2004" tee shirts.

Posted by: fushezzi | June 24, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Someone needs to start selling "Red Sox Fan Since 2004" tee shirts.

Posted by: fushezzi | June 24, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

-------------------------

Problem is, that's still one more year than anyone's been a Nats fan.

Posted by: Hokienautic | June 24, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

Good one, fushezzi.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 24, 2009 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Problem is, that's still one more year than anyone's been a Nats fan.

Posted by: Hokienautic | June 24, 2009 12:43 PM

Way to throw your purse at that one!

Posted by: Kev29 | June 24, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

http://www.atomicsportsmedia.com/articles/323/1/The-Bandwagon-is-Full.html

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 24, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

What I want to know is: how many of the "Red Sox fans" at last night's game have never been to a game at Fenway? Lots, I suspect.

(And no, going to see the Red Sox play at Red Sox Park At Camden Yards every year since 2004 doesn't count).

Posted by: wahoo2x | June 24, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I like how Dan Steinberg is so amused by things that are commonplace at any well-attended baseball game. People wear a wide variety of jerseys to games, what a clever idea for a blog post.

But I have sincere respect for your admission that baseball games are more fun when there are an abundance of red sox fans in attendance.

And thank you for reminding me of the Redskins-Steelers game last year, because Redskins fans are the DC area fans that I respect the most because of their devotion. But I was at that game (brought my buddy who is from Pittsburgh), and the fact that DC fans were outnumbered (or at least outcheered) at a Monday night skins game really made me question the character of sports fans around here. That would never happen in Boston (or New York, or Chicago...)

Did some guy really go look up a game from 1971 as evidence that Red Sox fans are fake?

Posted by: MassNative | June 24, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Did some guy really go look up a game from 1971 as evidence that Red Sox fans are fake?

Posted by: MassNative | June 24, 2009 1:19 PM

Please f*ck off to the Boston Globe site while you still have one.

Posted by: Kev29 | June 24, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Super Elvis Nats Fan is my new favorite Super-hero. Will he be there tonight? I need some serious Nats voo-doo so I can get a win "live" while my Bostononian in-laws are here!

Posted by: mjwies11 | June 24, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

"Did some guy really go look up a game from 1971 as evidence that Red Sox fans are fake?"

No - It just proved that the same amount of people showed up to DC Baseball in the 70's as they do now.

MassNative - It's funny, I have followed the Sox to other Cities and almost always the opposing fans don't believe Red Sox Fans travel with the team and that we're just a bunch of local bandwagon jumpers since '04. It got to the point in Philly that I had to show my Massachusetts License to prove I wasn't from Jersey. It's pathetic, especially here since Nats fans think it's just a coincidence that the stadium sold out and the Red Sox happen to be in town on a Tuesday night...... wow! Red Sox chants were loud last night! Almost Fenwayesque. Go Sox!

Posted by: CapeCodExpress | June 24, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

BTW Kev29 - did you come up with "Chowderheads" all by yourself or did Daddy help you out with that one? Because it was just so witty and funny of you that it almost seems impossible for you to have come up with it all on you own. I'm still laughing about it twenty minutes later.

Posted by: CapeCodExpress | June 24, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

I actually don't mind the crack about the khakis and the loafers. . . but funny how the photographic evidence is totally to the contrary. . . People see (and write) what they want to see. . .

Posted by: jacseamit | June 24, 2009 1:57 PM | Report abuse

"No - It just proved that the same amount of people showed up to DC Baseball in the 70's as they do now."

No actually it was to prove the fact that along with the Nationals, when your team sucks no one cares and will not spend money on the team.

Posted by: _newt_ | June 24, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

I understand the predicament you've found yourself in CapeCod but can you honestly answer "yes" to the follwoing question:

If the Red Sox hadn't won the World Series in 2004 and 2007, would there still be ~25k Red Sox fans at Nationals Park?

You may be a true transplant but I find it hard to believe they all are. It's like the Cowboys fans in the area. Most of them have never been to Dallas, let alone be able to point it out on a map. They cheer for that team simply for the attention it gives them....whether it be b/c it is a rival or a recent championship team. You're an original....duly noted. But excuse me for being skeptical of the rest of your brethren.

Posted by: fushezzi | June 24, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

fushezzi - no I honestly cannot say yes to that question however I don't think there wouldn't be a presence of Red Sox fans at the game either. You have to understand that the Red Sox, while located in Boston, are a regional team so your fanbase is pulling from six states. (well I should say 5, we don't count Connecticut) I guess my point is that '04 & '07 notwithstanding, there was already a large fanbase that did travel. I get the bandwagonjumpers, and don't care for them, but you just shouldn't be so quick to label them all that way. I appreciate what you said though.

Posted by: CapeCodExpress | June 24, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

fushezzi,

I find it best to just ask people around here who are Cowboy, Laker, Yankee fans what part of Dallas, LA, or NYC they are from...

I have no problem with people who are actually from New England being Sox fans, evben if they live here or traveled here or whatever. I have a problem with all the Sox Fans who are from Annandale and Bethesda.

Posted by: VTDuffman | June 24, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

" I get the bandwagonjumpers, and don't care for them, but you just shouldn't be so quick to label them all that way. "

CCE, if you lived here you would understand.

For every one of you, there are 10 people around here who are not from, nor have never been to Boston and couldn't tell you the difference between Manhattan and New England Clam Chowder, they just look really cute in their Pink "B" hats.

Unfortunately, it's the price of success. You have to deal with the fact that people will think you are a bandwagon jumper until you prove otherwise.

Posted by: VTDuffman | June 24, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

newt - sorry man but I don't understand that way of thinking. I was a Boston Bruins season ticket holder for a number of years when the team wasn't playing well. (painfully not playing well) If you are a fan of the team, you should be a fan throughout the ups and downs. Maybe that's easier said than done...

Posted by: CapeCodExpress | June 24, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Sox fan since the 1960's

Of course '04 and '07 have influenced the fan base, no brainer here.

The same happens in every city. In the 80's camden yard rocked, now it's dead unless the Sox or Yanks are in town.

Enjoy the money Sox fans are bringing to your park and your city. Born in Boston but live in outside of DC now. Your team and the local economy will benefit from the infux of tourists.

I get how you don't like 'outsiders' taking over your park. I wouldn't like it if it happened at Fenway but until your team takes off it will be this way.

Enjoy the revenue and hope for better days.

If the Nats win a WS they will have their fair share of bandwagon fans. So cheer up, someday fans of other teams may be calling all Nat's fan fakes also. Something to look forward to lol!

Posted by: pcollet | June 24, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Red Sox Nation should not be so impressed with itself....

I went the Cubs v. Twins in Wrigley 2 weeks ago and there were just as many Twins Fans there as there were Sox fans at Nats Park...

Who cares...I am glad my friends who are Sox fans and driving the bandwagon since their recent success get to see their team and have fun. When they suck again in a decade they won't come out and it will be another teams fans who are rabid and want to buy seats here.

Posted by: JLR75 | June 24, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

"CCE, if you lived here you would understand.

For every one of you, there are 10 people around here who are not from, nor have never been to Boston and couldn't tell you the difference between Manhattan and New England Clam Chowder, they just look really cute in their Pink "B" hats."

LOL!I hear ya. We have our own Pink Hats @ Fenway that know nothing about baseball, period. I had one "pink hat" ask me why the "audience was so loud", this after an Ortiz Homerun..... ugh. It's obnoxious so I understand where you all are coming from.

Posted by: CapeCodExpress | June 24, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

Fisk = Vidro?
Williams = Church?
Yaz = Guillen?

Nuf Ced.

Posted by: WWJBD | June 24, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Isn't the Nats "fan" in the Tavarez jersey wearing a Red Sox hat?

Posted by: Bring_back_the_broken_clock | June 24, 2009 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Personally I think it was a nice gesture that so many Sox fans hit the game even though it was just an exhibition against a minor league team. LoL.

I love all the sour grapes, reminds me of the pissy Os fans when RSN takes over B'More.

Also, many Sox fans embraced Montreal as their NL team for years before they fled to DC. So, compared to us, you're all bandwagoneers.

Talk to you in a decade when your franschise isn't a joke.

Love,

Beltway Bostonians

(and let's face it, there are more native Bostonians here than there are native Washingtonians, if there is such a thing...)

Posted by: hinesmatt | June 24, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Well said, CapeCod, from one fan to another.

---

newt - sorry man but I don't understand that way of thinking. I was a Boston Bruins season ticket holder for a number of years when the team wasn't playing well. (painfully not playing well) If you are a fan of the team, you should be a fan throughout the ups and downs. Maybe that's easier said than done...

Posted by: CapeCodExpress | June 24, 2009 2:33 PM

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 24, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Good points from pcollet as well. As for the trolls, eh, they'll be gone in a few days.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 24, 2009 3:54 PM | Report abuse

" I was a Boston Bruins season ticket holder for a number of years when the team wasn't playing well. (painfully not playing well) If you are a fan of the team, you should be a fan throughout the ups and downs. Maybe that's easier said than done"

Just because you choose not to go doesn't mean you're not a fan. It means you choose to spend your disposable income on other things. When my teams (all Washington) aren't as good I and most don't tend to go as much. This doesn't mean I am not with my team. It means I'm smart with my wallet. BTW except for Football every town has its attendance number coincide with a team coming off a winning season or the expectation a team will be good. If the Sox has 5 straight losing season the attendance would revert back to pre mid 80's numbers. The yankees attendance in the pre Torre era reflects this, the Cubs in the early 80's etc.

Posted by: JDB1 | June 24, 2009 3:56 PM | Report abuse

" Fisk = Vidro?
Williams = Church?
Yaz = Guillen?"


Johnson and Gibson > then all of them

Posted by: JDB1 | June 24, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

(and let's face it, there are more native Bostonians here than there are native Washingtonians, if there is such a thing...)

Posted by: hinesmatt | June 24, 2009 3:50 PM

Die in a fire

Posted by: Kev29 | June 24, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

There are definitely more (or at least more enthusiastic) red sox fans since they won the world series in 2004. Teams that win championships are more popular in every sport, there are pros and cons to that, it's not specific to the red sox.

But anyone who generalizes sox fans as fairweather because they won the WS was never at a game at fenway before 2004. Or a sox-orioles game at Camden yards before 2004, when tons of sox fans would come down.

Also, it's just absurd to compare some game from 1971 to the present. Pro sports have changed so much since then, there's really no comparison.

Posted by: MassNative | June 24, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

That's not a fan, that's actually Jose Guillen.

Posted by: Scott_in_Shaw | June 24, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Was he in line at the juice concession?

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 24, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

natsfna1a1
Thanks,

By the way, I do admire you and other Nat's fans. It's tought to support a team when they are struggling. My dad did it for 60 years with the Sox. He died before they won in '04.

To be honest with you I told my son in '03 to get out while he could. He took the loss to the yanks hard. I told him the Sox would always break his heart. I thought they would always lose and be second to the yanks. Little did I know...

My son will be at the game on Thursday, I hope he represents the nation well, a good sport if they lose or win:)

Posted by: pcollet | June 24, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

It's always amazing to see (and read)how fans around the country react to the Nation at their respective parks (yes, even the haters!) No disrespect to ANY fan or fan base any where, but statistically the Red Sox have the largest away fan base of any major league SPORT. This makes us Bostonians very proud, but also realize that this didn't just happen since 2004. I am also displaced, but I grew up just north of Boston and was luky enough to have been able to see the Sox at Fenway many times. Never been a fair weather fan, never will! For all the Nat's fans, wishing your team all the luck and success I can, just not tonight! KMc.

Posted by: segal6585 | June 24, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

@Segal:

Sure, the Red Sox draw well on the road. And there certainly is a large fan base that had to put up with years of just falling short prior to 2004. I understand those fans from New England who have always been fans and can actually tell you something about Boston, about Fenway, and about the Sawx.

What I absolutely can't stand, however, are the bandwagon fans who wear 'B' hats and yet couldn't tell you more than two or three players on the team and only root for the Sawx because they think it's the cool and trendy thing to do. They were not such a huge draw before 2004. 15 years ago, they were just another MLB team. Since then, they have done an excellent job marketing the team, expanding Fenway, and adding revenue to the whole organization. Of course, winning two World Series certainly doesn't hurt. So, yes, this did just basically happen since 2004.

I'm from Chicago, I've had to put up with many idiotic bandwagon Cub fans all my life. I'm astonished at how many fans there don't know anything about the city, the stadium, the team or it's players. They simply root for them because they perceive it as the cool, trendy thing to do. It's a great marketing gimmick turned into a national brand.

At least the Sawx bother to put a good product on the field. What's ironic is that for years they identified themselves as underdogs to the big, bad Yankees. In terms of revenue, signing free agents, expanding the organization's ability to make money above everything else and the like, they've become much like the Yankees.

It's no wonder that the Sawx, the Yankees, and the Cubs have by far the most hated fan-bases in sports. It's because they collect the most numbers of bandwagon idiotic a-holes. Which is a shame to the large numbers of "native" fans.

Posted by: aaronsinger | June 24, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

pcollet said: The same happens in every city. In the 80's camden yard rocked, now it's dead unless the Sox or Yanks are in town.

Well now, that never happened. And do you know why? Because Camden didn't open until 1992. But nice try.

Dan, best thing I saw last night at the game: typical obnoxious Red Sox fan wearing a Youkilis jersey. Oh, excuse me, a "YOUKILLIS" jersey. Epic jersey foul.

Posted by: RedBirdie | June 24, 2009 6:54 PM | Report abuse

aaron,
Great points, all. The recent band wagon jumpers do put a smudge on the fan base as a whole, well, the a-holes do more than the rest, but you get those guys in every venue. Its refreshing to have a conversation with a sports fan any sports fan, if they just want to talk sports , be it about my favorite team or yours. true sports fans respect the opposing team and thier fans, not try to run the other guy down because he likes a different team. Remeber these are just games meant for entertainment, try to have fun!!!KMc

Posted by: segal6585 | June 24, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Did someone really post that "15 years ago the Red Sox were just another MLB team"? Are you KIDDING? The Red Sox haven't been just another team for waaayy longer than that. You obviously don't know what you are talking about. I am a native New Englander who lived in Jackson Hole for five years. In 2004, a whole contingent of former New Englanders went to Denver to see the Sox play the Rockies in interleague - and that was before the championship when all the fans jumped on the bandwagon according to you. We were such a huge group, just the folks from JH, that we took over a bar across the street and had a big pre-game party there. Some guys even chartered a plane - and wouldn't let a guy on because his name was spelled the wrong way (Shawn instead of Sean). Red Sox fans are nuts and it's easier and cheaper for us to get seats for away games. Personally, I think the bandwagon, know-nothing fans are few and far between. It's too hard and too frustrating trying to get tickets to Fenway for most casual fans to bother.

Posted by: bostowyo | June 24, 2009 10:08 PM | Report abuse

For what it's worth, even though "Red Sox Nation" has become more of a marketing gimmick employed by the owners of the Red Sox (see the "campaign" to elect a "president" of Red Sox Nation orchestrated and promoted by Red Sox management a couple of years or so ago) than the real sort of grass-roots thing it started as sometime around the turn of the century, it has been in existence in one form or another continuously since the latter part of 1967.

For the fifteen or so years prior to that, the Red Sox really hadn't counted for all that much in Boston for the reason that the Red Sox never managed to put a good or even interesting team to watch on the field. (I assume that's the reason the Nationals don't draw much of a fan base yet, as well). I took the likes of Yaz, Lonborg, Petrocelli, Scott, Conigliaro et al to revive the excitement and interest that had died after the 1948 team fell apart (starting with a rash of starting pitching injuries) over the few years following their one-game playoff loss. And then there were the lousy teams following the post-1918 loss of Ruth and others to the Yankees, which also tended to kill fan interest and excitement for the Red Sox throughout the 1920s and '30s.

So, what goes up comes down, and what goes down often goes up again............

Right now, I appreciate the ability of the current group of Red Sox players and the people who assembled, manage and coach them, but not the over-marketing, the prices of Fenway Park seats, the lousy deal the Red Sox ticket office has made with a legal scalper (sorry....., that's "independent ticket reseller agency", the inability to get a Red Sox game on broadcast TV, and the major transportation headache that accompanies every game at Fenway Park.

So, Nats fans, good luck with your Nats. I wish your and your team improvement and successover the next years, if you want it.

Posted by: fredbob | June 25, 2009 12:09 AM | Report abuse

I don't get the hate for bandwagon fans. Sure they can be funny when they don't know much. But they're out enjoying the game and supporting the team. Sooner or later the Nats bandwagon will start picking up passengers. Welcome them! Embrace them. Teach them about the team. They may become fans for life. Fandom has to start somewhere.

Posted by: greenish | June 25, 2009 12:24 AM | Report abuse

Thank you greenish. You stole my words, but that's alright. For heaven's sake others, give the bandwagon fans a break. Being a sports fan shouldn't require membership in a private club. And to those people who "hate" Red Sox fans, lighten up. Some are obnoxious, some are not. It's true everywhere. Baseball, what a game!!

Posted by: rjaemh | June 25, 2009 9:03 AM | Report abuse

So the Red Sox went 86 years without winning a World Series (the White Sox went even longer, but never made a federal case of it). Washington has gone 64 years without even being in a pennant race in September (the 2005 hanging-on-gamely wild-card race doesn't cut it). Put that kind of drought in any market -- St. Louis, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Detroit -- and you'd have trouble building a baseball culture. So go to hell, Red Sox Nation (what a pompous term), and take Larry Lucchino with you.

Posted by: VPaterno | June 28, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

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