Opinion

The Fickle Playoff Atmosphere at Fenway Park

The fickle playoff atmosphere at Fenway Park this weekend makes it difficult to guage Red Sox Nation’s feelings about their World Series chances.

Featured image courtesy of zimbio.com: (April 10, 2018 – Source: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images North America). 

I purchased Red Sox playoff tickets without hesitation. The Red Sox’s historic winning season this year was incentive enough to pay the absorbent price. After watching two playoff games this season though, it’s become clear that Red Sox fans run hot and cold pretty frequently when it comes to their support for the team.

Game One’s  Energy Was The Strongest I’ve Ever Felt at Fenway Park

Game One on Friday night gave off a sort of vibe that foreshadowed their 5-4 win over New York. You could tell fans were happy to be there. Sitting all around me were sons with their elderly fathers, younger men with their grade school children, and mothers and grandmothers decked out in their Red Sox t-shirts, jackets, and hats. Some wore David Ortiz’s number 34 while others wore Carl Yastrzemski’s number 8. I opted for Ted William’s number 9 throwback jersey. Everyone wore one thing in common though and it wasn’t the Red Sox logo. It was a confident grin.

Perhaps it was the confidence Red Sox Nation had in starter Chris Sale that made it likely we’d win Game One against the Yankees. Sale’s dominance over the Yankees, combined with J.D. Martinez’s home run in the first inning, only boosted Red Sox Nation’s confidence and enthusiasm. That energy was so palpable that Yankee fans, who usually don’t know when to shut up, weren’t saying much. Not even Aaron Judge’s homer in the 9th inning dulled the cheers in Fenway that night. Fans left Fenway Park amid cheers, high five’s, and fist pumps.

Saturday night was a different story though.

Game Two Lacked Enthusiasm

Perhaps it was David Price 0-9 record in the post season that quelled Red Sox Nation’s enthusiasm heading into Game Two. Or maybe it was Price’s similar abysmal record against the Yankees. Either way, many fans walked into Fenway Park Saturday night with cautious optimism that quickly left the stadium on the back of Aaron’s Judge’s home run in the first inning. More home runs by the Yankees only seemed to validate Red Sox fans’ fears that Game Two would be a bust. Gone were the grins that had flashed brightly the night before.

All Is Not Lost Though

Red Sox fans thrive in a fickle playoff atmosphere. We love to complain when we are at our worst, but we love to boast when we win. Price’s start, compared to Sale’s, shows that fans can turn on a dime. But all is not lost.

I left the game a little early last night.  I wasn’t feeling well after a long week so I went home and watched the last few innings on TV. As I left Fenway Park, I saw Boston police officers standing just inside one of the entrances on Lansdowne Street. They were all standing around a sobbing heavyset man in his mid twenties. I don’t know what he had done to get ejected from the game but was begging to be let back into Fenway Park. “Please!” he sobbed, “I’ve done a lot of things in my life that I’m not proud of, but I saved every dollar I could so I could come to tonight’s game so please let me come back in!”

I don’t know if they let him back in, but it gave me a thought.

One Fan’s Desperate Plea

One of the things that caught my attention was how Boston’s finest were actually standing there listening to him beg to be let back in. Having seen plenty of altercations in Boston, I know that the police usually stop listening to people’s complaints once they get belligerent like this guy was doing. However, this fan must have been saying something to keep their attention despite his hysteria. It was as though the Boston PD felt sorry for him. Maybe they wanted to cry with him as the Red Sox fell further behind. But maybe, despite the score, they respected how this fan just wanted to go back inside and watch the rest of the game.

That there is a true fan, one who won’t abandon the Red Sox when they’re down. Perhaps the Red Sox will find better success if we all try and do the same.

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