Tuesday, September 9, 2008

456 Reasons (and counting) why Red Sox fans are the best

The Red Sox didn’t make history last night, but Red Sox Nation did. We collectively set the record for most consecutive sellouts by a Major League Baseball franchise, breaking the record set by Cleveland Indians’ fans at Jacobs Field from 1995 to 2001. For Red Sox fans, the streak began on May 15, 2003. On that night, Pedro Martinez pitched 6 innings and got his fourth win of the year, beating Alan Benes and the Texas Rangers. This was the Red Sox lineup that Thursday evening

Damon CF

Walker 2B

Garciaparra SS

Ramirez LF

Ortiz 1B

Millar DH

Nixon RF

Mueller 3B

Varitek C

Only Jason Varitek and David Ortiz remain from that starting lineup (Mike Timlin and Tim Wakefield are the other remaining players from that roster). May of 2003 was a division championship, two American League championships and two World Series trophies ago. Those guys were the “Idiots”, if you remember. This year’s team was a long way from maturity. Jon Lester was a 19 year old prospect pitching for the Augusta Greenjackets in the South Atlantic League. Jonathan Papelbon was in his first professional season at Single A Lowell. Daisuke Matsuzaka was winning the Nippon Pacific League ERA and strikeout title for the Seibu Lions. Dustin Pedroia was busy being a college sophomore and earning PAC 10 co-Player of the Year honors at Arizona State.

Five years and 456 capacity home games later, Red Sox fans can now officially be called the best baseball fans anywhere, even though tickets at Fenway are harder to get and more expensive than all the rest. Cardinals fans are more polite. Philles fans are ruder. A’s, Dodgers, and yes, Rays fans are more apathetic. Meanwhile, we’ve been here, stuffing ourselves into every possible nook and cranny of Fenway Park, our “lyric little bandbox of a ballpark” (thanks, John Updike), every possible chance we’ve had. In fact, we tend to embarrass other fans in their home ballparks by sometimes turning out in better numbers than they do to see their own team. Check out Camden Yards in Baltimore, Ameriquest Field in Arlington, TX and Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg for proof.

This streak shows no sign of stopping, either. You should count on it continuing for some time to come, especially if the Red Sox’ current performance continues as it has. Fenway is already sold out through the end of the 2008 season. I wouldn’t be surprised if the streak goes to at least 700 games. So congratulations, fellow Red Sox fans, on proving for 457 straight home games (including tonight) that there’s no place like Fenway Park, and there’s no fan like a Red Sox fan.

Meanwhile, for those who didn't see today's Boston Globe, here is an ad from the team, thanking fans.