The Providence Journal, March 31, 2014
The city of Boston and New England sports fandom stand at the top of the mountain. After years of heartbreaking futility, and a reputation as the smartest losers in the room, fans of the Red Sox, Patriots, Celtics and Bruins can now see their teams and city on the Mount Rushmore of American Sports.
Beantown is Title town. There have been eight championships in the last 13 years. New York has had just three, and they have twice as many teams! No other city is close.
But New Englanders are not dancing down the aisles, or acting any wiser, or kinder. Unfortunately, success has gone to the head of Boston sports fans, and the sports journalists who wag the tail of Red Sox Nation. Emboldened, they continue on in their never-ending quest to wring withering critical analysis out of every minute of every sports day. Decades of New England sports journalism — the best in the country — somehow blossomed into a big bad miserable media business of provoking point/counterpoint arguments over every excruciating detail in and around Fenway Park, Gillette Stadium and the Boston Garden.
Red Sox Nation will eat its young, but next up they are going to take down the most well-known and beloved elder of the team, Jerry Remy. Mobs behave like this. Egyptian mobs!
Jerry Remy, president of Red Sox Nation, former Sox second baseman, restaurateur, 26-year color announcer for NESN and fellow cranky New Englander, is not safe. Nothing and no one is off-limits. The media and sports fans have begun the process. The stories are out on the front page of The Boston Globe and on the radio. Remy enabled his allegedly murderous son Jared. Like the financial markets, natural selection or talk radio, the onslaught is not personal, it’s just business.
The business of sports journalism in Greater Boston and the resulting fan mob behavior does not have a heart.
The Red Sox had a season last year that few in the local media saw coming, but up until Game 6 of the World Series, radio yakkers like Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti were plying their business of “solid negativity,” criticizing Sox management and players at every juncture. This kind of insufferable oversight by the sports press and fan addicts perpetuates itself. They are in the business of being unhappy. I know the winters are long, but is unhappiness what it means to be a true New Englander?
So here come the April fools, and on Opening Day, they will be ready to tear it all down again. Not older and wiser. Not the long view. Not like they’ve been there before.
No. Instead, WEEI and the Kirk Minihanes of the sports world will make plausible arguments against Remy. Once the fire starts the flames take on a life of their own to burn down yet another honorable part of Boston’s sports scene.
In this town, winning breeds winning at any cost, and this city wants more. Soon, the Rem Dog will be saying “Buenas noches,” Boston, for good.
Play Ball! And watch out for who steps on you.
Chip Benson, of Wellesley, Mass., is an occasional contributor.