Slap Hitter: Repellent Red Sox arrive for weekend series

Is there anything more obnoxious than a Red Sox fan in Oakland?

I don’t know for sure; I haven’t been to Anaheim, Seattle or Texas and see how they behave there.

This weekend the Bosox and their grating fan base invades the Oakland Colisuem to root on their nouveau riche champs. From a financial point of view, I suppose that it is a good thing. The money they spend on bee-ah may be enough to help A’s management sign pitcher Rich Harden for another few weeks. But in general, going to see the Athletics while the preening boys from Boston are in town makes for mostly a depressing and degrading time. Watching Red Sox fans watching the Red Sox is a study in arrogance. Apparently nobody’s ever come through in the clutch like Big Pop-Out (Papi?). Nobody’s funnier than Manny Ramirez. Nobody celebrates like Jonathan Papelbon. Nobody’s ever had a more important letter on his chest than Jason Varitek. Boston fans have done the impossible; they make the New York Yankees seem charming.

You’ll know them from their Mike Lowell road jerseys, turning to the disgusted A’s fans sitting near them, pointing at their stained and cruddy caps. They’ll draw attention to themselves, humiliate the girlfriends sinking into the chairs next to them, and slapping five with other Red Sock fans, bellowing six seats away, spilling beer on the five unfortunates in the chairs between them. They’ll bray at a two-out single and get belligerent when the dozens of rows behind them ask them to kindly “sit their fat ass down”. Having Boston in the house brings out the worst in Oakland fans, freaked that half the stadium is rooting for the vistors and provoking them into mostly atrophied counter-cursing techniques.

The team itself is toxic to all but Bostonians. Apparently having invented the game of baseball, the Sox managed to evaporate 86 years of good will in three years of chest pounding, image buffing and over-exposure. Every first-year player is just making a quick pit stop en route to Cooperstown, every Japanese import, the finest since Toyota, every bloody sock part of the Holy Grail.

What to do in the face of such provocation? It’s tempting to stay home, but that just means more of their nasal throng fill the seats. It’s alluring to match tit for tat, but remember they have almost a century of bitterness and guilt about having left Boston and can go extra innings on bile alone. Instead, do this. Wear your Dave Stewart throwback, make note a lot of the fact that the Tampa Bay Rays seem to be doing pretty good, and if you really want to goad them into a chowder-spewing rage, just let them know that as A’s fans we don’t really hate Boston. We consider the Yankees the team to beat.— Kibby Kleiman


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