I was talking to somebody recently who had come across my myspace page. She saw that I was from New York. Being a Massachusetts native she immediately asked "Oh good lord, New York. Yankees fan?"
I told her that I was a Mets fan, and that most/all Met fans hate the Yankees. I also explained that sometimes it feels as though there are more true Mets fans in New York than true Yankee fans. I believe this is due to the "bandwagon trend" formed in 1995-1998 when the Yankees started to become a powerhouse. In a response to see if she understood what I meant, she said "No, I just hate the Yankees. HATE THEM."
I went on to explain my plight as a New Yorker going to college in Massachusetts. A University especially densely populated with Massachusetts natives and, as a result, Red Sox fans. This happens quite often. People find out I'm from New York, and then immediately form opinions about me because of their preconceived notions regarding the Yankees. Assuming I'm a Yankee fan, however, is sort of rude and ignorant in a weird Red Sox-obsessed sort of way.
She pretended to apologize, and then said "I'm just happy you don't support those ...assholes."
Many Red Sox fans seem to forget that there's another New York baseball team besides the one they stay so feverishly intent on hating with a passion. In fact, sometimes it feels like the Mets are a way more popular New York baseball team outside of Boston. I realize this isn't true, and mostly deals with the people I surround myself with. That being said, I deduce that all intelligent and somewhat creative New Yorkers are Mets fans.
My friend fired back saying that "Red Sox fans seem to forget that there are any other teams, thus the lack of riots during the actual World Series. In our eyes, we had already won." She is referring to the massive violent riots held at UMass during the ALCS when the Red Sox valiantly came from behind to beat the Yankees and win the pennant to advance to the World Series. In reality, it was truly a magical moment in baseball history. But, sadly, thats why I call them Red Sox fans, and not baseball fans. I realize this stereotypes all Bostonians as the drunk, Red Sox-lovin', and Yankee-hatin' breed they have long been associated with, and I know it to not be completely true, but sometimes it feels that way.
Yankee fans are the same way. They're Yankee fans, not baseball fans. They care about winning ALL THE TIME, just as much as Red Sox fans dream of constantly destroying the Yankees. Met fans, on the other hand, are civil teddy bears who enjoy tea and toast.
No, but really, Met fans seem to be from the same breed as people like Cub fans, who appear to be more fans of the game of baseball rather than of a specific team. Don't get me wrong, I understand that Mets fans and Cubs fans alike are both die-hard for the team of their choice, but I'm talking about a larger appreciation for the game in general.
"Did you know there are Cub fans?" I asked my Red Sox-lovin' friend, "They like a team that plays in Chicago. Chicago is a really big city in the midwest."
"Seriously?" She said in jest.
"In fact, its bigger than Boston. Uh-huh."
I imagined a glazed over look in her eye as I was broadening her horizons by the second. "I thought it was a movie" she said.
"Well, you see, the movie is actually named after the city, because it takes place there."
I told her about my first visit to Fenway Park three Mays ago. I found Red Sox fans, and keep in mind that the Red Sox are the team I actively root for in the American League (so pretty much my 2nd favorite team), were the worst. She tried to argue that "Sox fans are just fine." But I told her the story of how I went to a day game in mid-May, against the Minnesota Twins, the Red Sox were desicively winning, and in the 6TH INNING, out of NOWHERE, nearly the entire crowd erupts in a "Yankees Suck" chant. It was one of the most pathetic things I've ever seen. She told me that "that's the best" and that she "grew up with it." I replied that it was horrible. It indicated such an incredible inferiority complex. There wasn't anything like that in any other city or ballpark I've ever been to. Not even "Red Sox suck" chants at Yankee Stadium. They don't care enough bother with the Red Sox when they're not playing them.
You'll never hear "Braves suck" chants in Shea Stadium. Perhaps a mocking tomahawk chant when the Braves are actually in town as the visiting team, but that's it. In all fairness, Braves/Mets isn't nearly as fierce a rivalry as Red Sox/Yankees.
Not even the Cardinals/Cubs or Giants/Dodgers rivalries (which are arguably more intense than Red Sox/Yankees), showed any animosity against each other at all in games I went to that they weren't playing each other. Remember, the Giants/Dodgers rivalry in particular dates back to when the teams were playing in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and each year battled each other for the pennant in the same city. Those were the days when Subway Series were a common occurance. People care more about the game as a whole outside of Boston, and less about simply hating the Yankees.
Disclaimer: I love many Red Sox fans, and I consider some Sox fans my best friends. Some let their love for the Sox help them be more passionate about the game in general, and that is greatly impressive. But they still hate the Yankees. A lot.