Paid for the Privilege
A Sox fan behind the dugout had an apparent verbal confrontation with Keith Foulke after the reliever's departure.
I haven't been to a Red Sox game for more than a year. I'm sure that I've been to hundreds over the years, and verbal abuse has traditionally been a part of the Fenway experience. Sort of like Durgin Park, except meaner and with poorer quality food. Except usually it's the fans who suffer. At least in the past, the Kevin Bacon six degrees of separation shrank to only three seats of separation from the nearest patron "in the bag."
Do you feel superior when you "trash" a professional who hasn't performed up to his best? (Why blog then?) What have you done for me lately? (Anybody else think Foulke should have been the World Series 2004 MVP?) Is it your right to heckle because you ponied up 75 bucks? (Nobody can hear you in the bleachers anyway.) Did you just forget your medicine? (Lordy, it's so expensive, I can understand that.) Are you the best in the city at your profession and never had a bad day? (Guess we can leave that one out.)
Yes, Keith Foulke may not be Mr. Lovable, with his "Johnny from Burger King" act, and he isn't at the peak of his career. He's had a rough go of it lately, and I'm perfectly willing to cut him beaucoup slack. And I don't want to hear about overpaid professional athletes. Do you offer to give back your salary if you have a bad day? Did you impress your significant other with your macho display? But to what end does vilifying mediocrity at the ballpark serve you or your peers? (Again I guess that wouldn't apply to blogging or Larry Lucchino, but I digress.)
Did you know that between 10 p.m. and 1 a.m. one out of every 13 drivers is intoxicated? God forbid we hear the statistics for Red Sox fans. Of course, at 7 bucks a beer (or whatever they charge), the Sox are making public drunkenness pricier, if not more difficult.
Now I don't know if the "plaintiff" (boorish heckler) was intoxicated, or even paid for his ticket. (Does free advice or criticism have a higher place in the hierarchy of free speech?) Maybe he's proud of himself for putting Foulke in his place. Somehow I think Foulke knows a good outing from something less. And we know that baseball isn't even Foulke's favorite sport.
We Bostonians pride ourselves on our sophistication and savoir faire. We have some of the finest educational institutions in the world, and along with global warming the compassion warming has occurred in the Hub, at least relative to the '70s. I'm for taking boorish behavior out of the ballpark and putting it back online where it belongs. Amnesty for Johnny Damon, humanity for Keith Foulke, and maybe even for the rest of the mercenaries in the bullpen if they can get a few outs...
Let's leave the heartless criticism of ballplayers where it belongs, to the sportswriters.
-- Ron Sen, Boston Dirt Dogs contributor and founder of Red Sox Reality Check