Oct 30, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury (2) gets out of a run down against the St. Louis Cardinals during the fifth inning of game six of the MLB baseball World Series at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
We all knew that he wouldn’t stay. We all knew that the Evil Empire was a possible destination. But knowing information and accepting information are too different things.
After I learned the news I turned, as I often do, to Twitter. When you don’t live in New England, you’re not necessarily surrounded by fans of the same team. Social media seemed like a perfect “place” to go to share the slurry of anger, sadness, and loss that I was feeling. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Instead of commiserating with my fellow Sox fans, I was annoyed and insulted. The prevailing sentiment seemed to be that if you were sad that Jacoby was no longer with us then you were a “Pink Hat” and not a real fan. Anyone who liked him must only have liked him because he was attractive, it seemed. My own opinion that he was a good baseball player and the Sox will miss his speed was not shared by many. Suddenly I had to defend myself and my feelings. No, I don’t just think Jacoby is a valuable player because he’s good looking. Yes, I know that he’s been hurt. These things don’t mean that I can’t like him. These things don’t mean that I don’t need some time to be sad that he’s gone.
Do other fan bases fight with each other like this? After Marshawn Lynch moved from Buffalo to Seattle, I can’t remember hearing two Bills fans fighting about whether it was right to be glad he left or not. I’m pretty sure that no Bills fan finds it important to put down another fan with the obnoxious title “Pink Hat” or any other epithet.
As a woman, I was especially annoyed by some of the things that were being typed about and to Jacoby. For his sake, I hope he doesn’t read his mentions. Why is saying that a man has “girl parts” (I won’t type the exact words here) an insult? You could say a brave woman “has balls” as a compliment. Is there really that much ingrained sexism in the sports fan world? And did I really just have to question the existence of sexism in the twenty-first century? Sad.
Tuesday night, just when I had given up all hope on Twitter, and to a certain extent my fellow fans, a beam of light shown through the angry darkness: Bob Ryan. Tweeting from @GlobeBobRyan he wrote what I was thinking and feeling in a more eloquent and intelligent way than I ever could.
“Point is, in a better world, he stays here for 4/ $75-80 M. Sadly, we live in a Boras world and NY reverted to Boss form. They’ll regret it.”
“I can still see him scoring from 2B on a wild pitch. Let me grieve in peace for at least a little while. You think I’m blind to his faults?”
“Point is we know what Ells is really worth, but common sense has nothing to do with it. Sox will survive, but he should still be a Red Sox.”
I retweeted each of these while shouting “yes!” at my phone. It was a relief to know that I was not alone in my feelings. Not that I needed to be validated, but it was just nice to know that I was a total outlier.
Going forward I wish Jacoby all the best. I’ll continue to use Twitter and follow most, but not all, of the fans I was irritated with that night. We’re all entitled to share our opinions.
Go Red Sox!