The bleachers at Fenway Park have been sanitized or is a better term fumigated over the last twenty years. Behaviors covered the bizarre, humorous, vile, and usually fueled with baseball passion and triggered by a large consumption of alcohol. I go far enough back in time to remember sitting on planks and not seats to wonder just when the rowdyism would begin?
Behaviors at sporting events take on a pack mentality or a group dysfunction. The collective mindset that allows sane people to collectively jump the rails and migrate into a land where one-upmanship in stupidity is not only allowed but encouraged.
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Repulsiveness had no boundaries as noted in this article regarding an inflated female doll in the bleachers and what transpired. That incident finally caused a stir in Red Sox management to discuss behaviors that had created an environment similar to a sailor’s bar in 1933 Shanghai, but the bottom for me happened in a game against the Twins at Fenway Park in 1982.
Jim Eisenreich played 15 seasons in the majors and hit .290, but Eisenreich also suffered from TSA or Tourette’s Syndrome with the most noticeable visible part of the condition being tics and involuntary movement. Fortunately, Eisenreich never had the condition at-bat, but in the field it was noticeable. For years the condition had been undiagnosed and misdiagnosed, but his story appeared in the Boston Globe before the Twins visit.
During the game, Eisenreich was subjected to chants and insults coupled with fans starting to mimic the tics that Eisenreich displayed with the expected results being accomplished when Eisenreich had to be removed from the game still shaking and hyperventilating.
I have written about the Eisenreich situation over the years and it remains to be a singular defining moment on collective insensitivity and bad behavior. No one stepped in – fans, security, management – a low point in Red Sox history setting a bar that even a flea could not limbo under.