I spent my younger years living on the NY / VT / MA border in NW Mass. The area was kind of a mishmash of baseball loyalties that included some Yankees fans, a couple Mets fans and a majority of Red Sox fans. I grew up a Red Sox fan (no one really knows why because neither of my parents were Sox fans. I think it was just something they put in the water up there.). One of my earliest memories of my expression of my fandom was during the 1986 World Series. I was in third grade and Mrs. Woolfolk allowed each student to hang a "banner" (piece of paper) expressing their loyalties in the World Series over the edge of their desks. We were arranged in a circle and after each student had taped their message of support to the edge of their desk Mrs. Woolfolk walked into the middle of the group to review the messages. There were several "Go Sox" and"Mets #1" and even a "Super Bowl!" (that one was done by the kid from New Zealand who used to pick his nose and wipe it on everyone's desk). After reviewing all the messages, Mrs. Woolfolk stopped and said to the class, "Great job everyone, but can anyone tell me which banner is not appropriate?" Several kids raised their hands and when called upon yelled my name in unison. The content of my banner: "Mets Suck". I was 8 and I was right.
The reason I tell that story is, well, there are actually a couple reasons. One of those reasons is that it traces my fandom back 20 years before pink hats, Sweet Caroline and JD Drew. The other reason that I tell that story is because it accurately portrays me as a typical Asshole Red Sox Fan, and I do not deny being such a fan to this very day. But back to reason No. 1, as a kid, the reason I loved the Sox was because I honestly thought my team was the best team in the world. Even back when Spike Owen was flipping the ball to Marty Barrett who was firing it over to Billy Buckner. I worshipped Rich Gedman and caught because of him and did my best Dewey Evans when I was up to bat. It was a love affair and a passionate one at that. So passionate that I was willing to chance a trip to the principal's office to express my true feelings (the principal happened to be my dad). That passion continued through Nick Esasky's vertigo to Mo Vaughn's gimp to Phil Plantier's absurd upper cut swing and on into the Pedro era. It was a turbulent time but my love of the team never lost a step and my passion and loyalty for those guys was finally rewarded in 2004. And that's when it happened. That's when my loyalty was betrayed.
You see, despite popular belief, I don't like Jimmy Fallon or Ben Affleck (though I hear his new movie is great). I don't like the pink hats and Red Sox based TV shows and the camo visors and videos and documentaries (actually, I do like the documentaries) and all that crap that the MEDIA associates with Red Sox Nation. "Red Sox Nation is losing their minds about the 14.5 game lead evaporation" and "Red Sox Nation votes in a new President" and "Red Sox Nation is the new best fan group for away games"... and whatever else shit they spew. Here's a fucking newsflash, I DON'T GIVE A FUCK ABOUT THIS FAKE PRESIDENT AND I DON'T GIVE A FUCK ABOUT SOME LEAD THE SOX HAD IN MAY! The only thing I have in common with those assholes is that when the Red Sox do well, we both cheer. I like the Red Sox and in particular I like Manny and Mark Bellhorn (I'm actually inviting him to my wedding). Yet because I'm a Red Sox fan, I'm thrown in this group of assholes known as "Red Sox Nation" and what comes with that association is a bunch of shit I never bought into or deserve for that matter. I'm a Sox fan and sometimes (most times) I'm a complete asshole about it. But I do it in my own unique way that has NOTHING TO DO with membership cards or worrying about meaningless division leads or buying "Ultimate Fan Packs" OR WATCHING A DEBATE ABOUT A FAKE PRESIDENT OF A FAKE ORGANIZATION THAT WAS CREATED TO EXPLOIT MY LOYALTY TO MY FUCKING TEAM! I don't want any of that and I never signed up for this shit. I admit to being an asshole about my fandom and am completely comfortable with people thinking I'm an asshole Red Sox fan. But I'm not a "Red Sox Nation Asshole Fan." I'm my own asshole. So if you're going to hate me, hate me for the asshole I am, not that asshole I'm not.
So here's what I'm doing. I'm seceding from "Red Sox Nation" (though I never really considered myself a "member") and I'm starting my own organization. We will have no name and no membership cards or fees. We'll have no debates or events or meetings. We will have no contact whatsoever. The sole benefit of membership is to not be associated with "Red Sox Nation." And if you feel even close to as passionately as I do about it, that should be more than enough.