A Word to the Wise-asses

Dear Wise-Ass,

I know that the fact you know I am a Boston Red Sox fan presents an irresistible opportunity for you to taunt, mock and tease me about the catastrophic choke-job my team just displayed to the world. To give you the benefit of the doubt, I am assuming that you are not a devoted and loyal fan of a sports team yourself, and thus think baseball is “just a game.”  If that is the case, I forgive you for your supposedly humorous comments, which have approximately the same level of sensitivity and kindness in my current state as the following:

  • “So I hear your mother kicked off! Aren’t you a little old to be an orphan? “
  • “Lost your house, did you? Hey, I have a big cardboard box you can have!”
  • “Still unemployed? I know: why don’t you start a career as a professional loser?”

I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t say any of these things (unless you’re a Yankee fan, in which case your whole moral compass is suspect), and I wonder if you understand that picking at the raw and bloody wound that is a beloved team’s tragedy is every bit as cruel and hurtful as such cracks would be. Incomprehensible as it may be to you, this was and is very important to me. My devotion to the Sox began when I was 12, and the team has given me more pleasure, grounding and wisdom than 99% of the people I have met in my life. Irrational though my emotional reaction may be, I’m in pain, and you shouldn’t have to empathize with the source of the pain to know that intentionally prolonging or magnifying that pain isn’t a very nice thing to do, and is nowhere near as funny as you seem to think its is.

I just thought you should know.


18 thoughts on “A Word to the Wise-asses

  1. This is something I’ve wanted to get off my chest for a while, and I’m gonna take this opportunity to do so.

    For ten years, my boss was a lout who everyone else at the company loved, but to me, he was a jerk. Most of it was sort of excusable because we weren’t really compatible personalities. I understand that.

    But THEN, there was the sports-related teasing. I live in New England. Most people are Red Sox fans, and the more obnoxious Yankees fans relish in their losses. He liked the Yankees and the Giants. Heaven forbid it was something OTHER than sports you cared about; then he’d have no idea why you even cared.

    He constantly insisted I was a closet Yankee fan. I probably couldn’t have told you anything about the Yankees. I don’t watch baseball. My father is a lifelong red Sox fan. He tells me about a game in the sixties that he said, “if they win this, I’ll never complain about the Red Sox again.” They did, and he’s tried to keep this promise.

    (Side note: Once, the protege of my boss talked about how his team beat my father’s team in a softball game in the league my father runs. In one of my only pointed vocal criticisms I said in the presence of the boss, I said, “I’m sorry, are you gloating about winning a game against someone three times your age?!” Jerk.)

    If I was anything, I would be a Red Sox fan. To be totally honest, I can’t really get invested when the top spending team spends twice as much as #2, and #2 spends twice as much as #3. How fun can it possibly be to watch the Yankees when they’ve got four times as much money as #3, whoever they are?

    Him insisting I was some closet Yankee fan got to the point where, if he had brought this up even one more time, I would have told him it now qualified as harassment, and I would go over his head and file a complaint. (It would have been sexual harassment if it was sexual, so I definitely thought it was harassment. Why do I need to put up with this at work?)

    At some point, I had heard of a near shutout where the Yankees lost 13-1 or something (I forget against who, I don’t think it was the Red Sox). He was on the following day, and I asked him, “Hey, how did the Yankees do yesterday?” He got real defensive. “What, you’re gonna act like you know me?”

    A few years later, after Tom Brady hurt his knee, (at the time, what some people thought might be a career-ending injury for an Greatest Of All Time candidate quarterback) he texted one of his subordinate managers and said, “Where’s your perfect season now?”

    Do you see the slight discrepancy?

    There are supposed to be some things you just don’t joke about, and career ending injuries are one of them. Would it have been funnier if Tom Brady was paralyzed? (I just read a book about John Edwards, and as much of a villain as he was, there’s stuff that happened to him that’d be inappropriate to make fun of, like the death of his son.)

    When I saw a friend I hadn’t seen in a year, it reminded me of what a true friend can give you. I felt so good after seeing this guy because that’s what friends do. My former boss is the opposite of a friend. He fills you with negative energy because he likes belittling people who don’t like the same teams he does.

    He is an asshole. I am very happy that he is part of my past.

  2. Can I say “Neener, neener. Your good team got knocked out by my horrible team!”? I don’t think so. Instead, I’m going to channel my memories of the “Why not?” team of ’89’s crushing final series with Toronto, and say “Dude, that sucks.”

    • Any Orioles fan is aces with me. That’s a franchise that is due some good moments and respect, and they earned both the way they played the Sox and the Rays this month. They played like champs, and I hope their victory is a catalyst for a genuine turnaround. Great city, great stadium, great nucleus (Andino, Wieters, Jones, Hardy, Markakis, Davis, Guthrie,) and if Brian Matuscz (or however he spells it) can get straightened out, there’s real hope.

  3. Whats that old saying “Never kick a man when he is down , but once he is down don’t stop kicking him” ? You take all the fun out of that.

    I wont kick you anymore. I enjoyed doing it before and during the game but there is no fun in doing it now since they lost.

    I wanted the Red Sox and the Rays to go to a one game playoff THEN have the Red Sox lose. That would have been perfect. But I was denied that pleasure.

  4. I think you’re being too pessimistic. Regardless of what others might say, your team did give you something. It may not have been a championship, but they gave you entertainment and something to believe in. My team ended with 73 wins and the 2nd half of the season wasn’t much fun to watch. Don’t be sad that you didn’t get an extra month, you already got more than a lot of others.

    With that being said, I’m hoping for a Milwaukee-Detroit World Series.

  5. As an Orioles fan, I just want to say that, although I understand where you are coming from today, I wish I could feel your pain. Being a fan means you support the team, even when they are last in the league. But gee, it sure would be easier if they consistently played the way they did the last several games…

    • I’m appropriately apologetic. Yesterday I did two 3 hour seminars in two cities and had to drive 3 hours in between, so I really didn’t have time to do my usual research…besides, after the previous night’s events, I wasn’t thinking about much else. That said, I don’t reagrd the baseball articles as being about baseball. The first was about ethics lessons learned from sports team hardship and triumph; the second about accountability and moral luck, and the third about people who don’t understand that what may be trivial to them can be very important to others,

  6. Jack,
    As a native Philadelphian, I have watched my teams fall apart many times over the last 40 years, so I know the pain of which you speak. Living in a house full of Yankee fans, by proxy, I am a Yankee fan also (…as far as he AL is concerned. I have existentially distressing moments when the Yankees and Phillies play each other). Having said that, I take no joy in watching a ball club with so much talent have that much difficulty in September. I suppose I’m like George Will when I say I really enjoy watching the masters of the craft play some incredible ballgames. The enjoyment of the game for me comes from watching the stategy (lost on most casual watchers) as well as the raw athletic talent these teams bring to bear. I also feel badly that the Red Sox and Terry Francona will part ways. He seems like a real class act and clearly possesses an enormous amount of coaching talent, but equally importantly good sportsmanship.

    Keep the faith Jack. As a kid, I never thought the Phillies would ever win a World Series, but have done so twice in my lifetime. If they win again while I’m alive, I will die a happy man.

    Best Regards,


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