THE SPORTS DOCTOR- Jersey barrier: Sox garb will lead to drab union
A dear friend, let's call her Toni, has acquired a new beau. Let's call him Timmy. He's kind, caring, and conciliatory; in fact, he seems perfect, but there's a rather serious problem my usually pragmatic friend refuses to acknowledge. And Toni could be in for a lifetime of hurt. I can't allow that to happen, not when I can help.
You see, Timmy is a Red Sox fan.
By "fan," I mean a jersey-wearing, poster-hanging, bumper-sticker-sporting, floor-pacing, post-season-weeping, trash-talking, Manny Ramirez-hating, obsessive-compulsive 40-something year-old whose dream is to get married at Fenway Park. As a baseball fan, Timmy ranks among those who take pride in being more obsessed than everyone else, and I don't mean in a funny way. It's not that Timmy shows up to games wearing a clown wig or a cap with the word "Boston" lit up in red. No, the cameraman won't single out Timmy during the seventh inning stretch unless he's sitting next to a busty blonde in a tank top. It's much worse than that.
In Timmy's closet hang at least six Red Sox jerseys. In case you don't grasp the importance of that fact, note that the jerseys are both home and road. To those unfamiliar with baseball or sports in general, buying and wearing a road jersey is the equivalent of slapping a three-foot "Chevy" sticker on the back window of a truck that came out of the factory with a Chevy emblem on the front and "Chevrolet" embossed on the tailgate. It's overkill, it's unnecessary, it's over-zealous and very, very telling.
If all of Timmy's jerseys are authentic, the cheapest would be a $146.99 alternate road jersey in black with red letters. An official home jersey in white with red piping would cost $159.99, but why skimp? Authentic Red Sox jerseys don't have the players' names on them, perhaps to be more like the Yankees, and having the number "15" emblazoned on the back would cost Timmy a mere $174.99 and proclaim his man-crush on Dustin Predroia.
Replica jerseys cost a bit less, starting at $79.99, but they're fakes, and everyone knows it. No self-respecting Boston fanatic would make the amateur's mistake of having Kevin Youkilis' name emblazoned on a jersey, and only a real sicko would go so far as to have his own name plastered above the number "00." No, my guess is Timmy wouldn't be caught dead in such trash.
Despite the fact that he wears BoSox jerseys to family reunions, movie matinees, grocery stores, and church picnics, Timmy's wardrobe is the least of Toni's problems. Not only does she hate baseball, she is proudly ignorant of the sport. Before I explained it to her, Toni didn't even know what a designated hitter was or that the NL doesn't have them unless they play on AL turf. She didn't even know the name of the outfield wall!
Blissful in her ignorance, my friend is confident her disdain will trump Timmy's obsession. Toni thinks she can nap on the sofa while Timmy watches the game. She believes she will never wear the official Red Sox cap Timmy gave her. She believes she won't have to watch SportsCenter while he's at work so she provide updates.
When Timmy tells her their vacations will center around Fenway Park, Toni laughs him off. Laugh it up while you can, girl.
I told her: this isn't football with 16 paltry games a year; this is baseball, a game you'll watch 162 times a season. This is the Red Sox: the team with the ugliest players, nastiest helmets, and the biggest chip on its shoulder. This is Timmy: a man who will not rest until Toni's life is obliterated and she worships at the foot of Ted Williams and spits at the mention of Nomar Garciaparra.
Once she learns who those people are, of course.