Red Sox Nation

By: Kate Mazza, Regina McCormick, Hari Roth, Julia Mulry

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The Boston Red Sox fan base is one comparable to a religion because of the knowledge, understanding, and dedication required to be a part of the community. To be a fan, one must possess the “doing, believing, valuing, and believing”. The fan base is also one comparable to a religious community or family like the Catholic church. It is similar in the sense that it is passed down between generations and a tradition for many New England natives. Similar to the Catholic religion, Red Sox Nation has many symbols and rituals. During the 7th inning stretch of every game, Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond is played. This song is well-known and familiar to all Sox fans, in the way that the mass song parts are recognizable to a Catholic. Another symbol to Sox fans is the “bloody sock” of Curt Schilling during the 2004 World Series. This symbol of sacrifice and perseverance is honored by Sox fans in the same way that the blood of Christ is honored by Catholics. There are any other ways that Red Sox Nation is similar to religious communities.

Red Sox fans were once described as the “ultimate manic-depressive fanbase.” Which is also considered bi-polar disorder that causes periods of depression and periods of elevated mood. During mania individuals feels abnormally energized, happy or irritable, and make poorly thought out decisions with little regard of the consequences. If you have ever been to a Red Sox game the fan base is crazy. They always comment on the plays and what they think, regardless of who is around. In 2010, Forbes magazine rated Red Sox Nation as the best fans in American sports, citing points such as road attendance and overall devotion to the team. You can be the most religious person in the world, but if you follow the Sox, you have no choice but to believe wholeheartedly in curses and superstitions. Fenway park is known as the ‘sacred’ place for the Red Sox and their fans. Going to games and following the team throughout the season can be related to religion because it’s the same as going to church every Sunday. By them screaming at the plays that occur, it can also be them ‘praising’ the team. Also baseball has a lot of unpredicted events that happen and most people start praying that their team wins. It’s a constant battle back and forth of excitement and disappointment but they never lose the faith in the team, and this is the same thing with any religion.

 Another way fans of the Boston Red Sox fans can be compared to followers of religion can be seen in their stadium, Fenway Park. This location can be seen as a religious ground  similar to a Church by Red Sox fans, in Boston and also outside of Boston. Furthermore, those outside of Boston view a trip to Fenway Park as something similar to a religious pilgrimage or Mecca for Islam or the Vatican for Christians. All Red Sox fans from around the world want to make this very special trip to Fenway Park to experience a main source of what brings them happiness. In addition to this Fenway Park can be compared to a sacred sight such as churches or temples of religions because of the items it contains. Items such as the statue of Ted Williams located outside or the various game used items located throughout the stadium are looked up to as important pieces of history and draw very close similarities to icons and artifacts that are revered in most religions; especially in Christianity.

People who are incredibly passionate about something tend to use that as a bond for their community.  With religion, it is the ideologies held amongst that common faith, or maybe their holy text/figure.  With a sports team, its the love of the game, players, and the comradely of their idolized team.  What these two entities share, however, is the devotion and adoration shared by their followers.  The Boston Red Sox are a prime example of this shared fervor with  faithfulness.  With numerous books written about their fandom, including David Greene’s 101 Reasons to Love the Red Sox, it is nationally known that Red Sox fans are not ones to mess with.  From their frosty rivalry with the Yankees, to their love of the Green Monster, all the way to their diehard nature at each and every game, the Red Sox take the cake for most enthusiastic group of fans.  This correlates similarly to the Catholic church.  As a very mainstreamed, large religions, Catholics are known to be overly passionate about their faith, in things such as St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the Vatican, where faith is emphatically shown.  By wearing medallions and purchasing other religious gear, Catholics outwardly display their religion, similarly to that of the Red Sox Fan’s representation of their ardor.  

Sources:

http://archive.boston.com/news/globe/ideas/articles/2004/08/22/the_faithful

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Sox_Nation

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bipolar_disorder

Dall, Amber. “What It Takes to Be a True Red Sox Fan – Literacy & Discourse.” Medium. Literacy & Discourse, 02 Dec. 2015. Web. 20 Mar. 2017.

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