Red Sox Fans in NY Area Get Ready for Another Year in the Evil Empire

Monday, April 01, 2013

Mike Cameron #23 of the Boston Red Sox slides home safely past Jorge Posada #20 of the New York Yankees on April 4, 2010 during Opening Night at Fenway Park in Boston (Getty Images)

Marco Indri, 28, is born-and-bred New Jersey. He grew up just across the Hudson River in West New York, where his family still lives. The tattoos that cover his arms may be the first thing you notice. But it's not what really sets him apart from his fellow New Jerseyans.

“My neighborhood's all Yankees, Mets. You got a couple [of] Phillies fans,” Indri said.

But Indri is none of those. He’s a Red Sox fan.

He is one of the die-hards living side-by-side with their bitter rivals throughout the New York area. And as the Yankees begin their season by facing off against the Boston Red Sox in the Bronx on Monday, it means the beginning of another season behind enemy lines for Red Sox fans.

Some fans are transplants. Others were raised here. And some like Indri became enamored by the team’s place in history.

Indri said he is preparing for the inevitable abuse he and other fans will face living in the heart of the Evil Empire -- like reminders of the 86-year World Series drought known as “The Curse.”

“That was cheered in my ears for years,” he lamented. “They’re always bring up the titles and [David Ortiz] and Manny [Ramirez] being on 'roids and the titles are fake for us. They always have something stupid to say.”

Talk to a Sox fan in New York and you'll hear similar stories. John Hendrickson, 40, remembers the reception he received after Red Sox won the 2004 World Series. He said he was dressed in Red Sox colors exiting the subway station at Broadway and Bleecker in Manhattan when he was heckled by construction workers.

“And it was like, 'Really? You are so unnerved by this that you're just harassing people on the street at 8:30 in the morning?'" he said.

Pete Levin, who grew up as a Red Sox fan on the Upper East Side, is the co-owner the East Village bar Professor Thom's, has arguably been at the center of Red Sox activity in New York City. He’s been hearing it his whole life.

“I get a lot of, ‘Red Sox suck!’ or ‘Boston sucks!’ Even now — it could have been last week; I could have been wearing a Red Sox sweatshirt or whatever. That never goes away,” he said.

It may not go away, but it has changed. After the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004 and again in 2007, fans say some of the sting has been taken out of Yankee supporters' insults.

“Red Sox fans in general in New York and everywhere I would say are just more confident,” Levin said.

That first win in 2004 looms especially large for Marco Indri. He watched the historic series near the Fort Dix army base in New Jersey where he was stationed.

“I was getting ready to ship out to Iraq in a couple months and just watching them win the title before I left was something that brought a tear to my eye,” he said. “I mean, I never thought I'd see them win a title. But it was a good sending off gift, for me. Watching that.”

For Indri, those are the burning coals of passion that keep Red Sox fans fired up throughout the season — even when they’re being heckled by those oh so humble Yankees fans.


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Comments [3]

Jon Young from Staten Island

I became a Red Sox fan in the fall of 1986 after watching them lose to the Mets. I found I could no longer really root for the Mets because they had won two World Series titles in their (then short) existence to none for the
Sox since way before I was born. I raised our son as a Sox fan and we both
cheered mightily when they won in 2004. At that point I decided that the Cubs might be a good team to root for.

Apr. 01 2013 07:48 PM
Iron Mike from New Joisey

I moved to the earthly purgatory of New Jersey over 20 years ago, existing in peace for many years until my son asked why we couldn't have Red Sox or Patriots stickers in the rear window of our car.

Since that time I've been blessed to meet the cream of the crop of Yankee fans who curse and wave at me (with a single finger) as I drive on the highway. I've been spit on, had my car vandalized and my office broken into by a coworker who thought papering my office with a NY Post reprint (picture of Babe Ruth with a 1918 subtitle) was great fun. Yankee fans were once characterized as "Bankers or bullies" (1940s, 1950's?). I guess I have yet to meet any of the bankers.

I contribute to public radio and public television each year but the checks are written to WGBH because I want nothing to do with anything related to New York.

Apr. 01 2013 04:43 PM
Cindy Mironovich


Apr. 01 2013 11:51 AM

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