Race and the Red Sox

doctorogres

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I read that as an oblique reference to being called a bunch of racial slurs by Sox fans last year. I don't blame him for being mad about that— it's embarrassing for me as a fan that that would happen.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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I read that as an oblique reference to being called a bunch of racial slurs by Sox fans last year. I don't blame him for being mad about that— it's embarrassing for me as a fan that that would happen.
Damn it, I think you've nailed it. It's a total disgrace that such a thing would happen and there's no place for such behavior anywhere.
 

glasspusher

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Damn it, I think you've nailed it. It's a total disgrace that such a thing would happen and there's no place for such behavior anywhere.
Joe(or anyone else), I haven't been to the fens much(I'm always hundreds or thousands of miles away)- is this shit still going on? I had heard that JH's organization has a low tolerance for dickhead fans at games. Do folks get tossed for racist shit too? I'd like to hear they do.
 

teddywingman

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I am curious about this as well. Who in the fuck is yelling racist shit at players in 2016?

Edit: I do not intend to discredit Price; but I am having a hard time believing this.
 

B H Kim

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I am curious about this as well. Who in the fuck is yelling racist shit at players in 2016?

Edit: I do not intend to discredit Price; but I am having a hard time believing this.
From everything I've heard and read, things are far better at Fenway these days (unlike the not all that distant past when I complained to an usher about a guy yelling the N word at an opposing player for the whole game and the usher did nothing). But, take a look at the twitter reactions to Joel Ward and PK Subban. We live in a social media age where a handful of the worst "fans" can broadcast their vilest thoughts for athletes and everyone else to read.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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Joe(or anyone else), I haven't been to the fens much(I'm always hundreds or thousands of miles away)- is this shit still going on? I had heard that JH's organization has a low tolerance for dickhead fans at games. Do folks get tossed for racist shit too? I'd like to hear they do.
Yes they do. It's nowhere near as bad as it was 20 years ago, but you do hear the vile crap now and again at games. If it's heard the perpetrators will be tossed from the park. Zero tolerance at Fenway for it.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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I am curious about this as well. Who in the fuck is yelling racist shit at players in 2016?

Edit: I do not intend to discredit Price; but I am having a hard time believing this.
With all respect, don't be naive. It does happen and it's happened enough to get mentioned by opposing players. It's not "common," but I've heard it in recent years as have others, and Price and a few other players have mentioned it.

If you hear it, report it and the assholes will be removed from the park. A few years ago a couple of knuckleheads behind me at a game kept yelling "Faggot" at opposing players and they were removed by the 3rd inning.
 

shaggydog2000

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From everything I've heard and read, things are far better at Fenway these days (unlike the not all that distant past when I complained to an usher about a guy yelling the N word at an opposing player for the whole game and the usher did nothing). But, take a look at the twitter reactions to Joel Ward and PK Subban. We live in a social media age where a handful of the worst "fans" can broadcast their vilest thoughts for athletes and everyone else to read.
I wouldn't judge any group of people by what is said by anonymous trolls on twitter. 99% of social media is attention starved jackasses screaming into a void hoping to hear something back.
 

Devizier

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I am curious about this as well. Who in the fuck is yelling racist shit at players in 2016?
It doesn't take many. There are people going a lot further than throwing racist epithets around at a ballgame. Just look at Natick, if you want a recent example.
 

Lose Remerswaal

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With all respect, don't be naive. It does happen and it's happened enough to get mentioned by opposing players. It's not "common," but I've heard it in recent years as have others, and Price and a few other players have mentioned it.

If you hear it, report it and the assholes will be removed from the park. A few years ago a couple of knuckleheads behind me at a game kept yelling "Faggot" at opposing players and they were removed by the 3rd inning.
I can vouch for this, saw it a couple times at Fenway last year (both racial and gay taunts). It's not like what just happened around the South Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade happened in a vacuum.
 

Mike F

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And congratulations to management for tossing the culprits immediately.
Money mongers might wait until after beer sales stop after the 7th.
 

timlinin8th

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With all respect, don't be naive. It does happen and it's happened enough to get mentioned by opposing players. It's not "common," but I've heard it in recent years as have others, and Price and a few other players have mentioned it.

If you hear it, report it and the assholes will be removed from the park. A few years ago a couple of knuckleheads behind me at a game kept yelling "Faggot" at opposing players and they were removed by the 3rd inning.
Honest question, is it really that much worse at Fenway than other ballparks though? I mean, I'm sure that there are some parks where the fans are total friendliness but I have a hard time believing that ballparks in New York, Chicago etc are much better, but its always Boston that gets singled out. I mean, there's these guys...

 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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I don't think it matters whether it's better or worse than other cities, the point is that it happens and that sucks.

I mean if Boston was seen as "less racist than Atlanta but more racist than Detroit*", would that make you happy?

* I have no idea, I'm jus throwing out city names.
 

timlinin8th

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I don't think it matters whether it's better or worse than other cities, the point is that it happens and that sucks.

I mean if Boston was seen as "less racist than Atlanta but more racist than Detroit*", would that make you happy?

* I have no idea, I'm jus throwing out city names.
I agree it sucks that it happens at all, and its not really a contest to figure out which ballpark is the most racist... It just seems Fenway gets singled out in this regard. I don't know if that is because it is really that bad or if its just because there is a large portion of the fanbase and media who get raging hardons about how "tough it is to play in Boston" is all.
 

glasspusher

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Yes they do. It's nowhere near as bad as it was 20 years ago, but you do hear the vile crap now and again at games. If it's heard the perpetrators will be tossed from the park. Zero tolerance at Fenway for it.
Good to hear. I swear, when I was rooting for the sox in The Toilet in the late 70s- early 80s, you'd hear "so and so sucks" and "fuck Boston", but I never heard racist stuff, even in the bleachers, and I would have remembered that.
 

nvalvo

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I agree it sucks that it happens at all, and its not really a contest to figure out which ballpark is the most racist... It just seems Fenway gets singled out in this regard. I don't know if that is because it is really that bad or if its just because there is a large portion of the fanbase and media who get raging hardons about how "tough it is to play in Boston" is all.
Does it really, or do you follow the Sox?

I live in Chicago now, and I've heard exactly the same thing about Wrigley more than once. And Dodger Stadium, Busch Stadium, CBP in Philadelphia, and likely a few others, too. A few years ago somebody threw a banana at Adam Jones in San Francisco, of all places. So it happens all over the country. My suspicion is that the old parks, built in such a way that the crowds are close to the players, produce situations where the players hear more of what the crowds yell more distinctly, and, well, some of it sucks.
 

Koufax

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Good to hear. I swear, when I was rooting for the sox in The Toilet in the late 70s- early 80s, you'd hear "so and so sucks" and "fuck Boston", but I never heard racist stuff, even in the bleachers, and I would have remembered that.
Really? I heard it on average once a game in the 80s. I thought at the time that I could never bring a young kid to the game. Sorry to put it this way, but as ticket prices went up the ability of knuckle-draggers to pay to come, get drunk and look for fights diminished.
 

Leskanic's Thread

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Yeah, when I was growing up in the 80s, my parents (long-time fans) would never let me sit in the bleachers, because of both the vile language and the fights.

It also needs to be noted that, while this kind of thing does sadly happen in many ballparks (as noted above), Boston does have a reputation for being a particularly racist city. I know a lot of people in Boston will say that's outdated, and maybe it's confirmation bias...but there are multiple black athletes and performers who play/perform around the country who say Boston is the most uncomfortable place to be.

Again, maybe that's a message that's unfair or outdated. (I would vote somewhat unfair but not outdated.) But if you hear that about a place, and you hear a handful of people in the park or on twitter saying terrible racist things...well, the storyline starts to check out.
 

HriniakPosterChild

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Good to hear. I swear, when I was rooting for the sox in The Toilet in the late 70s- early 80s, you'd hear "so and so sucks" and "fuck Boston", but I never heard racist stuff, even in the bleachers, and I would have remembered that.
Back in 1986, a NYY fan somehow stole Rice's cap, and when Rice asked for it back, the fan answered with a racial epithet, which led to Rice and most of the 23 other guys going into the stands to get the hat back. (IIRC, Roger stayed behind in the dugout to "keep an eye on the gloves.")
 

HriniakPosterChild

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It also needs to be noted that, while this kind of thing does sadly happen in many ballparks (as noted above), Boston does have a reputation for being a particularly racist city. I know a lot of people in Boston will say that's outdated, and maybe it's confirmation bias...but there are multiple black athletes and performers who play/perform around the country who say Boston is the most uncomfortable place to be.
The book Shut Out relates a story from Ellis Burks about his going on the radio and trying to encourage "WILD listeners" to come out to Fenway, because that station had a large number of listeners of color. They even tried giving away tickets, but most of that demographic wanted no part of Fenway in those days.
 

Ramon AC

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Back in 1986, a NYY fan somehow stole Rice's cap, and when Rice asked for it back, the fan answered with a racial epithet, which led to Rice and most of the 23 other guys going into the stands to get the hat back. (IIRC, Roger stayed behind in the dugout to "keep an eye on the gloves.")
This game story has Marty Barrett staying behind to "guard the gloves" and Seaver wanting Clemens to get out of the stands before he gets hurt.
 

glasspusher

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Really? I heard it on average once a game in the 80s. I thought at the time that I could never bring a young kid to the game. Sorry to put it this way, but as ticket prices went up the ability of knuckle-draggers to pay to come, get drunk and look for fights diminished.
I was rooting for the sox in Aug of 1978 in the Toilet there was a short rain delay, drunks were hopping on the field and doing belly flops on the infield tarp. Folks threw M80s from the third deck. It was wild, but I will honestly say I didn't hear any racial stuff.
I was in the bleachers there in 1980 and a guy was selling "Yankee joints". Tony Perez crushed a double off a Dave Laroche LaLob- you would think Dave knew his history.
I was in the left field bleachers, near where Bellhorn hit his HR, July 2nd 1983, Matt Keough was pitching for the yanks. He hit Rice with a pitch his first AB, Rice hit home runs off of him the next two at bats. Got to see Yaz go deep that day, too. Two days later Dave Righetti no hit the sox.

I dunno, maybe I lucked out. Thanks for your take.
 

glasspusher

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Back in 1986, a NYY fan somehow stole Rice's cap, and when Rice asked for it back, the fan answered with a racial epithet, which led to Rice and most of the 23 other guys going into the stands to get the hat back. (IIRC, Roger stayed behind in the dugout to "keep an eye on the gloves.")
Wow, good times, mid Sept of 1986. The MFYs were out of it at that time. Friend or foe, Jim Rice in a good year was not someone I'd want to piss off.
 

lexrageorge

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Anecdote on the race/Fenway discussion (which probably could be broken out):

I do recall going to a game in the early 1980's. It was a day game, and I was sitting down the 3rd base line in the left field area. It was a tough loss for the Sox, and Rice had a tough game hitting into a couple of double plays. Nearing the end, a couple of fans were heckling Rice pretty hard when he was in the field (I think it was the 8th or 9th inning). At first, it was strictly about him being a "bum" at the plate, over paid, etc. Typical boo-bird stuff, which Rice obviously ignored. Then one of the game attendees (I refuse to call him a fan) started pointing out his race, asking why he was on the only <...> on the team, and saying stuff I'd rather not remember. At one point, Rice looked over, and that just got the fan even more riled up. It was shameful, and finally a couple of guys came over and told him to cool it.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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I agree it sucks that it happens at all, and its not really a contest to figure out which ballpark is the most racist... It just seems Fenway gets singled out in this regard. I don't know if that is because it is really that bad or if its just because there is a large portion of the fanbase and media who get raging hardons about how "tough it is to play in Boston" is all.
I don't disagree with you that Fenway (and Boston in particular) seems to get dinged for this stuff more than other cities. And while I get why, is it as bad as other places? I'm not a POC so I can't answer that. I think that there's a lot of evidence that Boston shouldn't be like that (it's a progressive state, etc) but a lot of people who know better than me say it is.

As far as Boston being a "tough place to play", hurling racial epitaphs doesn't make a place tough, it makes it a pretty shitty place to play.
 
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One of the reasons why Boston gets singled out (beyond a shameful history of racism, both in general and specific to the Sox) is that it's one of the few places where fans actually seem to CARE during a regular season game. Go watch a summer afternoon game at, say, Dodger Stadium and people will react to home runs and late inning heroics but that's about it. Most people are chatting, and drinking beer, and doing the wave.

Not only do the people shouting racist stuff have to be the sort of people who would say that stuff, but they have to actually work themselves up into enough of a tizzy to do it. Fenway is a good atmosphere for that, not only because of the whiteness of the fan base (at least in the park) but because everyone is into it and screaming stuff way more often.
 

biollante

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Fenway has changed quite a bit since the 1980's. More women, fewer mean drunks and now the crowd is polite. Sat in the bleachers last year for a Saturday Yanks/Sox game and didn't see 1 fight. Between the constant video noise and higher ticket prices, the place is getting a tad boring.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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One of the reasons why Boston gets singled out (beyond a shameful history of racism, both in general and specific to the Sox) is that it's one of the few places where fans actually seem to CARE during a regular season game. Go watch a summer afternoon game at, say, Dodger Stadium and people will react to home runs and late inning heroics but that's about it. Most people are chatting, and drinking beer, and doing the wave.

Not only do the people shouting racist stuff have to be the sort of people who would say that stuff, but they have to actually work themselves up into enough of a tizzy to do it. Fenway is a good atmosphere for that, not only because of the whiteness of the fan base (at least in the park) but because everyone is into it and screaming stuff way more often.
Wait. WHAT THE FUCK?

Yeah, I can't remember how many times I screamed the N-word after Ortiz hit a home run. It's not because I'm a racist prick, it's because I was really into the game.
 

uncannymanny

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Wait. WHAT THE FUCK?

Yeah, I can't remember how many times I screamed the N-word after Ortiz hit a home run. It's not because I'm a racist prick, it's because I was really into the game.
Not only do the people shouting racist stuff have to be the sort of people who would say that stuff, but they have to actually work themselves up into enough of a tizzy to do it.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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Alright I must have read over that part but I'm still not buying it.

I don't think that an intense fandom breaks out racism.
 

shaggydog2000

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Alright I must have read over that part but I'm still not buying it.

I don't think that an intense fandom breaks out racism.
I'm torn. What are the odds of 1 out of the 500 people who go to a Tampa Bay game shouting racist slurs? But if they did, it definitely wouldn't get lost in crowd noise. You'd hear that shit.
 

loshjott

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FWIW (not much) I was at a Sox-Mariners game at Safeco in the 2008-10 timeframe. A bunch of Sox fans who fit the stereotypical image of obnoxious entitled drunk 20 something white D-bags were right near me. They were yelling racist crap at Ichiro constantly. We were near the RF line. There was a Japanese family sitting there also, very uncomfortably. The Safeco security guards threw the dickwads out midway through the game, thankfully.
 

mauf

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I'm torn. What are the odds of 1 out of the 500 people who go to a Tampa Bay game shouting racist slurs? But if they did, it definitely wouldn't get lost in crowd noise. You'd hear that shit.
Because the loud asshole in Tampa stands out, he is asked to leave (or told to shut up by someone bigger than him) before it escalates to the point of racial slurs. The loud asshole doesn't stand out in Boston -- there are other loud (non-racist) assholes, plus lots of boisterous fans just enjoying the game, so no one perceives a problem until that loud asshole crosses a line (racial slur, etc.).

It's valid to blame us for tolerating loud assholes. Maybe it's partly because our fans are more passionate than the norm, but I'm skeptical -- you don't hear about things like this happening in St. Louis, and I'm sure there's no less racism there than here. We just tolerate behavior at the ballpark that we shouldn't. Most of the time, that tolerance leads to nothing worse than kids hearing some words that perhaps they shouldn't, but occasionally it results in something shameful.
 
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lexrageorge

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I'm not convinced Fenway today is any worse than Dodger Stadium or any other venue. And, in fact, players seem to like it here; you don't hear stories of prominent players putting Boston on their "no trade" list like you did in the 80's and 90's.
 

Sir Lancelotti

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I'm 34, have gone to 10-20 games a year since I was 10 years old, and I feel comfortable stating Fenway is 1000X better behaved and socially tolerant now than how it was when I started going in the early 90s. One of my first Fenway memories was sitting in box seats behind the 3rd base dugout and seeing some guy throw a banana at Frank Thomas in the on deck circle. The entire section cracked up, the batboy came out and pick it up, and the fan wasn't disciplined in the least, it was treated as a non-event. This was only 25 years ago, and I can't even imagine to how bad things were during the busing era.

Mo Vaughn becoming a homegrown popular black superstar, Pedro and the Dominican pride influx, and the new ownership group promoting "Friendly Fenway" did a lot to improve the racial climate around Fenway in the late 90s early 2000s. Not saying things are a United Nations utopia of any sort as the crowds are still overwhelmingly white , but its definitely a more welcoming environment. Even during the height of the 2003-2004 Sox-Yankees hysteria which would routinely feature at least 4 drunken bleacher fights a game, I never heard an N bomb or any racially charged language.
 

Rough Carrigan

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I've gone to about a dozen games a year since the early 90's. I honestly don't remember the last time I heard the word "nigger" or any similar term. It would have to be in the 80's. The last thing even starting down that road that I remember hearing was a game in something like '99 or 2000 and a black outfielder, maybe Troy O'Leary, didn't particularly hustle after a ball and the hitter got an extra base. A guy sitting near us said something like, "He'd have been after it if it was a hubcap". A couple other guys and I gave him long stares.

Most of the games I've seen have been from the infield grandstands. Maybe it's been different in the bleachers or other cheaper seats.

I wonder if some of this is confirmation bias. There was actual out loud, in public debate among Cardinals fans 15 or so years ago as to whether the Cardinals were "too black". But they're the greatest fans ever.
 

snowmanny

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I go to about 10-15 games a year about five rows back in the CF bleachers, and I've probably sat in the bleachers about ten times a year for forty years. I haven't heard anything racial in years, and there's a pretty low tolerance for bad behavior these days. The treatment of women took longer to improve.
 

moondog80

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Was hubcap stealing still a thing in 1999? Hadn't most racist people at least moved on to different stereotypes?
 

The Gray Eagle

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Maybe it's partly because our fans are more passionate than the norm, but I'm skeptical -- you don't hear about things like this happening in St. Louis, and I'm sure there's no less racism there than here. .
Actually, you do hear about these things happening in St. Louis.
The best fans in baseball!

That doesn't excuse those scumbags who are part of the Red Sox fanbase from the awful things they do or say. But sadly any group of people large enough is going to have some lowlifes like that. It's not just a Red Sox fan thing, it's a racist asshole thing, and there are racist assholes in every fanbase, unfortunately.
 

shaggydog2000

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Was hubcap stealing still a thing in 1999? Hadn't most racist people at least moved on to different stereotypes?
I think keeping with the times is not the strong suit of racist people. But maybe there is a new group of cutting edge racists I don't encounter.
 

mauf

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Actually, you do hear about these things happening in St. Louis.
The best fans in baseball!

That doesn't excuse those scumbags who are part of the Red Sox fanbase from the awful things they do or say. But sadly any group of people large enough is going to have some lowlifes like that. It's not just a Red Sox fan thing, it's a racist asshole thing, and there are racist assholes in every fanbase, unfortunately.
What's missing from those links is any public figure (as opposed to a rando with a blog or Twitter account) accusing St. Louis fans of directing racial slurs at players during a ballgame at Busch Stadium. Heckling of BLM protesters isn't remotely the same -- if the hecklers had used racial slurs, I'm sure the author wouldn't have failed to mention that fact.

It's simply not true that all cities have this problem in equal proportions. We are worse than most.
 

mauf

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I go to about 10-15 games a year about five rows back in the CF bleachers, and I've probably sat in the bleachers about ten times a year for forty years. I haven't heard anything racial in years, and there's a pretty low tolerance for bad behavior these days. The treatment of women took longer to improve.
I go to a similar number of games and sit maybe half a dozen rows behind you. The only racial slur I've heard in the past 20 years was uttered by a Yankee fan, who was promptly ejected from the stadium (Unfortunately, the black man to whom the slur was directed was ejected as well.)

There's no question that behavior is better than it used to be, but there's still a much greater tolerance for boorish behavior than there is in a lot of other cities. I've seen behavior tolerated at Fenway recently that I couldn't imagine being tolerated in San Francisco or Washington -- nothing as bad as racial slurs, but stuff that would make some people uncomfortable bringing their kids to a game. I don't blame ownership; it's the fan culture here, and I think they're doing all they can to change it gradually over time.

As I said above, I suspect this is why we hear stories like these about awful things that Red Sox fans more often than we hear similar stories about fans of most other teams. (In the case of slurs directed at players, it also matters that a larger number of fans sit within earshot of the field at Fenway than pretty much anyplace else besides Wrigley.)
 

richgedman'sghost

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Wait. WHAT THE FUCK?

Yeah, I can't remember how many times I screamed the N-word after Ortiz hit a home run. It's not because I'm a racist prick, it's because I was really into the game.
Wait..You just admitted you are a racist..Why?? That is no excuse for your racism and why would you be yelling racist slurs at Big Papi? Thought you were a Sox fan.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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Alright I must have read over that part but I'm still not buying it.

I don't think that an intense fandom breaks out racism.
I think it's reasonable to say that being in a state of intense excitement (about whatever) makes people more likely to shed their inhibitions and say things that they know might cause trouble. The intensity of the fandom doesn't correlate to the racism, but it may correlate to the unfiltering (so to speak) of the racism. As does alcohol, of course, so the combination of the two is powerful.

Wait..You just admitted you are a racist..Why?? That is no excuse for your racism and why would you be yelling racist slurs at Big Papi? Thought you were a Sox fan.
Somebody's sarcasm meter is broken. I just can't tell if it's yours or mine.
 

SydneySox

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Fenway is full every (depending on who you believe) night and while many of the people there are HARDCORE!! fans, there's a huge casual and business element. I don't get back much but when I do I got to a lot of games and the thing that's really hit me over the last few years is the amount of people there in good seats who spend the whole time talking and never watch.

That's not a criticism of them or the way people enjoy their social times, and it reflects more on me - obsessed by every pitch because I get to see it so rarely - but it speaks to the wider point, that when we identify Fenway we aren't always talking about Red Sox fans (like us or others who care beyond just social reasons), we have to take into account a much more wide slice of the community.

And... like every single place in the world... racism is a thing.

With all due respect to the amount of posters in this thread who say they've never heard the 'n' word or hispanic slurs... we (and I say we because we all white) are not really in a place to be listening, to be seeing the stares or hearing the little jokes.

I think it's important we just acknowledge it's an issue clearly felt by some, at least, minority players, and hope we can all do the things we need to do to keep trying to change it.
 

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Sorry I'm stuck at the freaking Bradley Airport Shearton trying to catch a flight to Ft Myers. My attitude is kinda grumpy. Could you please accept my apology and erase my post?