Tag Archives: Red Sox

Sports Rivalries: Why It’s Fun to Hate Other Teams

Me reacting to the last-second interception to seal the Patriots Super Bowl win over the Seahawks.
Me reacting to the last-second interception to seal the Patriots Super Bowl win over the Seahawks.

Loving my Boston sports teams isn’t enough. I need a rival to hate.

Look, I know it’s crazy. I know I’M crazy. When it comes to sports, I have issues because essentially I’m just rooting for laundry. But I don’t care. I don’t care that I place an unnatural significance on the outcome of professional sporting events played by millionaires who don’t care about me personally. Want to know why? Because it’s fun.

It’s fun to love a team you’ve inherited from your father who inherited it from his father. It’s fun to bond over that love, go to games, and dissect play calls like it actually matters what we think. It’s fun to have common ground and to celebrate victories while knowing you’re in good company after defeats.

But most of all, it’s fun to share a mutual hatred of hated rivals.

Being a Boston fan, I’m lucky to have no shortage of hated opponents in that department. As Boston Bruins fans we have no patience for those sniveling turds from Montreal. Growing up a Celtics fan, it was all about my favorite player, Larry Bird, and loathing Magic Johnson and the reviled slickness of the LA Lakers. As a lifelong Red Sox fan, it goes without saying my hatred for the pinstriped Yankees from New York knows no bounds, and 2004 was the ultimate purging of demons as the Red Sox completed the greatest comeback in sports history while the Yankees choked away a sure thing.

While I love all sports, football is my favorite to watch. And the Patriots are our beloved hometown team to which we swear fealty and pledge to defend against all enemies, foreign and domestic.


My father is entering his 44th year as a Patriots season ticket holder. I’ve been going to games since the age of 6 with my dad and brother, and soon my sons will join the club. With the arrival of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady 15 years ago came an unexpected string of good fortune, which transformed the Patriots from a laughingstock to a model organization and paragon of success, which means one thing — lots of haters came out of the woodwork. Thankfully, I give as good as I get.

Let’s start with the division rival New York Jets, who haven’t won squat since before men were able to walk on the moon. Yet these wretched souls are filled with hope every single year and they actually believe they have a chance, until Tom Brady and Bill Belichick put them in their rightful place. Also, this:

Then you have the Pittsburgh Steelers. Long the kings of the NFL decades ago, they were bested by the upstart 2001 Patriots and Hines Ward and company have been whining ever since. I had the pleasure of being at Heinz Field for the 2001 AFC Championship game, where smug Steelers fans taunted us mercilessly before the game. So when Brady, Bledsoe, Bruschi, Brown and the Patriots slapped them into stunned silence to advance to the Super Bowl, we danced on their lawn and sent the double freedom rockets into orbit.

And then you have the Indianapolis Colts. Sweet mother of crap do I hate the Indianapolis Colts.

It started in the early 2000s when Peyton Manning got all the credit and accolades, despite Tom Brady being the better quarterback. While Manning was racking up stats, Tom Brady did nothing but win with FAR less talent at his disposal. In the 2003 AFC Championship game, the Patriots intercepted Manning four times to advance to the Super Bowl. The following year in the playoffs, the Patriots held Manning to 3 measly points en route to another Super Bowl win.

And then, in 2013 when Manning was playing for the Broncos, Brady led the Patriots to overcome a 24-point deficit to beat “I don’t like the cold” Manning in overtime, prompting this celebration from my dad.


And now the Colts are led by Andrew Luck and a team of crybaby maggots who whined about deflated footballs that didn’t even factor into a 45-7 butt-whooping. I was wondering how I’d manage to hate Luck, who by all accounts is a nice guy and fantastic football player. But now I have my answer. They, along with the NFL, tried to catch the Patriots in a sting in an attempt to besmirch the greatest QB ever to grace a football field. Even though it didn’t work and a $5 million report came up with no hard evidence against our Lord and Savior Tom Brady, his name is still being dragged through the mud. And that will never be forgotten. Not today, not tomorrow, and certainly not on October 18, 2015, when Tom Brady travels to Indianapolis and once again crushes the spirits of Indy players and fans who dare oppose him.

In the end, I’m thankful for the rivalries. Rooting for the Patriots is awesome, but rooting against hated rivals and reveling in their defeat while dancing on their withered bones, is what makes it all worthwhile.

Smack Apparel, the official home of all collegiate and professional sports rivalries, realizes this and caters specifically to fans like me who enjoy irritating fans of other teams to no end. Their Smack Zone blog makes its inaugural debut today, focusing exclusively on sports passion and rivalries, because Smack has been assisting smack-talkers give as good as they get for nearly 20 years.

That’s why I’ve teamed up with Smack Apparel to offer a free t-shirt to a lucky recipient. You have to leave a comment here describing which teams/opposing fans you love to hate, and follow Smack Apparel on Twitter to win. You’ll receive a virtual gift card to buy a shirt of your choosing, just in time for the start of the season on Sept. 10 (when the defending champion Patriots kick off against the hated Pittsburgh Steelers).

Also, be sure to check out the #SmackZone Twitter party on Sept. 8 from 8-9 pm EST for more great prizes. So leave a comment here and that will automatically enter you in the drawing, which will be finalized later this week.



*I have partnered with Smack Apparel on this campaign and while I received compensation, all opinions expressed here are my own.

Share Button

My Son Hates Baseball


“Dad, I don’t think I like baseball and I don’t want to play anymore.”

Except for Will saying he doesn’t love me or that he’s become a New York sports fan, nothing uttered from my 6-year-old’s lips stings as much as my boy — my oldest son — telling me he doesn’t want to partake in America’s pastime. My father’s pastime. My pastime.

And the first thing that ran through my head was “How can I raise a kid who doesn’t like baseball?”

Continue reading My Son Hates Baseball

Share Button

“Hey Dad, You Wanna Have a Catch?”


“The one constant through all the years has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past. It reminds us of all that once was good, and what could be again.”


There are two types of people in this world — people who love Field of Dreams and get choked up at the end of the movie, and heartless jerks.

Fathers, sons, and baseball. There’s just something special about America’s pastime, boys, and their dads that defies explanation. It’s the reason why I went out and bought a tiny baseball mitt when I found out MJ was pregnant, and why the first thing that popped into my head when I realized I had a son was teaching him how to play catch. And when it’s the Boston Red Sox — one of the most storied franchises in all of sports — you’re talking about a birthright which generations of fans have laid claim to and passed down to their kids. Especially in my family, where we take Boston sports fanaticism to previously unheard of levels.

Which is why attending Game 2 of the World Series with my father and brother was one of the most special moments of my life.

Continue reading “Hey Dad, You Wanna Have a Catch?”

Share Button

The Patriots, Red Sox, and Why We Stay Until the End

fen_boysI don’t remember much about my first trip to Fenway Park.

My first memory is the Green Monster. I had seen it on TV, but in person it loomed like the Great Wall of China to my 7-year-old mind. I remember the rickety wooden seats in the third-base grandstand being ridiculously uncomfortable (some things never change), to the point I had to sit on my red backpack. I remember Roger Clemens was pitching because I had begged my dad to pick a game when the “Rocket” was on the mound. And I remember thinking Fenway Franks taste a million times better than hotdogs at home.

I can’t tell you how many strikeouts Clemens had, what the score was, or even who won. But I’ll always remember being with my dad, because at one point during the game he grabbed my brother and I and said “I always dreamed about taking my boys to Fenway Park to watch the Red Sox.”

On Saturday night, it was my turn to live the dream.

Continue reading The Patriots, Red Sox, and Why We Stay Until the End

Share Button

Boston Will Overcome

boston_marathonThe heartbreak was not relegated to runners on the infamous hill at mile 20 yesterday.

For those of you who don’t pay attention to the news, two bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon injured more than 120 people and killed three others — including an 8-year-old child, according to news reports. I grew up — and still live in — a town 30 miles south of Boston. I work 12 miles from Boston. And for two years I lived in parts of the city called Allston and Brighton. When you factor in all the sporting events witnessed there and the bars frequented in my youth, it’s safe to say it’s a city I know and love. And Patriots Day is Boston’s moment to shine.

Let me paint you a picture:

Most of the city has the day off to celebrate the first battle of the Revolutionary War, but what that really means is everyone in Boston is doing one of two things — watching the 11:05 a.m. Red Sox game or taking in the Boston Marathon. It’s more of an experience than a sports day. Everyone starts drinking at 9 a.m. — even earlier if the weather is good — and Bostonians celebrate what many consider to be the actual start of spring. Everyone is happy and the mood is celebratory. If you time it right and the Sox cooperate, you can potentially see the Red Sox win, walk outside the stadium and see the runners in Kenmore Square enter the final mile before finishing in Copley.

It’s really pretty spectacular, and it’s the kind of day and event that you can only experience here.

Someone, or some group of people, bombed spectators near the finish line. Everything is still under investigation at this point and I’m not going to add to the speculation. That’s not what this is about. This is about the fact that I knew multiple people who were there today. It’s about the fact that if I could’ve gotten tickets, I would’ve taken my son to the game and then to see the runners finish. It’s about attacking a group of innocent people doing nothing but cheering on family and friends, as well as runners who spent months if not years training for this one day to complete something truly magnificent in the realm of athletic achievements.

You bombed Boston today. You took at least three people — and one little kid — away today with your actions. I have to assume you’re pleased with that outcome, as no one detonates a bomb unless they want it to destroy those close to it. And yes, you scared a lot of people and wreaked genuine havoc. But wherever you are, I hope you take note of a few things.

I hope you noticed the number of people running for cover was dwarfed by the multitude of heroes who ran toward the blast. They weren’t even all law enforcement either. Some were just random bystanders and volunteers, but it didn’t matter because they ran into the hell you created and they’re the reason there are so few casualties. The smoke hadn’t even cleared before they were there to battle the evil you concocted.

I hope you noticed the runners who never stopped running, but instead took it upon themselves to detour to the nearest hospital to give blood.

I hope you noticed random stars like former New England Patriot Joe Andruzzi jumping into the fray to save people. He learned it from his brothers — Sept. 11 first responders who rushed toward the Twin Towers when everyone else was running away. Even our famous athletes get their hands dirty here.

I hope you saw social media ablaze with support for Boston in the form of thoughts, prayers, and memes in seemingly instantaneous fashion.

And if you really need proof your efforts backfired, look no further than the Bronx. Yankee Stadium put up a “United We Stand” message with a Red Sox logo on it, and sang Sweet Caroline during their game. Your efforts at division and destruction somehow managed to bring together two blood rivals who make the Israeli-Palestinian conflict look like a mild skirmish. Bet you didn’t see that one coming.

And I hope you look at all of this and realize that while you hurt us, you won’t win. You can’t win. Because most people are inherently good, and in Boston we take care of our own. That includes the injured runners and spectators who aren’t from here, because when you’re a guest in our town you’re one of us. The goal of terrorism is to instill fear and tear people apart, but you must not be from here because you have no idea what lengths we’ll go to to take care of our friends, neighbors, and loved ones.

I will admit I listened to the police scanner after the blast and the chaos and desperation in the voices of the responders was heart-breaking. Everyone driving a box truck was a potential terrorist and everyone with a backpack a suspect. Then all the calls from runners and spectators poured in talking about every suspicious person they saw near the finish line. I did fear the fallout because it’s only natural for the city to be thirsty for vengeance, and I worried some of it will be taken out in the wrong way on the wrong people.

Events like this rob us of people which is the worst, but also of our innocence and a little of our humanity as well. And it kills me.

So I beg Bostonians to be better than the person or people who declared war on us. Let’s avoid talk of lynch mobs and vigilante justice. Let’s not joke about roving gangs of pissed off Southie thugs tracking the perpetrators down before the police so they can tear him/her from limb to limb. Instead, let’s remember who we are.

We’re Boston. We’re hardy New Englanders who seem as cold as our weather to the outside world, but secretly we’re marshmallows when it comes to the people we love. We’re hard-working, honest and devoted to family. We make friends for life. We’re educated and home to some of the world’s leading colleges and universities. That’s why we’re better than the people who did this. We’re stronger than the people who did this. And we’ll battle the people who did this by getting through this together.

You’ve given us your worst but I’m confident you’re about to see the very best of Boston.

Share Button