I remember being a senior in high school and getting a couple of free tickets to a Red Sox vs Yankees game at Fenway Park. The place we all bought our prom tuxes from was giving them out if you got your tux there. I took my dad as a kind of 'thank you' for all of the games he had taken me to growing up.
We had a nice day watching the game surrounded by a bunch of my classmates. And then things took a turn. There were a few Yankees fans in the crowd that were running their mouths. A couple of guys I knew ended up getting into a fight with the New York fans, sending one of them off in an ambulance.
That's the first moment I can remember witnessing the insanity of fandom. I would NEVER support that kind of aggression over a sporting event. It's just plain stupid.
Since that moment I've been to many sporting events at stadiums all around the country. I've seen and heard some horrible things.
Why am I bringing this up? I wanted to address the situation with Adam Jones that took place during Monday's game in Boston. Jones was upset with racial slurs that were yelled at him by Red Sox fans in the crowd. And he has every right to be upset. No person, athlete or not, should have to be subjected to that kind of verbal abuse. It's disgusting and I hope the suspect in question is banned from Fenway for the rest of his life.
But I don't like how ALL Boston fans are now considered "racist." It seems that people think this kind of stuff only happens in other cities and other stadiums. I assure you that is not the case.
In 2008, Red Sox outfielder Manny Ramirez was in Baltimore searching for his 500th home run. I got tickets in left field with the hopes of catching the ball should it come my direction. During one of the games I witnessed a group of guys sitting in the front row, against the outfield wall, all holding bananas and verbally harassing Ramirez. The banana being an often used as a racist symbol toward African Americans. Interestingly enough, Ramirez was from the Dominican Republic. So, not only were these guys racist, but they also were dumb.
Are all Orioles fans racist? Absolutely not. But those guys were.
At my very first Ravens game at M&T Bank Stadium, I witnessed a middle-aged adult male dump an entire beer on the head of what appeared to be a 12-year-old boy because, as he put it, "No one wears a Bengals jersey in my section."
Are all Ravens fans huge jerks? No way. But that guy was.
I am absolutely positive there are racist jerks sitting in the stands at Fenway Park that have incredibly horrible things to say about players on the field. But that is not a symbol of the people of Boston, or of "Red Sox Nation." Be careful before you judge an entire group of people based on the actions of a few. Imagine what people outside of Baltimore might think of the things they see at events when they visit.