Confidential to Red Sox Nation: I'm glad you didn't take it personally.
Guess I shouldn't be surprised that I spent most of Monday answering angry e-mails from Red Sox fans who took offense at my description of some of them after the Sox completed a three-game sweep of the Orioles on Sunday at Camden Yards. Maybe I was a little harsh when I called out a group of particularly boisterous Bostonians for using crude language in one of the field sections behind home plate.
Dennis Bouchard of Leominster, Mass., certainly thought so. He rebuked me with a strongly worded missive in which he referred to me derisively as "Doughboy" and asked me sneeringly if I was aware that the Red Sox are in first place in the American League East.
It's tough to respond to a letter like that because (a) the Red Sox are indeed in first place, and (b) I can't - even after losing several pounds during a morning-long hunger strike - mount a convincing argument against the characterization of me as a "Doughboy," unless that was meant as an obscure reference to my service in World War I.
Dear Peter, wrote Eric Platt of Kittery, Maine, As a lifelong member of Red Sox Nation, I have to apologize for my fellow fans' %$&@*& language. I wish those %$*# cents would watch their # cents$@*% language. Too bad about the sweep. Thanks for the great seats.
Right up front, I want to applaud Eric's discrete use of the Shift Lock on his keyboard. I mean, this isn't South Park. He didn't have to rub my nose in the three-game road sweep at what one imaginative Boston signbearer called "Red Sox Park at Camden Yards," but his final comment illustrates a point that I should have made more stridently Monday.
It may be galling to see Red Sox fans taking over the field level at Oriole Park, but the way things have gone for the Orioles the past eight years leaves me to wonder what the crowds would have been like over the weekend if Red Sox Nation had not taken up residence at the Inner Harbor. Perhaps you also have wondered how a team that once sold 28,000 season tickets announced a paid crowd of less than 14,000 last week, but that's a sob story for a different day.
Mike Mousseau of Johnston, R.I., thinks that the Orioles ought to count their blessings.
Let's not forget, if it wasn't for the "boorish" Sox fans, the Orioles at Camden Yards (a.k.a. Fenway South) would have been playing in front of a crowd of about 10 people. The "boorish" Sox fans and the Yankee fans bring revenue to stadiums that normally wouldn't sell out. Teams such as the Orioles should thank the Sox and the Yanks for having "traveling fans."
I should point out that the Orioles also have "traveling fans," but a lot of them appear to be traveling to RFK Stadium these days.
Your last name says it all, wrote disgruntled Soxaholic Hrair Mimassian of Lexington, Mass. You people should be happy we show up at your games and provide the extra revenue to your overrated city. Don't write for a few drunk fans who might have sworn a few times. Sox fans take pride in traveling with our team and we don't need jealous morons like you criticizing the diehards.
I don't know why people have to bring my name into it. It isn't easy being named Peter $%#@*&, so "jealous moron" probably should have been sufficient. I'm just happy that there are some Sox fans who recognize that it isn't polite to spew profanity around small children.
Seems unfortunate that one cannot attend a baseball game without being subjected to boorish behavior, wrote Patrick Brown of the Bronx, N.Y. I am a Red Sox fan, and was sitting in the bleachers (if you could call them that) and had to listen to a number of inebriated, idiotic Orioles fans. Count yourself lucky, you didn't pay for your ticket.
Of course, Patrick is using humor to make the point that there are rude, boorish fans in every ballpark, and I agree. The fact that he lives in the New York area probably affects his outlook - since Yankees fans are in a rude, boorish class by themselves - but it is true that there are plenty of obnoxious Orioles fans ... and that's just in the owners box.
Monday's column generated a tremendous number of e-mails. I can only recall two other columns over the past two years that have prompted more - one about Ray Lewis' contractual complaints and the one last week chiding the Orioles for failing to re-sign Melvin Mora.
Strangely, it definitely spawned more e-mails from female readers than any of my previous columns, which created an interesting dynamic. The female readers were much more likely to criticize me for exaggerating the crude behavior of some Red Sox fans, while a much higher percentage of male readers who identified themselves as Sox fans agreed that their compatriots at Fenway Park and on the road often behave badly.
If you know what to make of that, please write.
"The Peter Schmuck Show" airs on WBAL (1090 AM) Saturdays at noon.