Some of you may have seen this already, but a man was killed and another person injured when a Yankee fan ran her car into a group of Red Sox fans. You can find a link to the article here. It started when a group of Red Sox fans were heckling this woman outside of a bar in Nashua, New Hampshire. This is very tragic because when it comes down to it this is just a game, and this rivalry isn't that serious. I know we like to pretend that its epic, but were not talking about the Spartans and the Persians. We're talking about two teams that play a game. Its not worth a life.
I've read comments on different websites that range from optimistic and edifying to inappropriate and heartless, and with these kind of things, the anonymity of the internet breeds that kind of behavior. I have lived in Massachusetts for a good portion of my life, and I know how the rivalry can be. It ranges from getting heckled if you're wearing a Yankee shirt, to being threatened, or getting into altercations because of it. For a while at the University of Massachusetts there were riots every time a New England team played in a big game, be it the Red Sox or Patriots or whatever. Over a thousand people would gather, light things on fire, topple cars that had New York plates on them, and then complain about police brutality and harassment when the riot squads would come in. That is the ugly side of fanhood.
On the other end, I've had some great conversations with Red Sox fans. I've had interactions where we're able to mutually take shots at one another, and not have it turn to anger or violence. Some people understand that its a game, and its to be enjoyed. I want the Yankees to beat the Red Sox at every level they can, but it stays on the field. That's it.
So next time you see a Red Sox fan in a bar in New York. Talk to them. Talk baseball. Talk trades, strategy, farm systems. I guarantee it'll change your perspective. And for Red Sox fans, if you see a New York hat in Boston, instead of yelling "Yankees Suck" as your natural inclination will be, strike up a conversation. You can really learn a lot by talking to someone from the other side of the rivalry.