By A.J. Hayes
A cursory inspection of the sea of fans sporting navy blue and crimson at the Oakland Coliseum this past weekend proved that a) Boston Red Sox fans travel really well. And b) David Ortiz replica jerseys are not limited to “Big Popi” sizes.
Dozens of men, women, teens and toddlers of all dimensions ringed the stadium, spreading New England support from foul pole to foul pole and representing Ortiz, the Red Sox massive slugger. And those not wearing Ortiz’s iconic No. 34 modeled jerseys and t-shits representing the likes of Manny Ramirez, Kevin Youkilis, and Jonathan Papelbon. Sprinkled among them were some retro pieces featuring the numbers of Jim Rice, Carl Yastrzemski and Ted Williams.
No matter how Oakland fared on the field against the visiting Bosox, the Green and Gold bean counters knew in advance they would be big winners at the box office. Boston is the hottest ticket in baseball and the Red Sox currently lead the American League in road attendance with an average of nearly 35,000 fans per road game. Plus, the A’s charge more for their tickets when the world champs come to town. In all the three game set in Oakland series netted 97,592 customers.
But long before the Red Sox won two world championships over the past four seasons, the Red Sox were a big draw in the Bay Area. During the Red Sox inaugural inter-league visit/invasion of San Francisco a few seasons ago, Boston fans famously took over the lower grand stand of the Giants freshly minted ball park.
New England and the Bay Area have their share of bicoastal similarities. Both area have Irish/Italian roots; both have legendary sea ports, each has boho street cred and each region is over-shadowed by neon glitz to the south.
Prior to Saturday evening’s contest at the Coliseum we ventured into the heart of the Red Sox Nation’s west coast capitol and let it’s citizenry speak for themselves.
Ray Remocapozzi, 35, sporting Bosox cap and t-shirt:
“I grew up and live in Reno and try to make it out to the Bay Area every time the Red Sox come in. My mom and dad are originally from the Boston area and my half-brother, who is 18 years older than me, turned me on to the team. When I was growing up he brought me a bunch of Red Sox stuff: caps t-shirts, pennants. Naturally, I rooted for them. This is the second time seen the Red Sox this year and the second time we’ve brought our two-year old daughter (out-fitted in Lil’ Popi tee). Red Sox fans are a tight knit group and we run into the same people year after year. This is Red Sox Nation way out west.”