10/13/2004 8:18 PM ET
In enemy land, Sox fans still believe
Boston faithful wary but pleased at Stadium reception
By Doug Miller / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- As dusk arrived outside Yankee Stadium on Wednesday and the navy blue-clad throngs moved hurriedly to secure their seats for Game 2 of the American League Championship Series, specks of red could be seen amidst the huddled masses.
|Red Sox fans invading Yankee Stadium have been featured prominently by the local media. (MLB.com)
In other words, despite the danger, there were some Boston Red Sox fans in the house.
And if you couldn't tell by seeing their Kevin Millar jerseys or T-shirts offering disparaging remarks about their lifelong rivals from the Bronx, all you had to do was follow the light of the cameras.
It seems that television crews were picking up on the whole rivalry thing, and Tom Pasniewski, a medical researcher from Brookline, Mass., was in on the fun.
Pasniewski, wearing a classic Yastrzemski-esque Sox jacket and game cap, said he had already been on three or four news shows.
"They think we have it tough here being Sox fans around all these Yankee fans," Pasniewski said.
"But to be honest with you, it's surprising. There's a lot of respect here. I respect their fans. They have their passion and we have ours. They don't give us too much [trouble]."
Of course, as he was saying this on local TV, several Yankees fans made a point of standing behind him and displaying homemade signs. One, seizing on the whole Pedro Martinez "Who's your daddy?" phenomenon, read, "The Bambino is your daddy."
Meanwhile, Pasniewski had attracted some friends.
Kevin Krueger, a recent MBA graduate from Medfield, Mass., stood by a large sign touting a Web site that aims to use mystical powers to give the Red Sox their first World Series title since 1918.
Krueger wore a hat and shirt with the word "Curse" spelled backwards in Red Sox font, implying that the Red Sox will soon reverse the legendary "Curse of the Bambino," which supposedly kicked into gear when the Sox traded Babe Ruth to the Yankees.
Krueger was most proud of the "Yankee fan conversion kit" he carried that included a personalized certificate, a picture frame, a hat, shirt and sticker, plus a perfume bottle filled with dirty water from the Charles River.
"You pour that over yourself and wash away any thoughts of being a Yankee fan," Krueger said. "And maybe the Sox will get some luck out of it."
Steve Persamperi, a sales rep originally from Brockton, Mass., and now living in New Jersey, was right next to Krueger, basking in the Sox fans' local kumbaya corner.
"Any time you're in enemy territory, you find people of your kind," said Persamperi, who has frequented Yankee Stadium plenty of times with bold red jackets and hats but opted for the subdued look Wednesday.
There was no Sox cap, just a gray sweatshirt with only the faintest hint of a New England Patriots logo. Subtle, yet effective.
"The Patriots have won 19 games in a row," Persamperi pointed out. "I figured maybe it was time for some of that winning to rub off on the Sox."
Gabe Francis, a salesman from Dorchester, Mass., wearing a Manny Ramirez jersey and Sox cap, strolled the grounds looking for a slice of pizza and said not a single Yankees fan had approached him to taunt him, talk to him or even acknowledge his presence.
And he said he wasn't surprised at all.
"Yankee fans don't really care about us," Francis said. "They're always in the World Series, so they don't really bother. Red Sox fans are much meaner to Yankee fans than Yankee fans are to Red Sox fans."
Ashley Reid and Seth Mazock, Sox fans doubling as business students at Carnegie Mellon University, agreed.
They spoke for the TV cameras after making the nine-plus-hour drive from Pittsburgh, where they had attended a 10:30 a.m. class.
"People have been fairly cordial," said Mazock. "We'll see what happens once we get upstairs."
Reid, decked out in a white sweatshirt with red lettering spelling out the word "Believe," said she was enjoying her time at the Stadium but looking forward to heading back to Boston on Thursday.
"Fenway Park is the greatest place on earth," Reid said.
"And I'll be there for Game 2 of the World Series."
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.