Monday, March 8, 2010

Golden Boy: Fan Frustration

In the past, I've had readers ask me multiple times why I "hated" Jacoby Ellsbury and his fans, and I want to clear the air.

Before I get too far into this, let me say one thing: I think that Jacoby Ellsbury is a fantastically gifted athlete, and I'm very happy that he plays for the Boston Red Sox. That said, I think the level of devotion he is shown by portions of the fan base borders on excessive.

You might now be tempted to reference my obsessive love for a certain second baseman, and I would point to the numbers. Pedey is a superior player (thus far) to Ells, based on nearly every metric except stolen bases; Dustin has ROY and MVP awards, two All-Star selections, and a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger [and yes, I know these honors are relatively subjective].

I think what really gets under people's skin is that I call Ellsbury "Golden Boy," which is sort of a backhanded and sarcastic compliment, and that I refer to some of his fans as "fangirls" and "fanboys." Let me be clear: not all of Ellsbury's fans are what I would term "fangirls/boys," and I know for a fact that there are many of you out there who value him entirely (or at least mostly ;) ) for what he brings to the field.

However, there are far too many Ellsbury fans that value him solely for his looks, and I always seem to run into a large proportion of them [inevitably intoxicated and confused] when I go to Fenway Park. I've heard too much nonsense from people in #46 jerseys [and I take a vindictave pleasure in knowing they'll have to buy new #2 jerseys], including such gems as "Was that a touchdown?" "What quarter is it?" and the best from the shameful list "Is he, like, doing a, what's-it-called, no-hitter?" [The last was in the seventh PERFECT inning of Jon Lester dominance last June... Lester gave up a double on the next batter, and the girl didn't understand why the entire section was glaring at her.]

Last August John Canzano of did a feature on the nature of Ellsbury's fans, including the following snippet, which pretty much sums up my feelings on the subject:

Oh, there are Internet Web sites dedicated to Ellsbury's statistics, and his career highlights, and noting him as one of only three Native American players on MLB rosters. But also, there are Web sites frequented by obsessed female fans dedicated to speculation and criticism about who [girlfriend Kelsey] Hawkins is and what she's doing in Ellsbury's life. One site even researched her time in the Boston Marathon, which she ran for charity along with the Red Sox wives, and mocked it.

Wrote one message-board poster named Melanie: "Well, I would just like to say that I'm happy for Jacoby. However, I know deep down inside that he and I are meant to be together, and he'll wait for me until the time is right."

Oh. My. God. As much as I'd like to think that this woman is an aberration, I've seen enough of these sites to understand that though she is not in the majority, she is most definitely part of a strong and vocal minority.

I completely understand that Ellsbury is a good-looking man - it makes perfect sense that he would have admirers, and I further concede that this is not his fault. However, if he has so many fans [all loyal to the point of insanity], he doesn't need me to buy his shirt and be obsessed about him in general. I root for Ellsbury just as hard as I root for every member of the Red Sox, and I'll continue to do so, but if one more person spills their beer on me while craning their neck to catch a glimpse of his butt, I'm going to scream.

And for those of you that think I am judging you: look in the mirror. If you don't act like 'Melanie' up there, and you know what on-base percentage is, I'm definitely not belittling you; in fact, I applaud your ability to put up with the shenanigans around your favorite player. Just because you are an Ellsbury FAN does not make you a "fangirl/fanboy."


  1. It's kinda hypocritical to criticize us for commenting on Jacoby's cute butt when on Twitter we are sitting there talking about JD Drew's butt and oogling him like a piece of meat and is it you or someone else who says things like,"Don't throw at Pedey or I'll cut you?" You can't tell me that you solely watch the game because you're purely devoted to the sport and you don't notice an attractive man? I don't have a problem with the fanboys or fangirls,as you call them, because frankly, I don't let it bug me and how do you know that 'Melanie' doesn't know what an ops is? It's kind of generalizing and you're possibly making a very incorrect assumption.

  2. Let's be honest here, Dustin Pedroia is NOT attractive. But that's not the point. 'Melanie' might know what OPS is, but she's delusional bordering on stalkerish. It's not the oogling but the fact that it results in beer getting spilled on me that is upsetting. I apologize for again being unclear.

  3. Oh believe me, I dislike the 'pink hats' and 'fangirls' as much as the next person. Personally, I think he's a wicked asset to the team with his speed and skill. I am a Ellsbury fan, but you won't catch me dead in a pink hat with the number 46 (or 2) painted on my face in red glitter, wearing all sorts of bedazzled bling, screaming until others ears bleed. No thanks. I'll be watching the game (and if there so happens to be an attractive man, well...I'm not complaining!). I see where your coming from, thought. I have the same problem with a Joe Mauer 'fan'. Gets all googly-eyed over this guy and, truthfully, I don't think she even knows his number. I know what on base percentage is don't worry! Haha!

  4. Look, I'm going to confess I own a pink hat. Two actually and I'm not going to be ashamed. I didn't pick them because I'm a knitwhit or some pathetic Jacoby groupie. I picked them because I like the color and I thought they were cute. Perhaps rather then picking on fans about their allegences and who they like or why we like them we just choose to respect them? I mean we have bigger battles to fight. After all, we have a lot of games against the Yankees coming up and rather then spending time debating this with you I'd rather spend it coming up with new, and more insulting names, for Nick Swisher and Derek Jeter.

  5. I'm going to have to disagree. If I were to pick ballplayers to insult, Jeter and Swisher would be at the bottom of the list (I prefer to insult A*Rod and Joba exclusively)... Also, I've written before about how I HATE the term pink-hatter, because I feel it's derogatory toward women.