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 Oregonlive.com 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."