Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Red Sox Fan in a Foreign Land [Part 2]

Back in 2008, an bitter Hank Steinbrenner took a shot at Red Sox Nation: "What a bunch of bullshit that is.  Go anywhere... and you won't see Red Sox hats and jackets, you'll see Yankee hats and jackets."  As much as I hate to say this, old Hank was right.  To a certain extent in Delhi, and to a much larger degree in Dakar, you see Yankees hats everywhere.

This wasn't completely unexpected, but I was curious as to why and how all of these people became Yankees fans (and why all of the people wearing Red Sox, Marlins, Cardinals, Mets, White Sox, A's, Braves, Rockies, and other hats came to have them).  Very few people here speak English or Spanish (French and Wolof are the official and most common languages), and to the best of my knowledge there has not been a single Senegalese Major Leaguer.

This man dd not understand why I wanted a photo with him. Then, he told me he loved me.
So when I had access to a translator for a class project (yes, I actually have to do work on this program), I decided to ask a few people.  Not a single one of the men I asked knew that the interlocked NY on their caps meant New York Yankees, all five of them thought it simply stood for New York, and, by extension, the United States.  The one man I asked with a Red Sox hat owned it because his surname started with a "B," so this phenomenon is hardly unique to the Yankees.

Some people wearing such hats wear them to look like American rap stars Jay-Z and 50 Cent, contemporaries of Senegalese cult-hero Akon, who was born in the US to Senegalese parents but spent his formative years in Dakar.  All in all, I would hazard a guess that 99% of the people in Dakar wearing MLB paraphernalia have no idea that it's a team logo, and they don't care.

However, that doesn't mean I don't get excited when I see a Boston hat (all the Yankees caps are enough to drive you insane).  Yesterday, we went to a wrestling match, and when one of the famous wrestler emerged from his car to cheers, a member of his entourage had a shiny, new, flat-brimmed Red Sox hat on (backwards, of course).  I immediately started jumping up and down in excitement (I was hardly alone - wrestling is a BIG DEAL here - people were literally fainting from excitement all over the stadium).

The sight of the Sox hat was enough to make my day, even though the match was anticlimactic (it actually ended in a tie) and I was rushed to the hospital late at night because I am apparently allergic to mangoes.  Hopefully, the Red Sox will soon start playing well enough for this kind of excitement to be justified... I think a series at Cleveland is JUST what the doctor ordered.

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