Monday, October 22, 2007

Why do we need a Bostonians Who are Not Red Sox or Baseball Fans Blog?

Why this blog?

Because some of us need support, too.
We abhor the worship of Big Money and idols that sports has become. We understand that quite simply, the team with the best players money can buy is usually the one that wins. We liked the '67 Sox, but are disgusted with what the game, like a lot of the music industry, has devolved into.
We believe that the environment, health care, education, global genocide and so many other problems could really benefit from the time and energy (and money!) expended by these buffoons who haven't actually played the game themselves in decades, decked out in $900 worth of Red Sox clothing, armed with $700 tickets and $10 junky hot dogs, with their cars parked at $50 lots.
We laugh at "player loyalty" when their idols jump ship for more millions in a flash, even to "rival" teams.
We are sick to death of reading and hearing about these managers and players like they created the Heavens and the Earth.
We feel that teachers, social workers, pediatric nurses, community organizers and first responders should be the ones being paid millions.
We actually become Yankees fans by default, even though we never pay attention to their own games. We love being in New York and other states where there is not a Red Sox cap to be seen.
Shall I go on? Please post and join in! Send this blog to other sites like!

Following is a saga of two letters on this topic I had published last year in the Globe and the Herald.

Here is my letter published August 23, 2006 in the Globe, following the delicious 5-game sweep at the hands of the Yankees last summer:

Maybe now that the lowest of the low has occurred for Red Sox fans, they might think long and hard about their obsessive devotion to the team and the game.

For years, I've bemoaned the fact that probably 90 percent of the people in Boston live and die for the Red Sox and worship their players and management like icons, while teachers, human services staff, health care providers, social workers and other admirable contributors to society barely make a living wage. I've decried the vast amounts of energy and time that go into watching, talking and reading about the Red Sox when there are so many, many critical problems facing our planet and its people, locally and globally.

But if their most sacred and beloved idols Pedro and Johnny jumping ship for more dough at a moment's notice didn't affect Red Sox Nation, when a spiralling cost of $300 and up for family tickets didn't affect Red Sox Nation, then I don't hold out much hope that these lofty aims will.

Instead, they'll ignore the fact that the team with the best players money can buy is the one that wins, they'll condemn anything that is less than a championship finish, and they'll begin waiting for next year.



Here is another letter of mine that was published in the Jan. 24 Herald. (I knew it was published when Jeremy of WZLX called me to be on the air - but my boyfriend, perhaps the only guy from the Northwest section of Boston who is not a sports fan, forbade me to do it, saying they would rip me apart - anyway, the show was on too early in the morning for me.)

Winning by losing

By Susie DavidsonLetter

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I’m sure I’m one of few Bostonians happy over the results of the Patriots [team stats]-Colts game (Jan. 22). I’m happy there was no post-victory rioting or needless deaths, and I’m happy that a haughty coach and legions of hubris-driven, swaggering fans have been humbled. Mostly, I’m glad to know that there will be free time available to these obsessed minions that will hopefully be used toward a more conscientious purpose in our world than sports obsession. Maybe they’ll even have time to check out the true heroes - health care and human services workers, teachers and the like - and worship them instead of billionaire, profit-driven megalomanagers and men who happen to know how to toss pigskin around.

- Susie Davidson, Brookline

Here is a response to my letter that was published in the Herald:

Pats’ Nation mourns

By Peter Robb

Letters Monday, January 29, 2007

Alan Lupo’s column really spoke to the disappointment in Patriots [team stats] Nation and helped put the game in perspective (“Be not grieving over the gridiron,” Jan. 24). Meanwhile an angry writer from Brookline misses the point. She pronounces that you cannot simultaneously cheer the home team and appreciate everyday heroes like teachers, firefighters, the police and nurses. That’s utter nonsense and reflects her worldview, if not her sense of superiority. We love our Patriots and we love our police, firefighters, nurses, teachers and soldiers. I invite her to attend the Patriots training camp in August. It’s fun and inspiring. Peter Robb, Holliston

Response sent Jan. 29:

My response to Mr. Robb:

With regard to Peter Robb's letter of Jan. 29, I never meant to imply that those who obsess about the Patriots and sports teams cannot or do not also appreciate teachers, first responders, health care and human services workers and their worthy ilk. My point was that these people barely make a living wage, while sports figures across the board rake in obscene salaries and are idolized to an incomparably greater extent (I have not heard about any cheering throngs in front of pediatric wards of late). It is not a "sense of superiority" but rather a concern for equality for these valuable workers in our society that is the motivation on my part. I never said that I was in their league, no pun intended, so I don't see how I can be labeled as feeling superior. Superiority, to me, is reflected in believing that only first-place finishes matter, predicting that "our" team will crush its opponents into ruin, pronouncing and creating attire stating that competing teams (that familiar four-letter word), and in other such braggadocio-flavored attitudes. Furthermore, I was not angry - I said repeatedly in my letter that I was very happy with the results. And sorry, but I can think of thousands of more worthwhile things to do with my time than attending a sports training camp. Susie Davidson, Brookline

Comments of a friend of mine which were sent to the Herald:


Me thinks the letter writer doth protest too much. How many parades has Mr. Robb attended for the teachers etc. and what stadium with what overdone amenities has been errected for the firefighters etc he claims equal allegiance to??? And why should playing a game like baseball, football, etc., no matter how well played, be valued the same as someone risking their lives to save others, let alone more valued. I do think that the writer has a point about training camp as inspiration. It inspires a bunch of kids to think education is unimportant because they might be able to earn millions playing sports. Oh yeh, inspiration to take steroids as well. A regular family event that training camp. Meanwhile: a Google search showed that this guy Peter Robb constantly writes letters and is himself an angry, right-wing crank. Figures! Here are a few of his gems: Office Politics
I was troubled to read in your winter issue that President Fogel surrendered his office in Waterman to Dr. Dean and Dan Rather. Does this mean UVM is leaning leftwards to back the Dean campaign? Can Mrs. Clinton and Rev. Sharpton be far behind?If so, this gives a whole new meaning to “liberal” education.
Peter Robb ’82Holliston, Massachusetts Your interview with Maria Elena Letona ("First Person," August 20) highlights how big the problem of illegal immigration is. We have lost control of our borders, and the costs to our schools, hospitals, etc. are mounting. Studies show that supposed cheap foreign labor actually costs us tens of millions of dollars every year when you figure in services given out.
Graham welcome
By Peter Robb/ LettersFriday, November 3, 2006 Thank you, thank you for running the recent columns by Michael Graham in your paper (“Who’s the real flunky?” Nov. 1). He is whip-smart, funny and very engaging. His radio program is a must listen every day.
Peter Robb, Holliston

My friend Robyn Su found more letters from this nut:

Together, they canI am shocked, shocked to learn that Gov.-elect Patrick’s inaugural has been funded by “huge corporations and labor groups.” Iguess he really means all-inclusive (“Big Biz, labor fund party for Patrick,” Dec. 30). I’m afraid I will miss Deval’s coronation, I mean inauguration, with its huge TV screens set up on the Common and “platinum” guests cheering. Hold on citizens, we are in for some rough sledding. Makes me sentimental for the Romney years.
Peter Robb, Holliston

Thumb down, thumb upThe very issue you publish my letter suggesting that UVM is leaning toward the left, your primary story is about two student volunteers for Dean. What irony! Does this reflect your bias or are the majority of students Democrats? (Bill O’Reilly noted a study that showed over 90% of college professors vote Democrat. Hmmmm.)I was pleasantly surprised by the letter you published from Cpt. Lydia Battey, ’99 who is stationed over in Mosul, Iraq. We need more stories like this, frankly. But you left out her email address so that friends and alums can write her our thanks and support. Can you do that for all alums stationed overseas? Now that’s a real service you can provide.
Peter Robb ’82
Holliston, Massachusetts

This is a submission for an opinion piece or article.

741 words: Why I am happy about the Patriots loss
Susie Davidson
I received many emails and phone calls following the recent appearance of my letter in the Boston Herald applauding the Patriots’ recent loss to the Colts. (These included an invitation to appear on a major shock-jock show, the benefits of which I am still pondering.) Many were surprisingly supportive. Yes, I’ve hired a bodyguard.
I'm not against sports per se. I'm against the skyrocketing prices of tickets, parking, food and memorabilia, the obscene player salaries, and the misplaced idol worship among fans who expend untold time and energy on sports when there are innumerable, critical challenges facing the human race, both locally and globally. In these historically volatile times, I invariably see people only reading the sports page and nothing else.
No longer simple family entertainment or healthy outlet, sports has devolved into an obsession. And an unaffordable one. An article in the same day’s Herald decried new Boston College ticket and parking policies that literally price people out of attendance. Fans must now “donate” $5000 for preferred parking, and longtime season ticket holders, $1000 more per seat. Apparently, B.C.’s collaboration with Fenway Sports Group, formed by Red Sox executives, costs fans $894 per game.
There are myriad other ways to contribute to the economy that would actually make a difference to our world. $7 hot dogs only feed the profits of the stadium owner. But many fans will willingly cough up $3000 for a ticket, while they won't see a doctor or go back to school because of the costs.
Amid audible commercials, reports that Manny Ramirez makes $18,279,238. Curt Schilling? $13,000,000. J.D. Drew, $11,400.000. The team total: $120,100,524. Despite an NFL salary cap, FOX Sports lists Tom Brady’s salary as $15,654,180, Matt Light’s, $7,503,740, and Mike Vrabel’s, $6,850,660. Pediatric nurses, social workers, hospice staff, family farmers, teachers, first responders, soldiers - these are the people who should be making that type of money. Instead, Americans are starstruck, and idol worship of fat-cat, surly managers and uncooperative players is the unfortunate norm.
What about talent, you might ask. Shouldn’t it be rewarded? Unfortunately, talent is relative in this country, with the particular gifts of great writers and artists requiring too much study and reflection for most Americans. If people think they can't help the world anyway, you may posit, then why bother? Because any contribution is worthwhile.
Many widespread movements began with one idea - the PanMass Challenge, City Year, the many walks for hunger and diseases. Doesn’t this go on in most other arenas, such as music? Yes, the music industry has become a corporation as well. But its adherents are still somewhat specialized, whereas, sports has more power to engulf the average Joe, cutting across the entire age and social spectrum.
Don’t owners, managers and players contribute large sums to charitable efforts? Those who make the most money should give the most. It's an economic principle, or it should be. And it’s still disproportionate. Aren’t sports a panacea for current obesity concerns? Check out your nearest couch potato. Enough said. And while it’s vital that kids get exercise, when a middle-class family can't afford to take their kids to sporting events, something is wrong with the equation.
Isn’t the situation the same all over? Maybe the fans in other cities are just as bad, but I live here, so I don't want to hear the moronic rioting from my Brookline balcony, or be surrounded by the mass neurosis. Also, CNN reports that the Red Sox have the title of the most expensive average ticket price in Major League Baseball. The Patriots likewise command the highest ticket prices in the NFL, and while they are merely “up there” for salaries at 15th out of 32, says that 2007 may well be an uncapped year.
As a journalist and author, I’ve long tried to promote what I believe to be worthy. I wrote two books on the Holocaust and genocide awareness, and have penned numerous articles on environmental and social concerns. I’ve demonstrated, organized and committee-d. I have little hope that substituting diehard sports addiction and idol worship with far-reaching good works will fly, let alone do much to assuage dejected Patriots fans. For legions in Boston and elsewhere, nothing short of championship status will accomplish that. But if there is a shred of hope for change, as the late folksinger Phil Ochs said, “If I’ve got something to say, Sir, I’m gonna say it now.”

Susie Davidson, a published poet and author of “I Refused To Die: Stories of Local Holocaust Survivors and Soldiers who Liberated the Concentration Camps of World War II” and “Jewish Life in Germany Today,” has written extensively for several Boston weeklies and other local media.