Running Into Sox Fans … Everywhere!

It happens all the time. Someone spots the distinctive “B”—it’s red, outlined in white—on my navy blue baseball cap and blurts out, “Hey! Go Sox!” And the next thing you know, I’m talking baseball with another Boston Red Sox fan. It happens everywhere. I’ve been greeted (or done the greeting) all over the U.S. and, for that matter, all over the world.
There’s no doubt it’s a phenomenon unique to the Red Sox. I really don’t think it happens a fraction as much to, let’s say, fans of the Oakland A’s or the Atlanta Braves. You may see someone wearing a cap or a T-shirt with the logos of another team, but most of the time they don’t greet each other and stop and have a conversation. I’ll admit I do see guys wearing Yankee caps or shirts, but they’re not friendly. They’re New Yorkers, after all. They don’t stop and greet each other the way Red Sox fans do.
As a matter of fact, it happened just the other night in a local restaurant here on Maui. And a year or so ago, I had taken a visiting friend up to the rim of the Haleakala volcano crater here on Maui and, while he was rummaging through the items for sale at the visitor center, I spotted a guy wearing a Red Sox cap. Turned out he was not only a Sox fan, but a graduate of the same boys school I attended many years ago. We chatted for probably ten minutes.
Three years ago, I spotted a Red Sox cap on a kid about 9 or 10 who was sitting with his parents in the railway station in St. Petersburg, Russia. I walked over, tapped him on the shoulder, and said, “Who’s your favorite Sox player?” Typical Sox fan, the kid never missed a beat. “Pedroia,” he said, “because he’s a little guy like me.”
The weirdest example occurred probably 20 years ago in the town of Pecs in southern Hungary. We were heading for the town’s big open-air market when I spotted a Skoda, Eastern Europe’s equivalent to the Volkswagen, parked at the curb. Most of the rear window was filled with a huge decal displaying a big Red Sox “B” and the legend …

1985 American League Champions

While my wife wandered through the booths and kiosks, I hung around the car for 10-15 minutes hoping the Skoda’s owner would show up, but he never did. As we were walking back to our hotel, I marveled aloud at finding a big Red Sox fan in a far corner of the world that was, at that time, still behind the Iron Curtain and in the Russian sphere of influence.
“Red Sox fans are everywhere,” I enthused.
“Yeah,” said my wife. “Like fleas.”