Perhaps the fiercest rivalry in all of sports is that between the Yankees and the Red Sox. Players from these teams play extra hard when they face each other but what happened the other day in Boston crossed the line and deserves to be condemned.
Shelley Duncan of the Yankees signed an autograph for a ten year old Red Sox fan before Friday night’s game but, along with his signature, he wrote ” Red Sox suck!”. The young fan’s story and a photograph of his sad face made the Boston Herald under the headline ” Yankee’s prank strikes out”. Duncan was reportedly highly amused by the article and was quoted as saying “I don’t see what all the fuss is about”,
Though a Yankee fan, I didn’t find Duncan’s ” prank ” at all funny. It’s one thing for fans on Yankee message boards to refer to the Boston team as the “Red Sux” and to suggest to a Boston correspondent that ” your mother and your father were related”. I’m sure that Red Sox message boards contain similar pleasantries. I remember that fans on Laker message boards routinely used to refer to the Sacramento team as the “Sacramento Queens”. That’s okay. They’re all adults or , at least, they’re of age. But for Duncan to respond as he did to a 10 year old is really low class and beyond the pale. It’s no excuse to say that he is just a youngster himself; he should have known better. I hope that Yankee manager Joe Torre , a class act himself, takes Duncan aside and has a little chat with him as to how he should conduct himself in the future.
There is an old anecdote about how Joe DiMaggio used to have a friend purchase comics for him at the newstand. It seems he didn’t buy them himself because he felt it might tarnish the image of the Yankees. Things have certainly come a long way since then.