The Red Sox go about their duties in a businesslike manner (just ask Jonathan Van Every) while the Yankees shove pies in the faces of players after victories.
The approach of Red Sox players lately has diverged from the happy-go-lucky attitude Red Sox Nation grew to adore.
You had Kevin Millar‘s “Cowboy Up” slogan in 2003, with him doubling as the Rally Karaoke Guy. You had Johnny Damon‘s free-flowing locks leading the “Idiot” brigade in 2004, a group that (reportedly) did shots of Jack Daniels before exorcising the team’s demons once and for all against the Yankees in the ALCS.
Now, the Red Sox are populated by businesslike people who, while they may be sensational character guys, seem to approach the job more like, well, a job. You won’t see J.D. Drew and Marco Scutaro forming mosh pits anytime soon.
Oh, sure, there are fiery characters on the team. Catch Josh Beckett, Dustin Pedroia or Kevin Youkilis at the wrong time, and they’ll give you the ol’ stink eye, plus a few choice words.
And who can forget Jonathan Papelbon‘s Irish jig in 2007?
But there’s no question things have changed.
Even things are different for David Ortiz, who used to have a megawatt smile and send the clubhouse into hysterics. The last two years have been tremendously difficult for him, however. After losing close friend Manny Ramirez via trade, Ortiz has had to slog through slow starts in 2009 and 2010 and fended off steroid allegations last season. It ain’t easy being Big Papi these days.
It wasn’t so long ago that it was the Yankees being criticized for being too businesslike, which was true up until 2009, when a certain Nick Swisher joined the team. Swisher means to the Yankees what Millar once did to the Red Sox. As Swisher said early last season, “The first couple days I was here, it was a little stuffy, everybody was a little quiet, not talking too much. … I guess the Yankees were more known for having a corporate-type atmosphere.”
They certainly aren’t anymore now that Swisher and A.J. Burnett, advocate of the pie-in-the-face tradition, are around.
Even ESPN.com’s Bill Simmons noticed, saying how he doesn’t care for the fact that the Yankees have become likable, kryptonite to a Yankees hater such as Simmons.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox don’t seem to be having much fun these days.
While it’s true that winning makes the game fun and losing causes things to be scrutinized, it helps to have some characters to lighten the mood. Are the Red Sox missing that element?
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