Gloomy Fans Report the First Red Sox Win of the Year

(Or, A peak into the psyche of one of the most negative fan bases in the country)

This week’s Participatory News assignment is to report on breaking news via citizen media. Since I couldn’t be in Toronto for tonight’s Red Sox game, I decided to see if I could follow along via Twitter. This report was written entirely from the #redsox and #jays hashtags on Twitter, with occasional glances at theScore’s liveblog. I covered the event from the perspective of fans watching the game live and on TV, rather than relying on direct coverage like MLB.tv, TV, or radio. Almost, if not all, of the information here was attained by following social media. I censored most of the bad stuff, but the tweets below contain some sports fan humor.

With three losses already under their belt, a famously anxious fan base tuned into NESN for the Red Sox’s 4th game of the season.

Blue Jays fans came into the game equally depressed by their local sports teams’ fortunes.

Photo by https://twitter.com/#!/whisky_jean

The air inside Toronto’s Rogers Centre dome was chilly.

The game was Toronto’s sold-out home opener, giving the Jays the #domefieldadvantage.

The original start time of 7:07 PM was delayed for pre-game ceremonies, causing fans to focus instead on the facial hair and eyebrows of players and broadcasters alike.

https://twitter.com/#!/healeyonTweets/status/189490305668620289

Facial hair would remain a strong theme throughout the evening’s citizen commentary.

theScore’s liveblog established their comment policy early with some “unnecessary” “quotation marks:”
No obvious ‘trolling’ . Please avoid ‘team sucks’ ‘go team’ type comments. Put a little more ‘feeling’ into things and everything should sail along

The blog also censored discussion of non-MLB-approved audio streams of the game.

Beloved commentators Jerry Remy and Don Orsillo announced the game on NESN, while Jays fans tuned into SportsNet. Kids put off their homework , sons watched with their fathers, and fans from across the country watched on MLB.tv apps.

The Blue Jays came out in new throwback uniforms, to widespread acclaim.

The crowd’s spirits were high, as they made much more noise than is usually expected at the stadium.

Photo by https://twitter.com/#!/derekforeel

A few Red Sox players are booed during their introductions, and the stadium grows quiet for the Canadian national anthem.

24-year old Felix Doubront, the youngest player on the roster, threw the first pitch.

The first inning was uneventful for both teams. In the second, David “Papi” Ortiz hit a single through the shifted defense. The Jays worked Doubront’s up to 37 pitches, worrying fans with little faith in the Sox bullpen.

New Blue Jays arrival Colby Rasmus, already the talk of the town thanks to his wacky hair, followed up a web-gem defensive catch with a triple the next inning.

A NESN “Tour the Red Sox clubhouse” segment was mocked for including a watermelon, as many viewers made the connection to last year’s September collapse, blamed partially on non-starting pitchers eating fried chicken and drinking beer in the clubhouse while their teammates played.

Red Sox fans erupted online as Rasmus scored on a close play, with many claiming he never actually touched the plate.

A slow-motion replay over 20 minutes later proves these fans right.

The Blue Jays score again before the inning ends. The resulting conversation amongst the Red Sox fanbase is not happy:

April 9th, 8:29pm: Red Sox fans predict new manager Bobby Valentine will be fired by July.

https://twitter.com/#!/DanCrescenzo/status/189510260598390784

The goodwill extends to Sox owner John Henry, who recently married a woman half his age:

Someone else collected more Red Sox fan misery in a Storify.

Down 2-0 with 5 innings left to play, Sox fans continue the drama:

The Blue Jays fans’ feed, meanwhile, blows up with a tweet making a joke at the expense of two female fans wearing provocatively worded t-shirts. The image and user caption received well over 50 retweets and favorites:

A Ryan Sweeney ground-rule double re-energizes the Sox offense and the fans. Two runners are left stranded in scoring position, but not before a fight breaks out in the 100 section of the stands. A fan notes that these are more expensive seats than the upper 500s, where beer sales are limited.

Dustin Pedroia hits a solo homerun in the 6th, prompting a flood of tweets saying only “Laser show” (Pedroia hits hard line drives on a straight trajectory, even when they go over the outfield walls). Ethan points out that the tweets are referencing this press conference:

The link to the replay of the homerun is the only official MLB video content that emerges in the Twitter stream all game.

Tweets then slow down, on all fronts, heading into the 7th inning stretch. Baseball is a marathon. Martin Short is interviewed in his capacity as a judge for “Canada’s Got Talent!” It appears the broadcasters are well aware of these lulls in the game, and have already developed promotional content to fill the space.

We’re back, and all of the prior talk of David Ortiz’s significant offseason weight loss becomes relevant as he attempts to steal second, and is thrown out.

Sox fans revert to their earlier gloom.

https://twitter.com/#!/fdepace/status/189530782749040643

https://twitter.com/#!/xxojay/status/189531420933365760

A great defensive play by Adam Lind robs the Sox of a hit, but does trigger a wave of LINDSANITY jokes.

With no outs in the 8th, Pedroia hits a high pitch and doubles, then steals third on a passed ball. Adrian Gonzalez hits a sacrifice fly to bring in Ortiz and tie the game as I feverishly reload Tweetdeck. The Jays fans turn on their closer, Sergio Santos.

Kevin Youkilis gets out, going 0 for 12 in the game and drawing similar ire:

Ortiz walks

Ryan Sweeney singles and scores McDonald to put the Red Sox ahead. Sox fans know better than to celebrate, and instead request insurance runs.

The baseball gods comply, as a wild pitch from Santos allows Ross to score and give the Sox a 4-2 lead at the top of the 9th. One of the few safe-for-work Jays tweets:
https://twitter.com/#!/BoomerXXL/status/189537722808012802

Sox fans await the bottom of the ninth with guarded optimism.

Farrell is brought in to replace Santos.

Alfredo Aceves comes out for the Sox, with the fans behind him:

He throws 96 mph pitches. Sox fans laugh that Aceves’s ERA is no longer “infinite” or “computationally impossible.”

Jays fans turn dour.

Rally caps, towels, are employed.

Aceves makes the save and Sox fans rejoice, mainly tweeting the score, while Jays fans narrow the target of the implosion, mainly blaming Santos, and compare the loss to the Maple Leafs and other Toronto teams.
https://twitter.com/#!/AdelleTweets/status/189541381520359424

Findings:

  • There were more tweets from Sox fans, providing me more to write about from their perspective. I imagine this would pose a challenge if I was covering a battle rather than a baseball game.
  • It was fairly easy to tell if an individual was watching from home or at the stadium. Most of the non-televised content was provided by Jays fans present at the game.
  • The vast majority of citizen photos uploaded by mobile had Instagram-like filters applied.
  • A pet peeve of mine is to read a Storify and see a single tweet represented as the consensus of many. I’ve seen this with a number of activist Storify pages. As a result, I made the conscious effort to sample a single tweet only when there were several other tweets saying much the same thing (except on occasions where, for example, only one person saw an event take place). If curating others’ voices is part of the future of journalism, we should ask that the curators not distort those voices.
  • In The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-Events in America, Daniel Boorstin fears that television’s many advantages in covering live events will prevent anyone from showing up in person. He didn’t account for fights, lewd t-shirts, and people ejected for drunkeness, all of which were censored by TV cameras but excitedly talked about by event attendees.

More facial hair jokes:

Flickr Photos I couldn’t use because they weren’t Creative Commons licensed:

Future sportscaster uploads postgame commentary immediately following the game:


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