Last night I saw something very different from my fellow Red Sox fans at Fenway Park.
I wasn't there, but I wish I had been.
I was there back in 2005 with Edgar Renteria at the plate, and I hate to say it, but I made a different choice. I chose to be negative rather than encouraging.
Meanwhile, however, once the Renteria debacle was over, the Foulke debacle reared its ugly head. That's where I felt very differently about how fans chose to react to his struggles. Of course, they are very different players who played very different roles in our organization, but watching people heckle and lionize Foulke made me regret the Renteria-booing even more deeply.
Yet I'll admit, when it comes to Julio Lugo I've come down once again on the Renteria side. I can't say I would've shown him any different treatment if I'd been at the ballpark last night.
But someone there--at least one person--was able to keep their head better than anybody among the Fenway Faithful over the last few years. At least one person chose to be encouraging--at least one person decided to start a "Let's Go Lugo" chant, instead of going with a wide and tantalizing array of nastier alternatives.
I can't say that would've necessarily been me. I've been dogging him as hard as anybody, on this blog, in conversations, and I'll admit his history of domestic violence disputes has made it hard for me to warm to Julio personally.
But last night we saw what happens when one person decides to be positive rather than negative. When one person decides to reinforce and encourage rather than denigrate and heckle. Maybe Julio would've cleared the bases with that double anyway--maybe it was just his time to break out. But my romantic side is convinced that Julio heard the chant and relaxed, just a little, just enough to hang back on a pitch from Scott Kazmir so as to make the best contact.
I believe that these things have an effect. Watching Sox fans supporting Lugo made me all the more bitter that my Foulkie apparently wasn't entitled to the same treatment--but it's also a stinging reminder of how I personally acted toward Edgar Renteria. How many of us have acted toward many players over the years, and I'm now wondering, what might those players have done if we'd chosen to tell them "Let's Go" instead of "You Suck"?
Maybe it's the incessant revolving door at shortstop that has Sox fans fed up--if yet another guy is going to not work out here, they're at least going to make sure we've given him every chance.
So now, if this makes any sense, I'm jumping off the Julio Lugo hate-wagon and onto the Julio-Lugo tolerance-wagon. I'll never be his biggest fan, but I'm glad somebody at the ballpark last night was. I'm glad that cooler heads--at least for last night--prevailed. I'm glad that Boston fans showed forbearance last night. I'm glad those fans didn't do what I did two years ago.