Baseball fans tend to root for local teams because it's usually easier to support a team that plays its games within a thirty-mile radius of their homes. It makes traveling to the games just that much easier! Fans also tend to root for players who look like them, which explains why I'm such a huge Andy Pettitte fan (c'mon! the similarity is uncanny!)
Pity the Latino Red Sox fans in and around the Hub in that case. After all, the team that won the World Series in 2004 is a notably lighter shade of pale four years later:
But (Felipe) Gomez, a 37-year-old native of the Dominican Republic, feels that the current team isn't the same as it was just a few years ago - or even a few months ago. With no Pedro Martínez and no Manny Ramírez, with Julio Lugo on the disabled list and possibly headed for the bench whenever he does return, Gomez and other Latino fans see a team that looks a lot less like them.
"We feel like we've lost something personal in our team," Gomez said recently, cutting hair at the Fernandez Barbershop in Jamaica Plain, where many Latino Sox players come to get haircuts. "It's a big community, the Latinos. It makes us feel proud to at least have representation."
Boston Globe writer Keith O'Brien brings up the ghost of racism past when he later mentions the fact that the Sox were the last MLB team to integrate, and then notes that African-American players are becoming harder and harder to find in the league. Still, he doesn't throw the Red Sox under the bus for the team's current makeup, and rightfully so. But I understand why the Latino fans are so sad, and they should be compensated by the Red Sox with a symbolic gesture, like signing this guy for the playoff roster.