Can I get a Red Sox work visa?
I have been a Red Sox fan for 27 years. My first vivid Sox memory is of Bucky bleeping Dent hitting the homerun over the green monster in the 1978 playoff game between the Sox and the Yankees. For about 25 years, I was able to share in my memories of Sox heartbreak with other Red Sox fans. And for 25 years, that's what we were, Red Sox fans - no passports or membership cards or opportunistic marketing campaigns needed.
Then about two years ago, every newspaper, every local broadcast, and every radio personality began referring to this "Red Sox Nation" like it was some kind of fully-vested new country with its own system of checks and balances, official embassies and diplomats and a treasury spitting out official "Big Papi" currency - legal tender at all local 7-11s.
The whole Red Sox nation thing has gotten so out of hand that there are now even the ritual acts of the nation - croaking along to bad Neil Diamond songs and Dirty Water, referring to NESN color analyst Jerry Remy as Remdawg, having to put up with the atonal wailings of the Dropkick Murphys. Apparently, there's even a new TV show, "Stories from Red Sox Nation" where teary-eyed oldtimers can reminisce about the times when grandpa's second cousin saw Dom Dimmagio at the local diner.
Lord knows, for the nine innings a night, 162 nights a year the local team is on the field, there are few things I enjoy more than giving them my undivided, or at least only partially divided, attention. The rest of the time - well, I'll let you keep the endless pregame shows, and postgame shows, and post-postgame shows, and whatever else the Sox brass wants to throw at the nation.