BOSTON--Coco Crisp is headed to Boston, and he’s about to be thrust into one of the most storied rivalries in all of sports: the fabled Red Sox–media rivalry. The speedy outfielder says he is looking forward to being a part of the historic, decades-long blood feud.

“Whenever you think of Boston, you think about that rivalry,” said Crisp, who came to Boston as part of a seven player trade with the Cleveland Indians. “There is definitely a hatred between the Red Sox and the media. When they go head to head, it’s just electric. For me, I just have to keep my cool and not be intimidated. They’re just like any other reporters, except there’s more of them and they make shit up.”

Crisp has watched the rivalry for years, but he knows that experiencing it first hand will be a whole different story.

“It’s one thing to read about this stuff in the paper but it's another thing to be personally involved” he said. “It’s really an honor just to be a part of it. A lot of great players have hated the media over the years. Even Ted Williams didn’t get along with them. He verbally abused those guys on a daily basis. I guess they got the last laugh, though. His head is frozen in a jar.”

Many of Crisp’s new teammates are concerned that he’s not prepared to handle the grind of playing in Boston. The vicious rivalry with the media is taxing both mentally and physically, and requires a grit and determination that many ballplayers lack.

“It’s going to be quite an adjustment for Coco,” said veteran catcher Jason Varitek. “This isn’t like playing in Cleveland, where the writers just write. This is a whole new level. Our writers are tough, and they love to compete, too. I’m just happy they love me so much. I could jerk off on the pitcher’s mound and they’d still think I was a hero.”

It’s not just the players who are engaged in this bitter feud, however. The bad blood goes all the way up to the front office. The past few months have been particularly contentious, with the media blasting the Red Sox for their handling of the Johnny Damon negotiations and the Theo Epstein saga.

According to Red Sox owner John Henry, the rivalry is stronger than ever.

“Its definitely part of the culture here, and it has been for some time” said Henry. “The media just doesn’t trust us. They’re all a bunch of conspiracy theorists. I wish life in the Red Sox front office was as thrilling as they make it sound. I wish it was so full of suspense and intrigue and shady back room dealings. In reality, it’s actually pretty mundane. Today I got a new stapler. It’s pretty nice. Don’t tell the press though. They’ll probably think I’m lying.”

So far, the Boston media has been kind to Crisp. But what horrors await him next year, when the novelty wears off and he becomes just another player? None whatsoever, says the Boston Globe’s Bob Ryan.

“Coco’s not going to have a problem here in Boston,” he said. “This whole rivalry thing is overblown. The media always comes out on top. That’s not a rivalry. A hammer and a nail can’t have a rivalry, can they? See, no matter what happens, we’ll still be here. We’ve outlasted every player that’s ever hated us, except for Manny Ramirez, and he’s only staying because they’re forcing him to.”

Ryan also defended the media’s demand for answers in the Theo Epstein saga.

“Hey, we have a right to ask questions. It’s not our fault they’re so secretive. It’s not our fault that we keep having to citing ‘high ranking clubhouse officials’ because these pussies are too scared to go on the record. The other day I had to cite an anonymous source in a little blurb about how they were resodding the grass in the visitor’s bullpen. Oh, and it turns out they never ended up resodding it. Apparently there was an internal debate over whether or not to do it and in the end John Henry had to step in an veto the whole thing. I think from now on I’m going to stick to making things up.”




Copyright 2006, The Brushback - Do not reprint without permission.











Crisp Excited To Be Part Of Storied Rivalry Between Red Sox, Media

January 31 , 2006 - Volume 2 Issue 28