For many native Bostonians, being a fan of the Red Sox is not out of the ordinary. Countless people grow up watching the Sox on TV or hearing the games on the radio with family members and friends. Sports memorabilia, such a t-shirts and hats, are also quite common among all ages. However, since the team has won two World Series championships since 2004, their star has been rising among more and more people who have never given them a second thought before. It is because of these types of people that the prices of tickets have skyrocketed to around $100 or more per seat.
Now, you would think that these people who are willing to pay all this money to see Red Sox games would know a thing or two about the game of baseball. Think again. There is a new phenomenon that is sweeping the area known as Pink Hats. What is a pink hat? Fred "Toucher" Toettcher, who hosts his own sports radio show in Boston, says, "Pink hats are the people that have been driving the price up of games to astronomical prices. They don't really know what's going on at the game, yet they go anyway just to hang out with their friends and see and be seen.” Pink hats, usually women, go to Fenway Park just to sing “Sweet Caroline” during the eighth inning and get drunk with their friends. Why the name pink hat, you may ask? These women are almost always seen wearing a pink baseball cap or shirt, although, as many people know, you don’t have to wear a pink hat to be a pink hat!
A local radio station in Boston, 98.5 The Sports Hub, pays tribute to these girls each and every week by playing a game known as “Ask a Pink Hat.” They send one of their fellow reporters, Adolfo Gonzalez, to Red Sox games specifically to look for girls with pink hats on. He interviews them at the very end of the game, asking simple Red Sox and baseball trivia questions. These questions are answered with hilarious and sometimes perplexing responses, which they play on the radio for all to hear. The hosts of the show, Fred "Toucher" Toettcher and Rich Shertenlieb, love to make fun of the silly answers people give and even try to to guess what their answer will be. With each new game, they try to come up with an understanding of how people can sit there at a game for three or four hours and not have any idea of what’s going on, why these people don’t just go to a bar or karaoke lounge instead of spending so much money at a Red Sox game, and how they can pretend to be such die-hard fans of a game they simply know nothing about.
Want to find out if you speak pink hat? Most of the interviews involve seven or eight questions, including ones such as: why are you a Sox fan and who is your favorite player. Most contestants start off the interviews by saying they have been Red Sox fans for their whole lives, and were born and raised in Boston. When asked why they like to come to Fenway, there is an array of responses that all center around the same things: beer, hot dogs, the crowd, and singing the songs.
One woman from the July 12th interview had this to say about why being a Red Sox fan was so special: “It’s a tradition, it’s a huge part of Boston, it’s a huge part of who I am and how I was raised. I bring everyone with me, all my friends, and they all know- Red Sox, the only way to go. They all jumped on the bandwagon.” She then named “Big Papi” as her favorite player, and claimed he plays second base, when he is really the designated hitter. Another woman on June 2nd said Youkilis was her favorite player, and said he plays “second position,” when he is really a first baseman. Yet another woman on April 26th claimed Papelbon was her favorite player, and said he plays first base, when he is really the closing pitcher. To make matters worse, these girls are wearing the jerseys of their “favorite players,” and seem oblivious to what they actually do for the Red Sox!
Here are some other hilarious questions and answers:
What do you call the object that all players put on their non-throwing hand? “A bat.”
(Correct Answer: Glove)
What is a warning track? “Third base.”
(Correct Answer: Strip of dirt in front of the outfield wall)
What is the shape of the infield area? “Octagon or pentagon.”
(Correct Answer: Diamond)
Who is Jerry Remy? “Outfielder.”
(Correct Answer: He is the Red Sox announcer and former player)
What is the name of the location where the pitcher stands? “Home bound.”
(Correct Answer: Pitcher’s Mound)
What is the name of the person who decides whether a pitch is a ball or a strike? “The Emperor.”
(Correct Answer: The Umpire)
How did Jacoby Ellsbury do tonight? “Very good.”
(Correct Answer: Jacoby Ellsbury is injured and has not been playing)
What does RBI mean? “Right ball inning.”
(Correct Answer: Runs Batted In)
What is a pinch hitter? “Fourth inning.”
(Correct Answer: When a player gets off the bench to hit for someone else)
What team does Clay Buchholz play for? “The Yankees. Damn him.”
(Correct Answer: Buccholz plays for the Red Sox.)
What is a full count? “All the bases have to be full for a full count.”
(Correct Answer: When a batter has two strikes and three balls, it is a full count)
How many innings are there in a regulation game of baseball? “Two.”
(Correct Answer: Nine. Let me remind you this woman had just attended a game)
In the last 10 years, how many times have the Red Sox won the World Series? “Seven.”
(Correct Answer: Two, once in 2004 and again in 2007)
What position does Josh Beckett play? “Home run.”
(Correct Answer: Pitcher)
What player goes by the name Big Papi? “The big black guy.”
(Correct Answer: David Ortiz)
What do you call the big grassy area where the outfielders stand? “The green monster.”
(Correct Answer: the Outfield)
What team does Alex Rodriguez play for? “The Red Sox.”
(Correct Answer: The Yankees)
Who is the manager of the Red Sox? “David Absolute.”
(Correct Answer: Terry Francona)
Who is Terry Francona? “Third baseman.”
(Correct Answer: the Manager of the Red Sox)
What position does Victor Martinez play? “He plays a really good position for the Red Sox, I’m glad to have him here because he plays second base and I’m really happy and excited to have him here for Boston. I know his brother, actually.”
(Correct Answer: Starting Catcher)
…And the list goes on and on! As you can see from these answers provided by the pink hats of Fenway Park, people are paying lots of money to go to games they know nothing about. They don’t know much about the players on the Red Sox or anything about baseball itself. While it is fun to make fun of them, it also angers a lot of people that these women continue to go to games on a regular basis. Because while they may not know what the umpire does, who the fielders or pitchers are, who is actually on the team, or how many innings they just sat through, you can bet they all know the words to “Sweet Caroline” during the eighth inning!