Hadfield: Mending fences with the Red Sox and lusting over the NFL

Fenway Park grounds crew
Boston has fallen back in love with baseball and MLB after some rocky years. Credit: Getty Images

Breakups are tough. You almost always hang on for too long. Maybe part of you feels guilty. Maybe you’re secretly hoping that, with time and a little compromise, you can recapture the magic that made the relationship so special in the first place. Who knows? Maybe it’s both. Relationships, though, almost never end well. In 2012, I went through a trying divorce with someone – rather, something – that was near and dear to me for over two decades: the Red Sox and MLB.

The reasons for strife in my fragmented relationship with baseball were no different than what causes divorce rates to reach new heights, year after year. I was sick of the personal investment (too many games that are too long), the lies (PEDs! PEDs!! PEDs!!!), and the lack of reciprocated appreciation (after all the horror stories that surfaced following the September collapse of 2011, followed by everything that transpired in the Bobby Valentine era, it became clear the last thing on the Sox’ minds were the fans).

I left the MLB behind and embraced the other three professional sports – most significantly, the NFL. At first, it was easy. Truthfully, even at the height of my MLB fandom, I’d never spend a July night watching nine innings of Padres-Phillies. But I have no problem signing up for a six-pack, nachos, and three hours of a Chargers-Eagles regular season game. Baseball season is just too taxing and diluted; football is one critical game a week.

Everything changed, however, this season. And no, this isn’t because of facial hair and the Red Sox resurgence. It’s because the sport of football consistently puts me, as a consumer and fan, in a compromising position with what happens, both on and off the field.

While, to a degree, this has always been the case, doesn’t it feel like the stories surrounding the NFL are more scandalous (and frightening) than ever? First, there was Aaron Hernandez (I know, I know – no need to go there).

Then, it was recently revealed that Von Miller’s hefty six-game suspension, levied in the preseason, is due to him successfully coaxing an NFL official to use their urine, as opposed to his, for a league-mandated drug test.

The season started and the stories only worsened. Two weeks ago, Aldon Smith was arrested for a DUI on a Friday (nothing new), then suited up to play against the Colts the following Sunday (fishy, but OK), and then ENTERED REHAB THE NEXT DAY (whaaaaatt??) because the 49ers didn’t think paying him to sit, when he was already headed to rehab, was the right thing to do.

Not enough? Throw in the gray areas. Week after week, fans and the media are asked to play The Moralist. We debate, waver, and take hard stances on controversial matters, even though, in reality, we don’t have the information to do so. For instance, should a reluctant Rob Gronkowski, who is recovering from multiple surgeries this offseason, play if he’s cleared by team doctors? Well, he reportedly looks great in practice! So, I guess so …?

Let’s consider something right in front of us that’s more cut and dry. Think back to the gruesome sight of an injured Aaron Dobson, rolling around on the ground, riving in pain, after his head snapped back following a head shot, in a way that no human’s head should. You and I both know, in the NFL, that showcase of visual horror is not an uncommon occurrence. And its possibility of happening crosses our mind every time helmet-to-helmet contact is made. The players are bigger, faster, stronger, and that’s making these types of injuries less of a trend, and more just a common by-product of the game.

Added together, it’s increasingly difficult to justify the cost at which the NFL operates as a sport. And to that point, what does the notion that this is entertaining in the first place say about us, not as fans, but as people?

Like most relationships, even after it was over, I spent plenty of time being mad at MLB and the Red Sox. And I was right to do so. But what worries me is that I’ve never felt bad, as I did watching Dobson’s helmet whiplash backward, about watching a baseball game, like I do a football game. I hope I’ll look back and be wrong about that feeling.

Follow Ryan Hadfield on Twitter @Hadfield__


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Memorial held for Sean Collier, MIT police officer…

More than 1,600 people gathered at MIT on Friday for a memorial service for Sean Collier, the police officer shot to death a year ago in the aftermath of the…

National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox defeat Orioles, 4-2

Brock Holt the difference in the Red Sox' win

NHL

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump…

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump Bruins in Game 1

MLB

MLB video highlights: Orioles top Red Sox, 8-4…

John Lackey roughed up for second straight outing

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox score two in…

Lester shines in Red Sox win over White Sox

Parenting

How to parent without gender stereotypes in a…

Christia Spears Brown, Phd. author of "Parenting beyond Pink & Blue" gives advice on raising kids free of gender stereotypes.

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.