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
National

Bloomberg: Going green will grant you longer life…

Former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg tells Metro that cities are where fighting global warming can make a difference, and increase people’s lifespan.

International

Ban Ki Moon: "Climate change is an issue…

My message to you is: make your voice heard and your actions count. Change is in the air. Solutions exist. The race is on. It’s time to lead.

Local

Earth Day New York food toolkits to help…

Hundreds of classrooms across New York City already have indoor container gardens that allow students to grow food right where they learn. But Earth Day…

Local

NYPD announces street closures for United Nations General…

The United Nations representatives are in town, and multiple city streets will be closed to traffic through Saturday, Sept. 26. The NYPD is urging those…

Television

10 Facts you won’t learn about Frankie Grande…

Frankie Grande is the worst and/or the best. Whether or not you're a fan, you'll want to know these facts about the polarizing player from "Big Brother 16."

Movies

Antoine Fuqua can kill someone with just a…

It's amazing what you can get done with the right tools. In designing the climactic battle in "the Equalizer," in which Denzel Washington's retired special…

Movies

Guess Ben Kingsley's worst filmmaking experience

Here's a fun game: Sir Ben Kingsley has made a lot of films since "Gandhi" in 1982, but at least one of them was a…

Books

Does Lena Dunham have any secrets left?

Get a sneak peek at her new book to determine if it’s worth the read.

NFL

Eli Manning finally feeling good in West Coast…

The Giants have very little time before their next game, but they still took a moment to relish the team’s biggest offensive outburst since Week 1 of 2013.

College

College football top 25 poll: Oregon, Alabama close…

College football top 25 poll: Oregon, Alabama close in on FSU

NFL

Jay Cutler takes Marc Trestman's coaching to heart

While Jay Cutler turned to an autobiography on the man who would be his head coach, Trestman had personal experience with the player.

NFL

Jets vs. Bears: 3 things to watch

Jets fans likely chalked up Monday's matchup with the Bears as a loss when the NFL schedule came out. But given their team's play so…

Wellbeing

Lacking new ideas, Apple Watch disappoints health experts

Technology pundits were quick to predict the demise of most fitness wristbands and smartwatches when the Apple Watch was announced. But health care professionals and…

Style

Sarah Doukas on social media, models and diversity

The maker of Kate Moss tells Metro how social media can drive the diversity change in the fashion industry.

Education

Here are this year's most creative college application…

The college application essay is one of the only times during the admissions process where a student can showcase his or her personality. While many…

Style

Nicola Formichetti on Diesel, the digital revolution and…

The artistic director of fashion label Diesel – and stylist for Lady Gaga – is creating human connection through social media.