Driving into Boston on Wednesday afternoon, then taking the packed-like-sardines T to Kenmore, you couldn’t help but feel the familiar buzz of a big game.
The only difference was that instead of the Red Sox, this time it was Liverpool (England) vs. AS Roma (Italy) in an exhibition soccer match. With interest in the Red Sox as low as it has been in the past decade, now seemed like the perfect time to stage another soccer game - truly the world’s favorite sport.
Two years ago, Celtic (Scotland) played Porto (Portugal) in the inaugural Football at Fenway. Red Sox owners John Henry and Tom Werner also own Liverpool hence why they came here. Roma is also owned by a Boston native.
Here are three observations about the night and the whole experience as yet again, the Red Sox owners took a loss with AS Roma prevailing 2-1.
The Monster still makes money in good times and bad
Even when the Red Sox are terrible, Henry & Werner are still making more money than you can ever imagine. If you think sports in the U.S. are over commercialized (and they are), take a look at a soccer jersey from many other countries: sponsor names are on the front instead of the team. Hopefully this doesn’t mean that the Red Sox text on the front of the jersey will turn into the Fenway Bricks or the Sweet Carolines anytime soon. Even more shameful, soccer clubs continually bilk money out of their fans as they are always designing new jerseys every couple seasons along with third and fourth “special” jerseys. Imagine if the Patriots changed uniforms every season or two, who could keep up?
Soccer is a melting pot sport
Walking around Lansdowne Street pre-game and on the subway, it was impossible not to note the major difference between a soccer crowd and a baseball crowd: much more diverse. If you’re at Fenway for a Red Sox game or at a Bruins game at the Garden, odds are it is whiter than Countryfest. Traveling abroad is the only way to really learn about and appreciate other cultures, but being around people that are different than you at a sporting event is a good start for Americans willing to grow.
Soccer crowds are by far the best of any professional sport
There is no place for racist or sexist chants but outside of those elements, soccer crowds never fail to impress when you witness a real live one. Clever chants, songs, banners and the familiar sound of anticipation, then sheer joy when their team scores a goal. Nothing beats that, it’s part of what makes soccer everywhere but the U.S. so great. Everyone is into it and knows what’s going on too, no pink hats needed. There are no jumbotrons, stupid mascots and endless jock jams on repeat either. Plus, you can never go wrong with WAGs (wives and girlfriends) a term coined by the British press to describe soccer players significant others that tend to be models, C-list actresses or untalented singers.