Fans in a Cambridge gin-joint

There’s a story out of Cambridge that you almost certainly haven’t yet got to read or hear about that sheds fascinating light on a number of the intriguing issues of our sporting times. It is all about a nasty brawl that began in a barroom and it is loaded with ramifications.

Ramifications having to do with the concept of being a fan. And the boundaries for expressing your allegiance to your team. And the values that the games preach. And the role of the media in walking that thin line that separates pandering to the community’s irrational love affair with the home-team and doing its job of reporting the news.

Actually, it’s a good news story and sooner or later the mainstream local media -- both print and broadcast -- may yet wake up to that fact. But as of this writing there has been nothing done on it save for a short, precise, and undisputed account in the Cambridge newspaper which, of course, is one of those suburban dailies that doesn’t count, if you are a mainstream media big-shot who reports to work in upscale Needham or on Morrissey Boulevard. But it is no less a helluva story. I was in the dodge 40 some years, working both sides of the fence, and I know one when I see one.

Moreover, it concerns the relationship of the Red Sox and the Yankees about which we can never get enough, according to said mainstream media, although it does not concern the teams themselves or the players. It’s the super wired, uber-fans that are at the core of this thing; the addled, misguided, somewhat delusional, get-a-lifers who compose the lunatic fringe of such silly, childish notions as “Red Sox Nation.” The problem is that the “lunatic fringe” grows in quantum leaps these days, threatening to become the conventional wisdom.

These are the facts as mainly reported by a certain Erin Smith, staff reporter for the Cambridge Chronicle, in its Monday, March 3edition.

In the early morning hours of Sunday, March 2, a 23-year-old Cambridge man was severely beaten and sent to a hospital after being pounced upon by four men professing to be Red Sox fans who objected to the victim wearing a Yankee’s baseball cap. The assault took place on a Mass Avenue sidewalk when the man and his girlfriend left a Central Square tavern after being harassed by what was described in the police report as ‘‘a large group’’ of ‘‘apparent diehard Red Sox fans.’’

The couple had left the bar after some bickering, seeking to avoid further confrontation. But at least four of the Red Sox fans -- all described as young, white males -- and a couple of their female friends followed the couple to the street. “Then the mob of Red Sox fans allegedly threw the victim to the ground and repeatedly kicked him,” Smith reports.

Most of the details came from the victim’s girlfriend who was described as ‘‘sobbing’’ as she gave her account to police. Smith writes, “The girlfriend and a couple of women who were with the suspects unsuccessfully tried to pull the Red Sox fans off the victim, according to police reports.” Said police report further asserts, “The Yankee’s fan was transported to the hospital at 1:41 a.m. for medical treatment for head injuries, including swelling over his entire face and several facial cuts.” The victim later told police he could only remember getting into an argument about his baseball cap, leaving the bar, and lying on the ground while the men repeatedly kicked him in the head. The suspects were said to have fled down Mass Ave, in the direction of Harvard.

So, that is what is known of the matter. A check with Cambridge PD a week later yielded little more. A lieutenant on the desk did allow that the entire business was ‘‘pretty dumb’’ while the victim definitely sustained a “badly broken” nose. But the department’s official media spokesman, Officer Frank Pasquarello, minimized the importance of the incident. He said there have been no arrests, and he believes the investigation -- if indeed there really ever was one -- is effectively over. He seemed to feel that what little had been made of the matter was more than was necessary and that did not seem to amuse him. He said there were no other extraneous factors, like issues of race, class or religion. It was just about baseball; only, baseball, he said.

He further pointed out that the bucket of blood emporium where the incident occurred is a tough gin-joint in a rough section of town that has quite a history for such horseplay. “We get people beaten up down there all the time and nobody gets excited about it,” he said. “It’s all about the alcohol; just some dopes in a bar.”

That did seem to me a little casual. Given the ferocity of the attack and the absurdity of the provocation, it should have been sufficient to arch the eyebrows of even the most hardened cop, I think. But I do understand where Officer Pasquarello and the Cambridge PD are coming from and I don’t entirely disagree with it. Policing the mean streets daily poses awesome predicaments and dilemmas. There are some real goons out there and they tend to be on the prowl late Saturday night and early Sunday morning. The antics of some punks in a rum-soaked dive can appear to be minor if you’ve got a dozen other calls coming in, some of them ringing with a life or death tenor. Everything is relative.

More to the point, this is not a law and order story. It is a baseball story. It is about the mindless passions of people who claim to love a mere game, but use it to work off hidden aggressions and appease demons they don’t have the wits to even begin to understand.

And it is a media story because in all of the endless nonsense that is written in this town about the glory of baseball and the intensity of the Red Sox-Yankees thing this story had particular meaning. It’s impossible to fathom how or why all of the region’s media heavyweights, both print and broadcast, vehemently chose to ignore it. Everyone went into the tank. There is no excuse for it.

Above all, get this straight. Please! It is not about Red Sox fans being jerks and Yankee fans being victims. Because the equation could have been flip-flopped in a heartbeat.

But consider this: If a fellow from Boston wearing a Red Sox hat had been chased out of a Times Square beer hall, knocked to the ground, and kicked repeatedly in the head by a pack of drunks loudly protesting their love of the Yankees to the point where the victim from Boston had to be hauled off to a hospital in a meat wagon while his girlfriend, who had struggled to help him, stood sobbing on the sidewalk sputtering to police who had better things to do and the story about all of this made it into print in a reputable New York newspaper, thus making the pertinent facts available, do you really think that the Boston Globe, alleged newspaper of record, and all of the region’s other mighty major media wannabe’s would have ignored it?

I don’t think so.

Memo to Red Sox Nation. And Yankee Nation. Etc., ad nauseam!

Enough, already. It has gone too far.

Nation
Retired Green Bay auxiliary bishop failed to report abuse, withdraws from ministry

Green Bay, Wis., Sep 20, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- Bishop Robert Morneau, Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Green Bay, has withdrawn from public ministry saying ...

Nation
Dolan 'impatient' waiting for apostolic visitation in response to McCarrick

New York City, N.Y., Sep 20, 2018 CNA.- The Archbishop of New York said Thursday that while he has confidence in the way Pope Francis is handling the ...

World
Two more Chilean bishops step down in wake of abuse crisis

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis accepted the resignations of two more Chilean bishops, bringing to seven the number of bishops who have stepped down ...

Local
Celebration of the Priesthood dinner raises over $1.8 million

BOSTON -- A record 1,700 people attended the 10th annual Celebration of the Priesthood dinner to raise funds for the Clergy Health and Retirement Trust ...

Local
Lawrence parish helps community cope with gas explosion aftermath

LAWRENCE -- Volunteers at St. Patrick Church's Cor Unum Meal Center were serving dinner when multiple natural gas explosions and fires broke out in homes ...

Local
Ceremony, Mass kick off St. Augustine Chapel bicentennial

SOUTH BOSTON -- St. Augustine Chapel and Cemetery began its year-long bicentennial celebration on the weekend of Sept. 14-16 with tours, special Masses, ...

Local
Mass. Knights install new officers

The Massachusetts State Council Knights of Columbus recently held its Installation of State Officers at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Canton with ...

Local
Deal will keep Sancta Maria Nursing Facility open

CAMBRIDGE -- Sancta Maria Nursing Facility announced Sept. 17 that it has negotiated a comprehensive operational contract with Advocate Healthcare Management ...

Local
From Cardinal Seán's blog

As I mentioned in my preface to last week's blog, this week and last, I have been in Rome for meetings related to the work of the Pontifical Commission ...

Nation
N.Y. Archdiocese names judge as independent reviewer on abuse protocols

NEW YORK (CNS) -- New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan has named a former federal judge to study archdiocesan policies and procedures with respect to sexual ...

Nation
U.S. reports poverty declines, but agencies finding needs remain great

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- The good news from the U.S. Census Bureau Sept. 12 was that the poverty rate dropped for the third straight year in 2017 and median ...

Nation
Class-action lawsuit filed against eight Pennsylvania dioceses

PITTSBURGH (CNS) -- A class-action lawsuit was filed Sept. 17 against eight Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania demanding the dioceses provide proof that ...

World
Apostolic visitor outlines plans for expansion at Medjugorje shrine

WARSAW, Poland (CNS) -- The Polish archbishop tasked with overseeing Bosnia-Herzegovina's Medjugorje shrine has outlined plans for expansion, including ...

World
Pope names administrator as Indian bishop investigated for alleged rape

MUMBAI, India (CNS) -- Pope Francis has accepted the request of an Indian bishop accused of raping a nun to be relieved of his duties during the investigation. In ...

World
In letters to German cardinal, retired pope defends way he stepped down

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Retired Pope Benedict XVI expressed his displeasure with the way a German cardinal publicly criticized his stepping down as pontiff, ...

Nation
Thousands of Hispanics expected in Texas for Encuentro summit

Fort Worth, Texas, Sep 20, 2018 CNA/EWTN News.- As many as 3,000 Catholics of Hispanic background are expected in Texas this week for the National V Encuentro, ...

Nation
Church plans third-party abuse reporting system, code of conduct

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pledging to "heal and protect with every bit of the strength God provides us," the U.S. bishops' Administrative Committee Sept. 19 ...

World
Be grateful to parents, never insult them, pope says

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Honoring mothers and fathers means being grateful for the gift of life and Christians should never insult anyone's parents, Pope ...

World
Canadian cardinal: Women should help screen, train priest applicants

Poznan, Poland, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- Increasing the role of women in screening and training priests is among the steps that should be taken to prevent future ...

World
Vatican delegation will travel to China this month to finalize agreement, Chinese newspaper reports

Beijing, China, Sep 18, 2018 CNA.- A newspaper tied to the Chinese Communist Party reported Tuesday that a delegation of Vatican officials will head to ...

World
Media reporting Vatican-China agreement could be signed in late September

HONG KONG (CNS) -- The long-awaited Sino-Vatican agreement on the nomination of bishops is expected to be signed in September, reported several media ...

World
Update: Irish singer Bono calls pope 'extraordinary man for extraordinary times'

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Bono, the lead singer of the Irish band U2, said he told Pope Francis that in Ireland "it looks as though the abusers are being ...

World
Cardinal Marx says mistakes were made, calls for change in German church

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, head of the German bishops' conference, admitted that mistakes were made in the German church's handling of sex abuse of minors ...

Nation
Church crisis response: Healing Masses, listening sessions, fasting

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In response to the sexual abuse crisis in the church, Catholics are praying for victims, talking about their frustration and anger, ...

Nation
Pope names Minnesota priest as auxiliary bishop of Hartford

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Pope Francis has appointed Father Juan M. Betancourt, a priest in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, as auxiliary bishop ...

World
Listening church: Pope gives new vision for Synod of Bishops

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Synod of Bishops increasingly should be a structure for listening to the Catholic faithful, demonstrating a local bishop's concern ...

Nation
Director of Courage releases letter on Penn. abuse report

Washington D.C., Sep 17, 2018 CNA.- Courage International, an apostolate to support people with same sex-attraction in leading chaste lives, has issued ...

Nation
Richmond bishop apologizes to victims; commits to opening, reviewing files

RICHMOND, Va. (CNS) -- In celebrating the Diocese of Richmond's first Mass of Atonement for victims of abuse Sept. 14, Bishop Barry C. Knestout apologized ...

Nation
Advocates decry historically low cap for refugee entry in 2019

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Advocates for refugee admissions into the United States decried what one statement called a historically low cap of 30,000 for fiscal ...