When does football season start? Not soon enough.
Once the Bruins lost, the clock was reset to count down to the Patriots' opener since the Celtics don't begin for real until Sunday. When Bill Belichick traded up twice in Thursday's NFL draft and acquired some major defensive talent, the anticipation for New England at Tennessee on Sept. 9 hit warp speed. Does this mean the Patriots will finally be able to sack Eli Manning in the final two minutes? The Patriots allowed 13 unanswered points in the final 1:39 of their past two Super Bowls. Defense, defense, defense. Well done, Hoodie.
Belichick is working to perfect time-travel so Syracuse DE Chandler Jones and Alabama LB Dont'a Hightower can be placed on the active roster retroactive to Feb. 5.
In that framework, I came across this e-mail about "Football at Fenway." The slug-line triggered visions of Babe Parilli and Gino Cappelletti prancing around second base. Perhaps we'd get a throwback Boston Patriots-New York Titans game to honor Fenway's 100th?
The Citizens of Red Sox Nation and Sisters of Pinkhattia don't spend enough money watching the last-place Red Sox in person, quaffing $9 beers or snapping up $24.99 Adrian Gonzalez bobbleheads.
So the savvy folks at Fenway Sports Management announced last month they were bringing big-time "Futbol" to Beantown this summer. But the big news in the e-mail box was that, as a "valued Red Sox fan," I got invited to participate in the "Football at Fenway" pre-sale that starts Friday at 11 a.m. (Code: "FOOTBALL"). The great unwashed have to wait until Saturday to get their tickets. AS Roma vs. Liverpool FC. Actual athletes performing at Fenway Park - imagine. Tickets range from $20 to $120. Gametime is 6:30 p.m. on July 25. The riots start at 5. This friendly is a big deal for many, including LFC boss John Henry and Roma part-owner Kevin Garnett. A sure sellout. Have a great time. Inhale some pepper spray for me. Final score: 1-0.
Let me save some of you the trouble on this: "Soccer is the greatest sport ever, real or imagined. And those who don't think so should be corner-kicked in the crotch." At least that's what I've been told. Please thank me for passing along that pre-sale code before ripping me for daring to make snarky remarks about soccer.
Here's part of the e-mail pitch for this match on Fenway's historic pitch:
"The excellence, passion and tradition of top-flight European football returns to Fenway Park on July 25 at 6:30 p.m. ET as Liverpool Football Club, the most successful club in English football history, takes on Italian giant AS Roma. A rematch of the 1984 European Cup final, this is one of several premiere events being held during the Fenway Park's 100th anniversary celebration. During its storied history, Fenway Park has hosted some of the best in athletic competition and a match between Liverpool and Roma -- two of the world's most well-known and respected clubs -- is an appropriate way to showcase our ballpark to an international audience during the centennial."
What isn't an appropriate way to showcase the ballpark to these guys? Coming in August: The National Tractor Pull Championships. Who doesn't think of the 1984 European Cup final when the subject of Fenway Park's history is on the table? I still have the tape. Somehow, just because we're addicted to the Red Sox, we're supposed to put Liverpool FC pennants on dad's gravestone, wear Greg Biffle hats on Sundays and root for LeBron when he's not playing against the Celtics. What if you're a supporter of A.C. Milan ? Or A.J. Almendinger? Does that make you less of a Red Sox fan?
Can we get Carl Edwards and Charlie Moore as honorary captains? Check the seating chart, it's only fitting that the worst seats for soccer are also in upper-right field. Since the original "Fever Pitch" was about a soccer fan, the Roma and Liverpool partisans should feel right a home at Fenway.
For many of us, "Football at Fenway" is another reminder of what the Red Sox have become in the eyes of Fenway Sports Group - a not-so-co-equal branch of government. It's also the 19,343,445th example of ownership fan disconnect and cluelessness. Another boot in the AS Roma for frustrated baseball fans who are watching the $142 million "investment" into Carl Crawford go up in flames, the team stuck in last place despite four straight wins and the "Bobby Valentine Show" becoming a reality TV version that's part-"Springer," part-"Yo Gabba Gabba" and part-"Sopranos."
Back to the importance of soccer.
“This is our premier special event of the summer of Fenway’s 100th anniversary," Fenway Sports Management president Sam Kennedy told the Globe's Frank Dell’Apa.
You mean the special event isn't that four-game series against the Royals in August? I thought the "premier special event of the summer of Fenway's 100th anniversary" might actually have something to do with the Red Sox.
Not even Robert Kraft would dare say "Revolution," "special" and "Patriots" in the same sentence while trying to keep a straight face.
"Football at Fenway" offers beleaguered fans another distraction to take their eye off the only ball that matters on Yawkey Way.
Give the Red Sox another yellow card for that one. Thankfully, football season is on the way.
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