Is Boston's Yankee Hatred on the Decline?

Image credit: kmillard92 via Flickr

The sale of Yankee-hating T-shirts and paraphernalia is in serious decline around Boston, according to the anecdotal evidence assembled by Darren Garrick in The Atlantic. Boston’s “strange new civility” stands in serious contrast to Yankees fans, who reportedly are purchasing lewd Boston-hating knick-knacks at quite healthy levels. Here’s Garrick:

[D]espite Boston’s hard luck in recent years, anti-Yankees fervor seems to be waning. Outside Fenway Park, where you used to trip over three or four “Yankees Suck” bumper sticker vendors for every ticket scalper, guys like Chris Wrenn are a rarity.

Wrenn’s company, Sully’s Brand, is the last Yankee-hating commercial presence in Kenmore Square. While New York-bashing used to represent 100 percent of sales, he says it now accounts for less than five percent of his business.

We’d love it if there were actual market research on this kind of thing, but in the absence of it, we’ll have to take Garrick’s reporting at face value, and ask, why? Why, in a season so bad that Senate candidates are being asked whether the GM should be fired, why would the “Yankees Sucks” T-shirts sales take a hit? It seems like a sign, if nothing else, that the Sox are in a period of some serious introspection, self-loathing even. When you’re ranked last in your league, the New York Yankees aren’t the problem. You are. Garrick writes that one Yankee’s vendor is “reporting a steady demand for ‘ASSCLOWN,’ an unflattering caricature of floundering Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine that might sell just as well in Boston.” He’s probably right that these days, an anti-Valentine shirt would probably sell better than an anti-Yankees shirt.

On the other hand, why would the Yankees fans gleefully purchase more of the paraphernalia mocking a team that’s done a pretty terrible job earning anything but passing derision from its rival? As for why the Yankees are overly concerned with hating on us, we don’t have as easy an answer. Just the obvious one.