On Wednesday, the Boston Globe published a report about a group of Red Sox fans from outside of Boston who came into possession of an “AL East Champions” after it fell off a truck. The banner was headed to Fenway Park to be displayed after the Sox clinched the AL East — which they’re win against the Yankees from doing — but apparently fell off a truck.
Now, the fans are holding the banner hostage until the Red Sox give them tickets, money, or both. Here are some thoughts I have about this story.
Update: The fans returned the banner for … nothing. Not tickets, not money. Nothing.
There are also allegations of the banner being straight up stolen rather than simply found on the highway with the owner of Flagraphics (the company that made the banner), saying “We already have a new banner made” and that he didn’t know whether it “fell off the truck, or if it walked off the truck. . . . I’ve been doing work for the Boston Red Sox since 1992. Nothing ever happened like this.”
The fans ardently deny this and also say they were never out for money and that they always wanted to return it. After saying on the record that they wanted money from the team. Which makes this even funnier. Anyway, my thoughts below stand. But the banner is safe and sound at Fenway.
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1. The people who have the banner are from Malden, MA which makes this story amazing from the jump. There has never been a time in Malden when “it fell off a truck” was actually true so props to these two incredible townies for making that phrase seem legitimate for once.
2. This is definitely the best thing that’s fallen off a truck in Somerville. Don’t even have to factcheck that one.
3. How does a banner just “fall off a truck” so easily? You’d think a time sensitive delivery to the Red Sox, you’d make sure it was pretty strapped down. They have a lot of banners, there’s been a lot of deliveries, maybe double check that a massive banner isn’t about to slip off the back somehow before you peel out of a 7 Eleven parking lot.
4. The way they actually got the banner is incredible. Crossing over lanes of traffic, in their words running “through [expletive], like, three cars,” and then getting it into the trunk on the side of a highway without getting killed is an achievement in itself.
5. They didn’t just do an interview with the Globe, they full on made a ransom video. I won’t transcribe the whole thing because you absolutely have to watch it for yourself, really immerse yourself in the accents and the vibe of what’s happening here.
But any video that starts with “Now we have our cawfee, weh drivin’ on McGrath HIghway in Somahville, and we noticed a coupla cahs swingin’ … movin’ to the right an’ we seen something in tha street …” promises guaranteed Boston gold and it does not disappoint.
6. These guys had no clue what they were even risking their lives for, which is extremely Malden behavior. Hey, is that a massive thing in the middle of a busy highway? Yeah. Do we know what it is? Definitely not. Could just be recycling or some random manufacturing materials that we wouldn’t know what to do with. Should we get it anyway? Absolutely, yes. Go run across traffic so we can get it into the car.
7. It’s ballsy to ask for something in return in the first place, but reasonable seeing as teams trade stuff for like a player’s first MLB home run and whatnot. This is a massive banner that they kind of need so it’s not really the asking that’s amazing. It’s what they’re asking for.
These guys are shooting for the stars. Playoff tickets. Straight up cash. And they want things that are equal in value to the banner, waiting to see what it’s worth to the team before they accept a trade. What legends.
8. The Red Sox should absolutely just print another one. The team is in New York right now and then away at Cleveland, so they’re not planning on hanging it until at the earliest Monday, when the team is home against Baltimore. It’s the vendor’s fault for losing it in the first place so they’d probably get the cost of a rush job waived. There’s no reason for the team to engage with these guys, really.
9. The Red Sox should not print another one. I want to see where these ransom discussions go. They’ve already been in touch with the bannernappers so there’s already a dialogue.
10. One of the guys’ names is “Louie Iacuzzi.” If Louie Iacuzzi from Malden was the character in a Dennis Lehane novel it would feel too cliché and his editor would ask him to maybe tone it down a little.
11. They claim they have “connections” that they could resell it too which is definitely not true, but absolutely something a pair of guys from Malden would say when they’re drunk at the pub, there’s a camera pointing at them, or both. “Yah I know a fence, don’ ask me how I know a fence I jus’ do okay? He’s my guy, weh’ve done business befawh awlright?”
12. There is no more “couple of Boston guys” a picture than this. Put it in the Smithsonian as a representation of Boston values.
13. If the Red Sox do reprint the banner and just use that one, they’re threatening to show up at Fenway (excuse me, FENWAY PAHK) with this real one and expose the team for using a replacement banner. This is now all I want to happen in the whole world.
I want four camera crews and a police presence following them and the banner to Lansdowne Street and for it to be a whole ordeal that involves one of them yelling “We gawt yawh bannah! That’s nawt the real bannah! Cawm get the original and give us awr tickets you cowahds!”
14. They take such care of the banner in this video. Folding it up gently, rolling it back to its original state. It’s heartwarming, truly. Some real “We won’t hurt the bannah as lawng as you give us what we want” behavior and I respect the hell out of it.
15. The combination of the two guys wearing a flannel and a T-shirt with a mouse trap of money on it could not be more perfect for this occasion. You’re about to be in a video for the Boston Globe, what in the world else would you wear? I bet at least one of them changed out of a Celtics jersey they were wearing anything under right before the camera rolled.
16. Everything about this is Boston to the core so it’s definitely not fake, but at the same time if you told me this was a stealth pilot for a Boston version of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia I would absolutely believe you, no questions asked.
17. Both guys make sure to say they truly love and care about the Red Sox multiple times in the video as if to reassure people they’re not doing this because they hate the Sox, which is amazing because at no point would anyone doubt that they were anything other than diehard Sox fans from Malden who are trying to cash in on the team being good. At no point.
18. These guys will never, ever, EVER, stop talking about this to anyone they meet. EVERRRRRRRR. You can count on that.