Home > Shamrock Rovers Programme General Articles, Travel > Let’s go Rovers, let’s go!

Let’s go Rovers, let’s go!

It was a Rovers wedding that caused me to miss a few games in August.  I know what you are thinking, what kind of Rovers fan organises their wedding during the season?  But congratulations to Rowan and Carly all the same!  Even though the wedding necessitated a trip across the Atlantic, the Ultras Forum and SRFC TV/Radio kept me up to date during the Drogheda and Cork games.  As always on holidays, I checked out the football schedule to see what games were on.  Real Madrid were concluding their pre-season with a trip to America but having already seen them in the confines of Tallaght I didn’t bother.  Both the New York Red Bulls (sister club no doubt to some Rovers’ fans favourite Austrian club!) and the New England Revolution were both on long road trips so there was no live ‘soccer’ on view but it gave me a chance to catch a couple of games of America’s national sport, Baseball.

It was an opportunity to check out the new home of the New York Yankees and to go and see what the biggest rivalry in baseball was all about with the Boston Red Sox in town to play the Yankees.  The Yankees are the Shamrock Rovers of baseball, being the most successful club in the county.  Also like Rovers, the New York Yankees are playing their first season in a new stadium on land given to them by their local authority.   The stadium was years in planning and was not without controversy but they did not have to ground share with the New York Mets or have to play a home game in Baltimore.  They simply built a new pall park in the Bronx across the road from their old ground.

The old stadium is still there across the road and the plan is for it to be knocked down and turned into a park for the community.  The new stadium has actually 5,000 less seats than the old one but its 52,000 seats spread over five tiers is very impressive.  It has all the requirements of a modern stadium with corporate areas, food and drink concessions, club museum, large media section and huge score board.  The Yankee fans have plenty of opportunities to visit the ground with the players playing even more games than Gary Twigg in a season with approximately 80 home games during the regular season.  There were plenty of Red Sox away fans dotted around the stadium on the night and they weren’t afraid to cheer on their team even sitting amongst the faithful Yankee fans.  It was almost a football style atmosphere with plenty of cheering, clapping and singing.  The most risqué song was probably the home fans chanting “Boston sucks” repeatedly so I’d only imagine what they would think of a Rovers v Bohs game.  A number of fans were ejected from the stadium for some heated discussions with rival fans but the copious amounts of beer drunk during the game probably didn’t help the situation.

And what of the game?  Well I won’t bore you with the ins and outs, strikes and balls but it was a very memorable game for one reason alone…the length.  Americans like a victory and don’t like draws so after the end of the regulation nine innings they go into extra innings if there is no winner.  Now this is fairly normal.  What was not normal was the clock ticking past midnight by the 12th inning and there was still no score.  We had a fourteenth inning stretch and still they played on.  It was the bottom of the 15th with two out when Yankee star third base man Alex Rodriguez hit a home run to win the game.  This sparked massive celebrations for the home fans that had remained till 00:45 to see a winner nearly six hours after the first pitch.  With Old Blue Eyes belting out “New York, New York” over the PA and fireworks in the night sky, the capacity crowd drifted happily out of the stadium.  Thankfully the subway runs later than the LUAS so we were all able to get home.

I took in another baseball game when I visited the oldest Major League Baseball ground when in Boston.  It was the Red Sox again this time taking on the Detroit Tigers.  Fenway Park is very old school and couldn’t be much more different than the new Yankee Stadium.  However, what it lacks in modernity it makes up for in character.  Its current capacity is 37,000 but in 1919 Eamon de Valera held a rally in front of 40,000 people in Fenway in his efforts to garner support for an Irish Republic.  The stadium has a massive lower tier around two thirds of the ground with a relatively small top tier.  From home plate the bleacher seats are on the right outfield and on the left the “monsta” as the locals call it or the 11m high green monster wall at left field.  It was the 624th consecutive sell out for the Red Sox on the night (that’s every game since May 2003) and the first couple of innings were missed while queuing up outside to pick up some return tickets.  The touts or scalpers were offering seats in the bleachers for $50 but with some patience seats behind home plate at the back of the first tier were bought for the same price to see a home win by eight runs to two.

Baseball has great traditions and even here in Ireland we would be aware of some of the big name players and the love Americans have for the game.  Films like The Natural, Major League, Field of Dreams, Eight Men out and Bull Durham provide a far better feel for the game and entertainment than the football films we’ve been subjected to over the years (“When Saturday comes” anyone?).  In American sports we would also be aware of evil club owners selling their home grounds against the will of the fans and moving the club to another location, that would never happen in Ireland!  A night out at the baseball is a great night out for everyone especially families.  The sound of the organ playing “Take me out to the ball game” and the peanuts and cracker jack being sold throughout the venue may be viewed as clichéd but that is what the night out a game is like.  Looking at the commercial set up you can see comparisons with Rovers but on a much larger scale.  For instance like the free scarves that Rovers handed out to fans at our game in Tolka Park last season, one of the games I went to was on a ‘T-Shirt Tuesday’.  So the first 10,000 fans in the gate that evening got a free T-Shirt outlining how you know you’re a fan of that team and I’ve reworked it below with a Rovers theme.  Now let’s play ball!

You know you’re a Rovers fan if…

  • You’re friends with Padraig on Facebook
  • You know how to pronounce Sives
  • ‘Hoops Scene’ is your favourite reading material
  • You’ve officially changed your address to Glenmalure Park
  • You wonder why people get off the Red LUAS line before Tallaght
  • You doodle SRFC during meetings or class
  • You know Rovers fans by their internet, not real, names

From Hoops Scene September 19 2009 (Shamrock Rovers v Bray Wandereres)

Hoops Scene winner of Programme of the Year for 2009

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