Red Sox fans (and most of everyone in baseball) calling the Yankees the “Evil Empire” isn’t new, nor is holding rivalry nights in which one side or the other gets creative with how they portray the other team. But the Pawtucket Red Sox, Boston’s Triple-A affiliate in Rhode Island, are having a lot of fun with their just-announced “Evil Empire Weekend.”
The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, the Yankees’ Triple-A affiliate from Pennsylvania, are visiting Pawtucket the first weekend in May and the PawSox are going above and beyond in ribbing Yankees fans this series.
They’ve set some parameters for the weekend, namely when it comes to, well ... names. As their release lays out,
To start, any fans named Joe or Kelly will be admitted for free to that weekend’s games, while any fans self-identifying as Tylers or Austins will be banned from the premises. In addition, fans who confess to being named Aaron, Gary, Aroldis, Didi, CC, Jacoby, Masahiro, Giancarlo (or Mike) will be charged double the price of a regular ticket. All Yankee fans will, of course, be warmly welcomed.
Do you know how many Joes and Kellys there are in New England that could go to this game? That’s a lot of potential free tickets.
The “confess to being named” clause might be the best line in the release if only because you can picture a bunch of friends named Aaron and Mike whispering to each other in line “Do you really think they’ll ban us? No, right? I’m going to tell them my real name to see what they do ... wait maybe not.” Just completely unsure of how much of a bit this is.
Obviously they’re not legally going to be able to restrict people from watching baseball because of names alone, which the final “all Yankees fans welcomed” line confirms. But there’s been enough “rivalry” weekends that play the Star Wars music and make fun of the Yankees in some way that adding an extra humorous twist is more than welcome.
Push the boundaries of rivalry weekends, PawSox. Break some discrimination laws based on names if you have to. Really commit to it, it’s way more fun that way.
There will also be a Yankees dunk tank, an anti-Yankees costume contest during the Saturday game, and highlights from the 2004 ALCS played on the big screen. All more normal rivalry events, but they really round out the anti-New York sentiment nicely.