By Abe Scherzer
Bennett Gavrish used to be a die-hard Red Sox fan. The 20-year-old journalism major at Boston University grew up cheering for the longtime losers, but he recently traded his allegiance to another team.
Wasn’t this the time to be a Red Sox fan given how the Sox have won two World Series Championships in the past four years and are again in contention for a playoff birth this season?
“All the bandwagon fans really annoyed me,” Gavrish says. “The ‘Red Sox Nation’ slogan, they tell you to buy a membership card to pay to prove you’re a fan. So I seceded from ‘Red Sox Nation’ and started to like the Rays last season.”
The Rays? Of all the teams to adopt, he picks a perennial doormat division rival that is perhaps the least beloved team in professional sports. A seemingly inexplicable move for a former Sox fanatic, but Gavrish’s friend Jeff Cohen, a fellow journalism major at BU, has a theory for why Gavrish made it.
“I think he did it as a joke,” Cohen says. “Knowing Bennett, I didn’t think he was actually serious rooting for a last place team. Now that the Rays are ahead of the Sox, I think he’s probably rooting for the Red Sox.”
Gavrish, though, stands firm behind his new team. “The Rays are a better story than the Sox,” he says contentedly.
Gavrish grew up in Derry, N.H. He describes it as a suburb of Boston, and his parents and older sister still live there. Gavrish’s father, Michael, isn’t ready to disown his son just yet.
“I still love him,” Gavrish’s father offers. “I’ve wondered if this is a re-thinking or a full-time commitment, but earlier this summer he said after graduating B.U. he wants to move to Tampa, so I guess I have to take him seriously.”
Gavrish’s father has his own explanation for Bennett’s switching favorite ball clubs.
“When the Red Sox started winning,” Michael says, “they were no loner the underdog. They were considered the favorite. I could understand where he was coming from.”
Listening to Gavrish talk about his new team, his brow furrowed intensely, it seems like he could go on for days.
“He says he didn’t cry when Mo Vaughn struck out when he was a kid,” Gavrish’s father says, recalling his son’s early emotional attachment to his former favorite club. “I can tell you, he did.”
Gavrish says he had an internship at a newspaper’s sports department where the staff was less than enthused with their work. “It was just four old fat sports writers that hate their jobs and hate sports,” Gavrish says.” My editor would watch “Law & Order” instead of the Red Sox because he was so sick of them.”
It is difficult to see Gavrish falling into the same trap. With his fervent following of sports and his willingness to change tastes in teams, should he become a sports writer, don’t expect him to get bored.