The children of this town grow up hating pinstripes the way their forbears loathed red coats. Boston's malice toward the New York Yankees as reborn in each generation.
Great-grandfathers tell of dastardly Harry Frazee who sold Babe Ruth to the Yanks. In the 57 years since the, the score in world titles is New York 20, Boston O.
Grandfathers, like Bosox clubhouse man Vince Orlando, will tell you straight that the blood feud "all started in 1938 when Jake Powell jumped Joe Cronin."
And fathers remember with bitterness the Ted Williams years from 1939 to 1960 when the best talent in Beantown history managed only one pennant.
So the circus of comedy and violence here Friday night was no aberration. When Mickey Rivers had to dodge a barrage of steel bolts thrown from the bleachers, old men in front of TV sets from Pavtucket to Holyoke, may have told their wives, "Glad that young boy's not hurt." But in their hearts many chuckled.
New major sports in America can offer a rivalry as drenched in Iore, as deeply felt in the anceatral bones and as long-running as the one that has its axis in Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium.
But the blood rises best in Fenway. New Yorkers simply mock the visiting Red Sox. Fans here truly despise the Yankees.
A seat in the Fens for a Yankee series may be the toughest regular-season ticket in sports, certainly in baseball.
The scalping on Yawkey Way, formerly Jersey Street, started eight hours before game time Friday. A child flagged passing cars at noon, offering, "Two behind third for a $50." When a policeman eyed him, the youth spread his hands and said, "Search me."
When the beardless businessmen finally struck a bargain, the lad took off his shoe, removed two tickets and left in a hurry.
The line down Landsdowne Street to Brookline was 5,000 people deep at 4:30 p.m. when 7,500 bleacher seats went on sale for the 7:30 game.
"We never say we have a sellout," said Bosox official Bill Crowley, "because of those game-day bleachers.
"If we say 'sellout,' the guy in Springfield may stay home and watch on TV and we won't fill the bleachers. If he thinks he has a prayer for the last grandstand ticket, he'll take the chance."
The result is a begger's banquet outside Fenway of people who have driven long distances and will do anything to avoid sitting in these bleachers that another Sox official calls "an ape house."
Since Fenway is old and crannied, the forms of assault are numerous and legendary. A young man climbing the left field fence by hand during the 1975 World Series fell and landed on another fan carrying two tickets.
The man on the bottom received a broken neck and his lawsuit against the Sox for not policing their wall is still in court.
Hardly a season goes by without a serious fall, either from the park's back walls or the Windsor Canadian Liquor sign across the street that overlooks the field.
"What can we do?" says veteran bleacher uslier Ken Miller. "You see a grapling hook come over the top in the right field corner and before you can get there, the guy has blended into the mob. It he wants in that bad . . ."
Others would rather skin their pride than break their necks. Crowley received a phone call Friday from "a guy who came on like gangbusters."
"I'm from the Tunston Times," bluffed the caller, "and I have to have press credentials."
"What the hell is the Tunston Times?" barked Crowley.
"It's in California and I've come 3,000 miles for this game," said the voice. "How do I get in to cover it?"
"The bleachers open at 4:30," snapped Crowley. "Get in line early."
Actually, many a top-notch story has been written from those bleachers. "When the Yanks come to town," says Crowley, "I even have to put the Harvard Crimson (paper) in the Bleachers. And they're better than plenty of guys I have to let in.
One press box visitor has Crowley stumped. "He claims he's from the Agence-France Presse and is filing dispatches to Cuba," graumbled Crowley. "I'm sure he's lying cause he only shows for the Yanks. Every year I make him send me documentation from all over the world.
"But somehow he gets it and he's now eating one of my steaks."
Nothing galls the Red Sox front office worse than free loaders they can't shake, whether they are surgeons, politicians or just gate-crashing geniuses.
"Anybody can wrap six cameras around his neck and say, 'Jeez, I lost my pass,' and try to fake his way through the gate," said Crowley. "But one guy has beaten me for 20 years.
"One year he has phony tickets from another team. The next it's credentials from a bat company. Somehow he even gets in our dressing room.
"Twice I've seen him standing on the sidelines behind a Super Bowl coach. He even got in the background of a Carling Beer commercial.
"So when I saw him in our locker room at the '75 World Series, I grab him by the neck. He turns around the darned if his credentials aren't issued and signed by Bowie Kuhn himself.
"He looked me in the eye and said, 'Whatdaya think of that, Irish.'"
Without doubt., the place where the red Sox-Yankee war is at is most raw is in those 7,500 bleacher seats that often seem to hold 9,000 people. The failed gate-crashers, the people up from New York who just have to get in, all end up there, whether they climb the wall or stand in line all afternoon.
"There's nothing like a Yank series," said usher Miller. "It's fantastic. We've had eight fights already and the game hasn't started. They've been working on the beer and pot for three hours.
"To be an usher out here, you go to enjoy it."
"We're a select group chosen to go out and break heads. We must be a little soft," laughed the burly usher, back with a beer bottle two weeks ago the last time the Yanks were in.
"But I nailed that guy the best punch I ever hit a fan with. We were all down wrestling in the aisle, me and Danny, the supervisor, and this gy about 6-foot-5. I got him in a headlock and hit him in the mouth as hard as I could.
"They get calm real quick with a few loose teeth."
Asked if he always treated his customers so firmly, Miller seemed shocked. "Hey, don't get me wrong," he said. "This guy was wearing a Yankee hat."