For fans of Major League Baseball, there is no more ferocious rivalry than exists between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.
These are two storied teams who’ve traded blows, players, and insults for decades upon decades. The Sox went a long time without a World Series win while the Yankees were racking them up, further fueling this heated, sometimes ugly baseball battle.
And while this rivalry was once fairly even as far as fan participation is concerned, the latest news out of the organization will likely see a mass exodus among fans of the team in Boston.
The former clubhouse manager, Donald “Fitzy” Fitzpatrick, pleaded guilty to criminal charges of attempted sexual battery in 2002, admitting that he used Red Sox team memorabilia to lure young, Black clubhouse workers into secluded areas of the team’s Florida spring training facility, where he abused them. Fitzpatrick did not admit to abusing young boys in other ballparks.
Since then, a growing number of men have stepped forward to allege that they, too, were abused by Fitzpatrick at Fenway Park and at major league stadiums in Baltimore and Kansas City, when the Red Sox were playing on the road. Because their claims date to the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, they are too old to be included in civil lawsuits, and the men say their requests for out-of-court settlements have fallen on deaf ears.
And it gets worse.
Gerald Armstrong, 65, said he believes the team knew that Fitzpatrick, who worked for the Red Sox for decades, was molesting youngsters hired as bat boys, ball boys, and club house attendants. “You can’t tell me that you can have 30 or 40 guys traveling around with him and observing his behavior and not know what he was doing,” Armstrong said.
Armstrong said that former Red Sox first baseman George Scott, known as the “Boomer,” frequently told him to “stay away from Fitzy.” Scott died seven years ago.
The news comes amid a renewed focus on the team’s unwillingness to integrate African Americans players in the 1950’s, having not signed their first black ballplayer until a decade after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier.
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