The verdict is in from Red Sox fans at Fenway Park: cheat on your wife if you must, but criticize the hometown at your peril.
Wade Boggs got the good news when he was introduced Monday before the Boston Red Sox home opener when fans gave him a rousing ovation despite nearly a year of publicity about his extramarital affair with Margo Adams.And ace pitcher Roger Clemens got the bad news a moment later when boos cascaded down from the Fenway granstand.
The reason was simple enough to those in the stands.
"Clemens dumped on the fans and Boggs didn't," said Ken Magrath, who was watching the action from an upper deck box seat. "You know what they say about Red Sox baseball: It's not life and death. It's more serious than that."
In the off-season, Clemens made some vague remarks about how he was unhappy in Boston, how the area did not afford the family atmosphere he valued in life and how he did not feel the team did enough to protect his family at the ballpark from rowdy fans.
For Boggs, the cheers were a welcome relief.
"It really meant the world to me," Boggs said after the Red Sox defeated the Cleveland Indians 5-2, sparked by two Boggs singles that began rallies. "I've been waiting all winter for this day . . . I didn't know what it was going to be like."
Not all the fans were ready to forgive Boggs, however.
"It's a sad commentary on the morality of our country," said John McCoy, attending his 35th consecutive Fenway opener.