“Aren't the K-Men really descendants of the Royal Rooters?”
- Boston Magazine, April 2003

The Boston K-Men phenomenon began ten years ago, when Pedro Martinez joined the Red Sox.  At every home game that Pedro pitched between 1998 and 2004, the crew plastered K signs symbolizing his strikeouts on the back wall of the Fenway Park bleachers, working the crowd into a frenzy.

After Pedro left for New York, the red-faced K-Men first moved on to Curt Schilling’s and then Daisuke Matsuzaka’s penchant for punching out opponents.  But as Pedro left the confines of Fenway Park, so, too, did the back wall of the bleachers, stranding the K-Men without a K-surface.  Ever resilient, the K-Men migrated from the bleachers to baseball’s most famous perch, the Green Monster.

Red is dominant in the K-manic color scheme.  Red attire is required, as well as red face paint. Some who fear the lasting effects of a complete face-painting often opt for small K’s on their cheeks.  The K-Men condone this practice but consider it Junior Varsity.

Additionally, the K-Men are somewhat ritualistic.  No K sign may face the field before it is posted.  When an opposing batter has two strikes, the latter-day Royal Rooters rhythmically chant the name of the Red Sox pitcher on the mound.  Speed and accuracy are critical components in K-mania; once a batter is whiffed, the K card is immediately posted informing Red Sox Nation as to how the hitter went down, either swinging or looking, indicated by a forward K sign or a backward K sign, respectively.

Several K-Men deep, the crew records strikeouts each time the staff ace takes the mound at Fenway Park during the regular season, as well as on every Opening Day.  At playoff home games the K-Men ensure visiting teams are aware of the pressures of home field advantage.

While “The K-Men” is the organization’s “nom de guerre,” it is actually a bit of a misnomer.  The K-Men is an equal opportunity outfit, with representation from both women and children.

The first game the K-Men attended was on Sunday May 3, 1998, Pedro Martinez’s third home start with the Red Sox.  He struck out nine and the Sox beat the Rangers 2-1 in front of  28,000 fans.
The most K’s recorded by the crew in a single game is 17. The K-Men were on hand both times Pedro achieved this feat; first on the road at Yankee Stadium in 1999, and then at home against Tampa Bay in 2000.
There have been as few as three and as many as 145 K-Men dressed and painted during a game.

The K-Men have posted throughout three presidential terms.

The K-Men have posed for thousands of pictures with fans (note to Roger Clemens: they never charge).
Julio “The Hoo-ah! Guy” is not Dominican.  He is Bolivian.
The official face paint of  The K-Men is imported from Texas, a red state.
The K-Men decided to double laminate their signs following a melee with some Yankees fans in the Bronx when 10 K cards were ripped in half.  The K-Men suffered minor injuries in the clash.  The fearless K-Men returned to Yankee Stadium the next month, protected by several Dominican body guards.
The K-Men have traveled to AL East cities New York, Baltimore, Toronto and Tampa Bay, and as far as Minneapolis, Cleveland, Kansas City, Oakland, San Francisco and Denver.
The K-Men were originally called “Kerrigan’s K-Men” after Red Sox pitching coach Joe Kerrigan.  With the departure of Kerrigan they dropped the convenient alliteration.

The K-Men count off the strikeouts in Spanish, a long held tradition maintained from the Pedro era.

The K-Men are anti-wave and anti-Taliban.

 
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