Red Sox management fiddles while the team continues to burn
By Rick McNair
Bad news reportedly comes in three’s but the Boston Red Sox may have squared that with recent baseball crimes and management inactivity.
Where is the incentive to attend a game at Fenway Park? I can comprehend the idea of a pilgrimage from the hinterlands to see a relic of a bygone era. Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth played on the green turf and it is a must-see for baseball fans.
Fenway Park is now firmly entrenched as shrine status, a baseball Mecca or Luxor to which the faithful of the game of rounders must pay homage. A costly pilgrimage becomes a life’s mission on a baseball bucket list. The game becomes secondary as the experience outweighs all – Disney World for baseball adults and quite naturally if time an expense allows any offspring who can take their selfies as proof positive they were there. But the regulars? Why?
If you love baseball, Fenway Park may still be a must since a game or two as a tradition. Skip the mortgage payment, hit the equity line, sell a body part and get a ticket. But the give back is Red Sox fans are not suckers. We are spoiled – multiple championships do that – and we are intelligent enough to know when the product being sold is not up to our standards.
More from BoSox Injection
- Red Sox Nation deserves far more from Fenway Sports Group
- Bizarre trade deadline comes back to haunt Red Sox after Nathan Eovaldi departure
- Red Sox’ Moneyball-style offseason continues with Corey Kluber contract
- Rich Hill’s Red Sox departure puts him within striking distance of unique MLB record
- Red Sox offseason takes another nasty hit with Nathan Eovaldi departure
Red Sox fans have certain traits collectively that put their brethren in the other 29 venues to shame – we know the game. In the stands, moves are mulled about several innings before they take place. Managers in the bleachers and even the luxury boxes are often more perceptive managers than what is on the field and we let them know it – oh do we let them know it!
This same applies to the product on the field and how we evaluate players. A true dirt dog such as Trot Nixon will be revered for his blatant disrespect for personal physical harm by scurrying after every flyball – walls be damned! And Jason Varitek and his encounter with Alex Rodriguez is now legendary. Curt Schilling may have the trademarks of a pompous ass, but that bloody sock is historic. We know instinctively the 100% players and the 10% players. We want prime rib and not gruel.
A company knows that to sell a product you must make it attractive to consumers either by product stability or creating a need even where one may not exist. Apple has made a fortune on i-phones using that concept. The Red Sox have in the past with filling in roster potholes and showing a willingness to create an attractive product. What happened?
Management has done little to get the competitive juices flowing among the infatuated fan base this offseason. The focus has not been on the positive but the negative. The possible departures of a franchise player, the firing of the manager over his self-induced crimes, a new general manager, a sudden attraction to the bottom of the competitive barrel players, and sitting on the sidelines while other teams do what the Red Sox usually do.
The product certainly has attractive qualities and Rafael Devers may just become one of the very best to put on a Sox uniform. Chris Sale could be our latest facsimile of Pedro Martinez if his precious left arm remains healthy. The rest of the roster is sprinkled with players on the cusp of stardom or established, so maybe it is worth missing a car payment to go? I think not.
Red Sox fans expect more and Red Sox fans expect a baseball quid pro quo in regards to the New York Yankees and even the soon to be quite relevant Toronto Blue Jays. The driver’s seat has now been compromised and the Red Sox are fast becoming passengers in the American League East.
The ownership of the Red Sox has invested heavily in its product, but it has been a symbiotic relationship. We will pay a heavy price and that, in turn, has allowed the Red Sox to spin-off into a now multi-billion-dollar enterprise that encompasses other sports teams, a real estate empire, a newspaper, and NESN, along with branding everything from hospitals to furniture stores. Bluntly put – they owe us since we made the money express possible.
The fans that fuel all this are starting to raise flags that management should be aware of. Collectively I see a loss of faith in management – management that is consigned to mixed messages regarding team direction. We have done our part of the great bargain keeping the turnstiles moving and buying the snake oil branded as official whatever of the Boston Red Sox. But the bargain is a two-way street and all management has accomplished this season is to make it a one-way street that soon may be a dead-end.