Is this Red Sox team worthy of emotional and financial investment?

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 26: A general view of the Fenway Park faced after the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays was postponed due to rain at Fenway Park on April 26, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 26: A general view of the Fenway Park faced after the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays was postponed due to rain at Fenway Park on April 26, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /

The Boston Red Sox will not be favorites for a World Series and that is justifiable, but they will start the season tabula rasa just as every other team will.

Just what is tabula rasa? My first exposure to the term was in the readings of English philosopher John Locke and its essentials are a clean slate. In baseball, when the season begins there is equality since no team has a record. As the month’s roll by that changes dramatically with some teams mired in the muck of well under .500 and others in jubilation as they are showing the stuff of potential champions. Just what will happen to the Red Sox slate?

Spring training will show a coalescence of the roster as positions and determined and pitching is formalized. Who starts? What are the bullpen roles? Injury updates. Promising farmhands. And insight into how manager Ron Roenicke will use his roster.

At this point my observations come down to a simple business arrangement – is this team worth the ticket money? Has the management provided the customer with a product worth the ticket price? For me, the answer is clearly no with both. There is little to generate enthusiasm and much – including a bizarre raise in ticket prices – to want to make a financial investment to back up the emotional one.

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I am first a baseball fan and second a Red Sox fan so that certainly plays into the formula. There will be other attractions on the billboard that could entice me to enter the Fenway Park shrine. But baseball can be had elsewhere at far more reasonable price from Triple-A down to a simple donation and going to a Cape Cod League game.

Back to a tabula rasa.

The hope of every spring is that despite the horrors of the first glance that somehow your team will gain traction and you will become energized. The slate is clean, but enough residue has collected in the spring or leftover from the previous season to not make the slate as pristine as possible.

As a baseball fan prodigy of the 1950s and 1960s that was waiting for Godot. Godot being a euphemism for success never arrived until 1967. This current collection has far more talent than most of the collections of bindlestiffs that took the field in those two formative decades.

The Red Sox need a quick start and not a repeat of 2019 when they tanked right out of the starting gate. They most certainly need a guiding light and the most notable possibility is now 3,000 miles away leaving it to what remains. There are two possibilities that I see on the field as potential catalysts.

The first is now firmly a seasoned veteran and that is Xander Bogaerts. Bogaerts is what is best termed as a silent leader who lets his skills set the tone. I doubt you will see Bogaerts rallying the forces with a verbal onslaught like either David Ortiz or Chris Sale. Not his personality or style. Then there is Rafael Devers.

Devers’ sudden explosion was one very shining moment or series of moments from 2019. Devers is worth the wait when he is due to take his cuts. Will Devers take it to the very next level where he becomes a triple crown candidate? Devers has that level of talent and if that happens, the team could coalesce around his season. A reverberation down through the lineup. Devers also presents himself well not wallowing in the previous at-bat or a sordid defensive play.

Back to reality.

Even in the dreary 1950s, Ted Williams could not lure a turnstile spinning fan base. Just Teddy Ballgame was not enough and the park would empty when TSW left the game. And the Red Sox did have some players with skills such as Jackie Jensen and Frank Malzone, but little else. I am attempting to vacate thoughts of this decade resembling the 1950s and this team being a facsimile of say the 1958 Red Sox.

A race for the pennant keeps up the fan base having a hope of success. The Wild Card has created a system that now allows the lesser to actually have a chance. The Red Sox are one of the teams that have to be considered the second echelon in the American League. And those that are considered the top-tier have quite a collection of holes from injuries to free agency losses. Sometimes the path to success is paved on the less fortunate.

Now that I have rambled on for several paragraphs, what it all melts down to is being a smart shopper. A smart shopper waits for the price to drop or for the product to be so desirable that the price becomes irrelevant. If the Red Sox want fannies in the seats and advertising revenue to be generated they need a fast start and with that a management willing to do what is necessary to keep the fan interest ball rolling.

I have mastered the art of finger-pointing and the finger is pointed directly at Red Sox management. The team has done little to provide a comfort zone for the dedicated and emotional fan base. The potential signing of Brock Holt dissipated with the addition of Jose Peraza. The rotation is a puzzle with several pieces not fitting and a few others with a series of question marks.

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This is a season that is showing a possible decline of the Red Sox into the middle of the American League East. Spring gives a tempo and so far it is one that is giving the appearance of being flat. To quote the famous philosopher Luke Skywalker, “I have a bad feeling about this.”