Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy optimistic fans may attend games in 2020
Could Red Sox Nation make an appearance at Fenway in 2020?
It was just days ago that negotiations halted and MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred had to step in to force the 2020 season. As poorly as he handled the negotiations in previous months he was able to get both the MLB and MLBPA to agree to terms to get the season in motion. After months of waiting, we’ll finally get some Red Sox baseball this year.
Late on Wednesday evening Red Sox President and CEO Sam Kennedy and CBO Chaim Bloom held a conference call to discuss the upcoming campaign. One of the topics that came across the board was the inclusion of fans at Fenway Park this year. Obviously, the sound of that should make your head hurt but it’s a topic that has been popular since the deal was reached on Wednesday evening.
Despite COVID numbers in Massachusetts becoming a bit more reasonable, the country as a whole is still struggling massively with the pandemic. States like Texas and Florida are halting their reopening plans and are actually shutting things back down. The US is still fighting but isn’t picking up any rounds on the judges’ scorecards as far as controlling the outbreak is concerned.
So how in the hell can we expect fans back at Fenway this summer? It’s a great idea and seems more like a wish than anything at this point, I just can’t see it happening.
"“We are hopeful to have fans at some point,” Kennedy said. “We need fans at Fenway Park. Our fans give us a competitive advantage. I can tell you there are clubs around Major League Baseball that are anticipating having fans in their ballparks. It’s an incredibly important part of our business and an incredibly important part of our baseball operation, so we would like to get to that point.”"
Again, that’s a great hope to have but I just don’t know how we get to that point in such a short amount of time. If the country couldn’t get COVID under control in the past 4-5 months I just don’t see it magically happening within the next 60 days.
Kennedy was honest that he was more so projecting his hopes for 2020 but is also fully realistic that we likely won’t have fans at the ballpark this year. Hell, I don’t honestly know if fans will be allowed at Fenway even in 2021, definitely not to full capacity. Governor Charlie Baker and Mayor Marty Walsh have been incredibly responsible with their reopening plans and I doubt they’re going to waiver from them now.
"“It’s probably a little bit of me personally projecting my own hope that fans will be back at Fenway Park. I anticipate it being extremely odd, when we get back, playing Major League Baseball games in front of no fans.”"
The Red Sox need to make waves quickly in 2020
To put things into perspective, I was supposed to be at Fenway this weekend to see the Red Sox take on the Cardinals. Safe to say, I won’t be making my way to Beantown anytime soon. Alright, I need a minute to work through my Red Sox withdrawal. Ok, I’m good. Let’s get back to what we’re here for, baseball at Fenway Park!
As we all know this team is going to look quite a bit different than what we’ve seen in the past few years. Key departures of Mookie Betts and David Price factor into those that departed ahead of 2019, not to forget Chris Sale and his offseason Tommy John. Though the key group of players is still there from the 2018 World Series squad, things are still going to be fresh and a bit weird.
"“There will be no fans in Fenway Park in July, there will be no fans in Fenway Park in August,” Walsh said. “We won’t even be near a situation where there’s herd immunity, and there certainly won’t be a vaccine.”"
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In the past few weeks, I’ve taken a look at what the starting rotation and lineup will look like for Opening Day, and I’m not as worried. It’s not like we have a fresh squad of prospects getting called up or a group of unfamiliar players taking the field. The core of the team that brought us our fourth championship since 2004 will be taking the field in 2020. The pitching has gotten worse with the losses of Sale and Price but the offense will still be there. If we can get just a bit more from the starting rotation and bullpen, then there’s a good chance we see the Sox in the postseason.
This season will be like something we’ve never seen before, and a campaign we’re likely to never forget. With just 60 games to make something happen, Boston can’t afford to get off to a cold start as they did in 2019. If they’re going to make it back to the big stage when the lights are the brightest, then we need to see as close to a 2018 performance as possible. With every team in the league having this curveball thrown at them, this could be big for the Red Sox.