Red Sox: Expect the next two months to test both the fans and team
Fellow Red Sox fans are not the enemy!
Does being a Red Sox fan require a loyalty oath? Is there a Skull and Crossbones ceremony that takes place? A signature ring to set us apart? Must we genuflect at every move management makes? Are we subject to exclusion from all things Red Sox for expressing an opinion?
Critiquing the Red Sox is not a sign of disrespect, poor judgment, being a Yankee troll, or a miscreant like a chowderhead that heaved a baseball at Alex Verdugo or the reported racial epitaphs tossed at players. When you are a public enterprise, your moves are subject to review and debate in a public forum.
I have gone to shareholder’s meetings to express my opinions directly to senior management over corporate moves I consider appalling. With sports, views are exchanged on public forums on social media. Within that context, firestorms exist.
The most annoying is servitude to management decisions. They know best. They have access to information that we do not. Blind trust in every move – moves that can jeopardize the future of the team. That fans who have watched and played the game often for many decades are somehow incapable of a cognizant comment.
Red Sox fans and fans of all sports have an emotional attachment and a monetary attachment. Bluntly stated – we pay the freight. With the financial investment, we become a community of shareholders. Even if you avoid the stadiums, consider the games for simpletons, and have taken a pledge to ignore, you are still tenuously connected with a financial obligation. Somewhere a few of your pennies to advertisers is being filtered into the machine.
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Does management listen? Moves are often a response to conditions that impact the brand. The Red Sox brand has made John Henry and his investors exceedingly wealthy. They have also created product expectations. Winning at a high level is expected. Astute management pays attention to the media and the fans. Decisions can reflect a knee-jerk response.
Sox fans are certainly willing to pay, and that is demonstrated with attendance and the ever-present branding. Being the official whatever of the Red Sox is not cheap. A visit to Fenway Park can cost as much as a day at Disney World.
With criticism comes a level of responsibility. Vile rants, vindictiveness, and pure hate have no quarter in that. Keep those in the dark recesses of your mind. That said, let information flow. Let there be no boundaries for opinions other than good taste. Do not vilify a fellow fan for questioning the team’s operation.
The following two months will test the meddle of Red Sox Nation. The American League East is not a cakewalk division. The gap between teams will slowly condense. Keep it front and center; your fellow fans are not the enemy.