MLB costs the Red Sox 6 home games by delaying 2022 season
Boston Red Sox fans have had six home games stolen from them
We still have no idea when the 2022 regular season will begin but one thing we have learned is that Boston Red Sox fans will have fewer games at Fenway Park to look forward to.
Commissioner Rob Manfred has officially announced the cancellation of the first two series of the season.
The Red Sox were initially scheduled to open the season hosting the Tampa Bay Rays and the Baltimore Orioles for three-game sets to open the season. The delay will cost the team six home games, a potentially pivotal loss for a club expected to be in the thick of a tight race in the ultra-competitive AL East.
Boston was 49-32 at home last season, a home record that trailed only the Rays in their division. The Red Sox tied the New York Yankees for second place in the division, earning the top Wild Card spot by virtue of a tie-breaker, while the Toronto Blue Jays missed the postseason by finishing one game behind them.
While the Red Sox owned a winning record away from Fenway last season, their 43 road wins were only fourth-most in their division.
The Red Sox are at a competitive disadvantage with fewer home games than some of the teams they will be competing against for playoff positioning. Even if owners get their wish with an expanded playoff format, Boston may have a steeper challenge ahead of them in their quest to qualify for October.
Boston avoids a series with a Rays team that finished with the best record in the American League last year but they also miss out on an opportunity to beat up on the lowly Orioles. The inability to pad their record against Baltimore isn’t a fair tradeoff for cancelling a tough series with Tampa Bay in which they would have had the edge on their home field.
The Red Sox are now slated to open the season in the Bronx with a three-game series against the Yankees, followed by three games in Detroit. There’s a chance we’ll see old friend Eduardo Rodriguez in the finale of that Tigers series if he earns the Opening Day nod for his new team, lining up his next start for the sixth game of the season.
Boston would finally play their first home game on Friday, April 15 against the Minnesota Twins. The seven-game homestand would also see the Blue Jays come to town for three games.
This is all under the assumption that there won’t be any further delays to the season, which is hardly a given at this point. MLB extended their original February 28 deadline to 5:00 p.m. ET the following day but they weren’t willing to push the owner-imposed deadline any further before making the decision to cancel games.
While the sides made some progress in some areas over the last few days, their remains a sizable gap in several areas, most notably the competitive balance tax and the pool that the players want to use to increase salary for the top pre-arbitration eligible players.
The owners know they have the leverage in these negotiations and they aren’t afraid to abuse it. Several small market teams aren’t concerned about losing games early in the season when they typically struggle to fill the seats in their ballparks. Some teams haven’t lost any home games yet.
The Red Sox don’t fall into either category. Their passionate fans would fill Fenway even if it was freezing out in late-March or early April. Boston is losing six home games while many teams are losing only half of that, if any at all. While we’re obviously not concerned about how the loss of ticket sales will hurt John Henry’s wallet, Red Sox fans are deprived of six opportunities to see their team at the ballpark. Not everyone gets an opportunity to visit Fenway on a regular basis so limiting those chances is a frustrating result for many fans who were eagerly anticipating those two series.