Red Sox Winter Weekend will not feature a public town hall with Red Sox leadership this year. Remember how that went last offseason? Perhaps that went into the change this time around.
Instead, the town hall will be replaced with a "late-night talk show-style segment" hosted by former Red Sox pitcher Jonathan Papelbon, as reported by MassLive's Chris Cotillo.
One year ago during Red Sox Winter Weekend, ownership and team representatives including John Henry, Sam Kennedy, former Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom, and manager Alex Cora, were publicly booed by fans while on stage while attempting to explain the direction of the team ans they answered questions. This all came after a last-place finish in the American League East in 2022.
The 2023 season ended in identical fashion, with another 78-84 record and last-place finish. The team fired Chaim Bloom in late September. After finishing last in the AL East and missing the postseason in consecutive seasons, perhaps a rather clear message is being sent from Red Sox ownership to fans: they're not interested in answering any questions.
While it remains unclear if there will be leadership representation from Henry, Kennedy or newly-appointed chief baseball officer Craig Breslow on stage during the Papelbon-hosted event next weekend, the ditching of the public and fan-interactive town hall is creating buzz, questions, and, you guessed it, frustration, from fans once again.
What are Red Sox owners telling fans by dodging Winter Weekend?
The current Red Sox offseason has been anything but a "full throttle" approach as previously overpromised by Tom Werner. The lack of aggressiveness in both free agency and on the trade market over the last couple months has fans questioning leadership's investment in the team. Jared Carrabis, host of both the Baseball is Dead and Name Redacted podcasts, was on stage with Red Sox leadership last year during Winter Weekend and had this to say on Twitter following the announcement regarding the cancellation of this year's town hall.
Though there's been an update here, it still feels disingenuous because they either felt no choice but to respond to the backlash or will have certain members of the team's brass show up just to quiet the criticism.
Countless media members and fans alike have made comments about the Red Sox suddenly operating like a small-market team thanks to clear hesitation with acquiring top-talent via free agency or trade.
Six years removed from a World Series title, there's a discernible shift in fan interest, satisfaction and overall morale as the dawn of a new season is upon us. Unless things change, and fast, it doesn't appear Red Sox fans, or anyone for that matter, have any legitimate reason to be overly optimistic about the 2024 season, or speak positive affirmations for those calling the shots for their beloved franchise.