Red Sox Winter Weekend Recap: Lowlights and potential silver linings

Here's an outline of everything that happened at Winter Weekend that Sox fans should know.

2024 Red Sox Winter Weekend
2024 Red Sox Winter Weekend / Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

Red Sox Nation relishes the Boston Red Sox's Winter Weekend fan festival. It gives fans a chance to interact with players they love, ask pressing questions to management, and get a reprieve from the baseball drought that is the offseason.

Not every fan can make it to Springfield, MA, for the event, though. Others passed because they're displeased with the direction ownership is taking for the future of the club.

Regardless of how many fans attend, a lot of news about the coming year comes out at Winter Weekend. For everyone who couldn't make it or abstained this go-round, here's a breakdown of the negatives and positives from Boston's fan fest.

Winter Weekend was off to a rough start before it even began. After news arose that ownership and much of the front office staff would not be in attendance for the event, the fan backlash broke like a wave. Some front office staff changed their minds and attended the event, namely chairman Tom Werner and CEO Sam Kennedy.

Red Sox Fan Fest: What went wrong at the 2024 event?

Kennedy and Werner were feeling the pressure after being welcomed into the event by the raucous boos of Boston fans around them. The attention clearly got to their heads. It shows in some less-than-eloquent utterances from the two men.

There was a lot of pressure on the front office to answer for statements made regarding how committed the team was to getting better this offseason, which have gone unmet to this point.

“If you think for one second that we aren’t passionate, committed, dedicated to the Boston Red Sox, you’re wrong, you’re a liar, and I’ll correct you on it, because it’s total BS,” Kennedy said.

Calling fans, the people who keep the lights on, "liars" for not believing the front office after its months of unmet promises doesn't seem like the smartest decision for business, or for Kennedy's reputation.

Werner also conceded that ownership is more concerned with selling "the Fenway experience" than fielding a competitive team.

But Red Sox Nation IS "the Fenway experience." The fans are what makes the ballpark environment great, not the years of layered lead paint on the handrails or the Fenway Franks.

Many fan-favorite players were missing from the Winter Weekend action, too. It's not fair to speculate why they weren't there, but since interacting with the team is part of the event, having the heart of the team missing takes away from the experience.

Red Sox Fan Fest 2024: The positives from this year's event

Let's move on from the repetitive negativity, shall we?

The Red Sox organization has been mourning the loss of great knuckleballer and Boston icon, Tim Wakefield. The Sox aired a tribute video for the legend and former players who knew Wakefield shared some words about his character.

Very nice tribute. RIP.

  • Concerning the current roster, Red Sox hurler Garrett Whitlock arrived to the festivities and fans were shocked by his appearance. Whitlock added pounds of muscle to his 6-foot-5 frame this offseason and is being compared to another Red Sox great, Jon Lester. The right-hander may be able to hold his own as a starter in this year's rotation.
  • Jarren Duran announced that he's fully healthy and ready to go for the 2024 season. He's also embracing his position as one of the two buff guys on the team after the addition of Tyler O'Neill this offseason.
  • "He’s a great athlete and I can’t wait to see what he does for us. He’s been a stud for St. Louis," Duran said of O'Neill, reported by Christopher Smith of MassLive.
  • After a fantastic second half to his 2024 season, Triston Casas has shown even more improvement over the winter. Red Sox manager Alex Cora has gone as far as calling Casas the Sox's offseason "MVP."
  • “He came here to visit hospitals, all that stuff, he went to the (Dominican Republic) when we, well, we had the group going there,” Cora said, via Gabrielle Starr of the Boston Herald. “And then he went to Dallas (for Trevor Story’s minicamp), and he’s here. He went to Rookie Development Program. So, I think he understands who we are, where we’re at.”

Red Sox fans know that the 2023-24 offseason has been far from one of the best in recent memory. But based on what fans heard and saw from players at Winter Weekend, a lot of the Sox are trending up. Duran being healthy, Casas getting even better and developing into a leader, and Whitlock's new build offer fans something to look forward to this season. And they need it.

More Red Sox reads: