Wednesday, March 5, 2008

We have become worse than the Yankees

Tom Yawkey must be singing this from his grave
with apologies to Melanie
Look what they've done to my park, Ma
Look what they've done to my park
Well it's the only thing I could do half right
And it's turning out all wrong, Ma
Look what they've done to my park

I have been going to Fenway Park for over 50 years. My first game was on August 8, 1956 and the Red Sox defeated Baltimore 7-2 and Ted Williams hit a home run. What I remember the most about that night was the vivid colors inside the park as all I knew about baseball before that was from black & white television. However at the age of 6 a lifelong love affair began.

By 1966 my interest in the team had fallen off. Fenway was a ghost town where on a good night 10,000 people would be there to see bad baseball. Nobody cared about the team anymore and there were warnings in the paper that Tom Yawkey might move somewhere else. Then came 1967...

The team has been for the most part very good the past 40 years and came very close to winning it all several times but until 2004 it never happened. Now they are defending champions again and also the favorite to win in 2008. I wish I could enjoy it but I despise what the Red Sox have become. We are now worse than that team 206 miles away on I-95.

One thing about the Yankees that you have to respect. They have NEVER taken their fans for granted. Sure they charge top dollar but they don't come even close to being as shameful as the Red Sox have become.

The Yankees have no problems selling tickets and with this being the final year of the stadium most game will be sold out. Yet they still offer many promotions and giveaways to their loyal fans.

How can you resist a Final Season Snoopy Yankees Doll Night that they will give away on September 17th against Chicago. Meanwhile let's see what the Red Sox will do for their loyal fans.

Outside of giving out magnetic schedules on Opening Day...NOTHING
This is not a case of being cheap since I am sure the Red Sox would have no trouble attracting corporate sponsors to underwrite the giveaways. It is obvious that they do not want to cheapen the Red Sox brand by giving anything away. Even the Disney people are not that shameful.

Today just going to a game requires the planning similar to a vacation at Disney World and it almost costs as much. Gone are the days a group of friends would meet after work and somebody would say "Hey the Indians are in town let's go" and you would hop the subway over to Kenmore and buy tickets at the window. Now to get tickets we have to set aside an entire Saturday in January to stare at this for hours

Now I will concede that this ownership has done wonders in improving Fenway from the sorry state it was in the last few years of John Harrington's watch. Widening the concourses above and under the grandstand have made the park easier to deal with. The new seats on the roof and on top of the Monster are wonderful but the team still hasn't addressed the biggest problem at Fenway which is the narrow wooden seats in the upper grandstand that date back to 1934. The seats in right field face the Citgo sign instead of home plate and after a game you need a chiropractor for your neck and knees. So what have they decided to do for 2008?

You know there was a reason why Fenway didn't have an upper deck when it was first built in 1912 and then rebuilt in 1934. The park is built on filled in swampland that used to be part of the Back Bay. It was believed at the time that the foundation could not carry the weight of an upper deck. I trust there is no safety issue here but that roof is getting awfully crowded which negates part of the reason it was so attractive to sit there in the first place to be away from the crush of humanity downstairs.

Finally I have to address what the fanbase has become. This Red Sox Nation garbage has to stop as we are becoming the the most hated fanbase in perhaps all of sports. We are not just hated in New York but everywhere especially in Chicago not by Cubs fans who are in their own little world but by the hardscrabble fans of the forgotten Chicago team the White Sox. They didn't mind when the world went bonkers over us winning in 2004 but they were furious when the national media ignored them when the won in 2005. We got the cover of Time Magazine and they couldn't even get a full cover in Sports Illustrated having to share it with Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. Seems like most of the nation was rooting for the New York Giants in the Super Bowl because they are fed up with Boston teams and fans.

But besides hating us they are also laughing at us. Last week Red Sox Nation hit a new bottom when Jerry Remy was sworn in as 'President' of Red Sox Nation by United States Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer at the Court in Washington. It would be one thing if it happened in Boston with Mayor 'Mumbles' or Governor Patrick. The Supreme Court????
I can not believe we have to put up with another season of Sox-Appeal. If it was just on after a game I could happily choose to ignore it but we are going to be forced to listen to Orsillo and Remy babble about each date in real time as they tape the show. Can you imagine Curt Gowdy, Ken Coleman or Ned Martin doing this? Mercy!!
I am also not looking forward to another season of Jerry Remy shilling the 'The Remy Report' every chance he gets. It really has gotten old.

Still I know that at 6 AM on March 25th I will be watching when the season opens in Tokyo.

even if I hate what they have become.
GO SOX!!!!


Anonymous said...

you should move to seattle and never utter the word Boston again.

Anonymous said...

the problem with this argument, as with its reciprocal, is that it misses the point. its not what boston has become, its what fan-dom has become. it has become nasty, regionalized and stratified. The loyal hate the bandwagoners, the losers hate the winners, everybody roots for the underdog as if all good teams are some how bullies. Fans fault other fans for how and why they enjoy the sport and how much they know about the sport.

The media plays its part but the public still buys it. In this increasingly globalized and homogenized world/culture we are "progressing" towards, I see this regionalism/homerism as a backlash against a world which is frankly closing in around us daily. Most of us can't be citizens of the world, so we choose to be kings of our castle. Sports provides this, for better or worse.

I don't blame the sport, the media or the fans for this generally pathetic behavior which incites inane discussions. But, if you find yourself needing to discuss these types of topics, maybe you should get off the sports page and read what is happening in the world to get some perspective.

Anonymous said...

You have to enjoy the good times. It may not be a while until they win a WS.

If you don't like the broadcasting mute the TV and put on WEEI.

The White Sox albeit they won after a long time don't have the same story and drama the Red Sox had to get to the coronation of WS champs.

As for tickets and ticket prices, thats what popularity will do. Their is high demand and people will pay the price. That does kinda suck since it will be really expensive for a family to head to the park. I think they should move to a new park to handle the additional capacity. I heard they want to stay there until 2012 so the park can hit the 100 year mark.

Just enjoy the good times :-)

John said...

I have to agree with this blogger.

I just don't enjoy going to Fenway any more and i used to go 15-20 times a year. Now maybe 5 times top.

I do go to games in NYC and Baltimore and this year we are going to Chicago. I can fly to Midway Airport from Providence, spend 2 nights in a hotel near the airport and take the subway to Comiskey Park and it will cost me the same as going to Fenway with my wife and son.

That is wrong.

Anonymous said...

He's right, he's exactly right. I mean, about everything other than slamming Remy and Orsillo, who are awesome.

This "Red Sox Nation" thing is exactly what Lil' Steinbrenner said it was, a creation of ESPN and the team to make cash. It gives all those rich people from north of Boston who just recently bought jerseys and pink hats and are now currently the reason regular people can't get tickets a "Name" to give themselves.

"Oh yes, me and Muffy LOVE the Sox. That Large Pepi character is just FABULOUS! God, I never knew how much I loved baseball until I spent 250 dollars on my RSN membership card."

It breaks down like this: There are two types of Sox fans.

1.) Pre-2003 Lifers. The Diehards. The April-September Freaks. The Bleacher Creatures.

2.) The RSN. The August-September Crowd. The "Tek is Cute" Group. The Pink Hats. The rich, ticket snatching killjoys.

Anonymous said...

Amen, brother. The ultimate embodiment of this nouveau fan base is Terry Cashman's horrible song in 2005 which ruined the moment of raising the championship banner. Lyrics showed no clue about the team's history, the song was awful, but that's just the kind of music that plays well with the rich stiffs that bought up all the tickets.

Anonymous said...

You just have to ignore the whole "RSN" crap. As annoying as it is for those of us who were around prior to 99...long before being a Sox fan was the "cool" thing to do.

But this "I'm a better fan than you" attitude is nothing short than an elitist mentality.

I agree, the "RSN" thing has put a cloud over the entire fan base....even those of us who are true life long fans. But it's something we have to deal with if we want a winning team.