How do you feel about the past 20 years of John Henry and Tom Werner owning the team?

Al Zarilla

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Hmmmm, would I trade the past 20 years in for those halcyon days of.......

- Sitting in a SPRING TRAINING game in Ft Myers listening to MFY fans from 18 to 80 berate me for 6 innings while the scubs from NY took a big lead. (note: said group left, Sox came back and won, and I care WAY too much about this)

- Spotting a fellow Sox fan in another staduim, looking at each other with that knowing glance that we were suffering for our sins and more than a little crazy for caring

- realizing each October that we have to go another lap around the sun for the hope to see this fucking team win a World Series, and there are fewer of them each time around

- staring down the seemingly real possiblity that it might never happen

- attending the funeral of my grandfather in spring 2004 wondering if I'll get to see that title before it's my turn in that casket

- dealing with my buddies father, brox born and raised, MFY fan through and through, say that he would like to see the Sox win out of pity for his son

If the cost of that is Theo in a gorilla suit, a year of Bobby the Fifth, handing out shitty contracts, and losing a generational superstar, I'll gladly pay those dues. These owner haven't been perfect, but can't see any other reality where Sox fans would have seen anywhere near this level of success.
Huntington, you captured the salient points of a post I had brewing but hadn't gotten to. Some other points for me: I did wonder after the 2003 ALCS loss if I would be one of the Red Sox Nation put to rest with a Sox cap on the gravestone, not saying but implied that they never did it in my lifetime. Quite depressing. I wasn't that old yet, but the years between chances can be soooo long. 1946 1967 1975 1986 for us, and then all the way to 2003 and not even a WS that year! Would management rebuild or reload after that 2003 season. Well, they went out and got the manager that turned out to be the best Sox manager ever. They also got a big game pitcher, an outstanding reliever and mid year traded a Red Sox icon who wasn't contributing much for some very valuable pieces. They totally reloaded and won it.

I really, really, really appreciate John Henry and Tom Werner.
 
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Smiling Joe Hesketh

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I think overall, they're a good ownership group. I think that they've done some really good things, but they've also stepped in more than a few piles of crap--a lot of which, I think could be avoided. But their initial investment was $695M (I think? I saw another number where it was $320M) and now the team is worth $3.3B; so I think that just about everyone has made out in this deal. Having a team that's good year-in and year-out is not altruistic, it greatly affects their bottom line.

Great:
- Four World Series Championships (hard to argue with that)--especially October 2004.

Good:
- For the most part hiring the right managers at the right time (Little *until Game 7, Francona, Cora.)
- Getting rid of managers at the right time, some cheaper clubs would have kept Valentine and Little around for a season or more to save face. The Sox were quick in their dismissals.
- Hiring the right general managers/CEOs (Epstein and Dombrowski), for me the jury is still out on Bloom and Cherington wasn't great. The placeholder GM/CEOs are just placeholders.
- Refurbishing Fenway Park and Fenway South.
- Taking some chances and signing some big free agents.
- Signing off on some big trades (the Nomar one in particular)
- For the most part, having a competitive team year-in and year-out.

Bad:
- Finished in last place four times. Not included the epic 2011 collapse.
- Hiring Bobby Valentine.
- Planted stories in the media about how person X had "issues" after they left Boston. They esentially ran Epstein out of town twice.
- Fenway Park has among the highest ticket prices in the game and the highest concessions.
- Letting some (not to sound like Peter Gammons here) special players leave: Lester and Betts.
- Sometimes they go for the sizzle more than the steak (Sandoval and Crawford. Maybe the Sale extension?)
- NESN still sucks.

Horrible:
- Despite the mostly positive 20 years, the Red Sox' stranglehold on the Boston sports scene slipped. They are probably the second-most-loved team in the region, and there are times when they dip down to third or fourth. This is a really big deal and one that I don't think that the ownership skates on.
Adding to this:

Good:
- the Fenway Park experience has been vastly improved. They have proven they don't need a new park to provide a fairly modern and immensely enjoyable experience.

Bad:
- Booting Don Orsillo out of NESN and replacing him with a bland corporate announcer. This is unforgivable and considerably detracts from the enjoyment of the games.
- the CONSTANT change in team-building approach. Letting Lester walk for peanuts then spending ten times as much to get players in to replace him. Hiring Dombrowski for a few years to great success, then abruptly about-facing and wringing their hands over the luxury tax. It makes no sense, it's jarring as hell, and makes me wonder if someone in the ownership groups gets bored or something.
 

Rwillh11

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Horrible:
- Despite the mostly positive 20 years, the Red Sox' stranglehold on the Boston sports scene slipped. They are probably the second-most-loved team in the region, and there are times when they dip down to third or fourth. This is a really big deal and one that I don't think that the ownership skates on.
Obviously we can't observe the universe where some other ownership team runs the Sox, but given general trends in sports watching (football becoming more dominant, NBA very popular among younger fans, the rise of soccer as another major sport) it's hard for me to pin any of this on ownership. The team was almost always competitive and often likable. There were some years where that wasn't true, but every franchise has down years.

When thinking about being overtaken by the Patriots, football is the dominant sport in the US, and there isn't too much the Sox ownership could do to overcome that.They also didn't have a transcendent, once in a lifetime, star like Tom Brady who stuck around and made them elite for 20 straight years.
 

Scoots McBoots

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I don't know how the Sox were realistically supposed to maintain the top spot in the market. The Pats had a 20-year run. Yeah, they had 4 WS wins, but the Pats were in title contention almost every year. I place no blame whatsoever on ownership for football overtaking baseball in Boston, especially since the MLB has lost a lot of ground across the board.
 

Awesome Fossum

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I think overall, they're a good ownership group. I think that they've done some really good things, but they've also stepped in more than a few piles of crap--a lot of which, I think could be avoided.
I would agree with this. I generally feel like all you can really ask of an ownership group is to make a sincere effort to compete for championships (along with not being active monsters), and the Red Sox definitely do that. I also really, really appreciate that Fenway Park is still standing rather than having suffered the fates of Tiger Stadium or Yankee Stadium. They definitely shoot themselves in the foot on a regular basis, which is frustrating. But better to have owners that get the big picture right and screw up some details than the other way around, imo.

FSG has definitely dialed in the business side and really turned their sports properties into commodities. They sometimes feel less like stewards and more like asset managers. I think that rubs a lot of people the wrong way.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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I wonder how much of that is them and how much of that is the combination of Belichick and Brady elevating the Pats to a whole other level. Basically, could they have done anything to hold them off for most-loved team in the region? And as others have mentioned, baseball in general has lost cache nation-wide compared to football and basketball. The Sox slipping to #2 might have been inevitable.
Obviously we can't observe the universe where some other ownership team runs the Sox, but given general trends in sports watching (football becoming more dominant, NBA very popular among younger fans, the rise of soccer as another major sport) it's hard for me to pin any of this on ownership. The team was almost always competitive and often likable. There were some years where that wasn't true, but every franchise has down years.

When thinking about being overtaken by the Patriots, football is the dominant sport in the US, and there isn't too much the Sox ownership could do to overcome that.They also didn't have a transcendent, once in a lifetime, star like Tom Brady who stuck around and made them elite for 20 straight years.
Football has been the most dominant sport in America since the 1970s, yet until the last 15 years (give or take) the Sox were still number one in the hearts of most Bostonians. I find it ironic (yeah, that word works, Allanis) that despite their most successful seasons, the Sox have lost popularity. Yes, the other worldliness of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have a lot to do with this. I don't doubt that one bit. But the Sox were still number one during the Bird era Celts and the Orr era Bruins; what made them less popular now?

I don't know. I mean, I guess you can say that it was inevitable but I think that the Yankees are still the kings of New York and the Cards were always bigger than the Rams. It happens. But, I think that it was incumbent on the owndership to deal with this issue and it doesn't seem that they did. I mean, the place is still banged out, they make their money and people still like the Sox so what should they care, right? Well, no. At some point (and this is a problem that baseball as a whole is going to run into) this is going to be a problem. And maybe the Sox aren't selling out Fenway 60-70 nights a year. By then it'll be too late.

Put it this way, the Pats have been off since the beginning of January and the number one sports talk show in New England talks about them every single day. Then maybe the Celts and the B's before turning to the Sox. There's a lot at play in how these talk radio lineups are drawn, but at the end of the day--and I've head Michael Felger say this before--their audience just doesn't care about the Red Sox. And I think that's a gigantic problem. WE care, because we're insane. But the every day sports fan? I don't think that they care as much. Ownership needs to do a better job of reaching that fan, stoking their interests and getting them passionate about their baseball team.

Throwing your hands up and saying, "What can we do! The Patriots are good!" is not an answer. There's a million things that they can and should do. Lowering ticket prices is a good start, so that kids can go to games again. Also, families might start going again. You get a kid into a baseball game once and they have a great time, you have a fan for life. That turns into a lifetime of spending. You don't get those kids, they don't know what they miss and they're gone. Reach out to the Boston neighborhoods more. Get free tickets in the hands of younger adults. Fenway is a good place to meet and drink, let people know that.
 
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cornwalls@6

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Football has been the most dominant sport in America since the 1970s, yet until the last 15 years (give or take) the Sox were still number one in the hearts of most Bostonians. I find it ironic (yeah, that word works, Allanis) that despite their most successful seasons, the Sox have lost popularity. Yes, the other worldliness of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have a lot to do with this. I don't doubt that one bit. But the Sox were still number one during the Bird era Celts and the Orr era Bruins; what made them less popular now?

I don't know. I mean, I guess you can say that it was inevitable but I think that the Yankees are still the kings of New York and the Cards were always bigger than the Rams. It happens. But, I think that it was incumbent on the owndership to deal with this issue and it doesn't seem that they did. I mean, the place is still banged out, they make their money and people still like the Sox so what should they care, right? Well, no. At some point (and this is a problem that baseball as a whole is going to run into) this is going to be a problem. And maybe the Sox aren't selling out Fenway 60-70 nights a year. By then it'll be too late.

Put it this way, the Pats have been off since the beginning of January and the number one sports talk show in New England talks about them every single day. Then maybe the Celts and the B's before turning to the Sox. There's a lot at play in how these talk radio lineups are drawn, but at the end of the day--and I've head Michael Felger say this before--their audience just doesn't care about the Red Sox. And I think that's a gigantic problem. WE care, because we're insane. But the every day sports fan? I don't think that they care as much. Ownership needs to do a better job of reaching that fan, stoking their interests and getting them passionate about their baseball team.

Throwing your hands up and saying, "What can we do! The Patriots are good!" is not an answer. There's a million things that they can and should do.
Seems like Football has pulled away from the pack in a huge way over the last 20 years. Their lead is way bigger than it was in 1970. Also, what specifically should the Red Sox ownership be doing, that they’re not?
 

joe dokes

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Bad:
- the CONSTANT change in team-building approach. Letting Lester walk for peanuts then spending ten times as much to get players in to replace him. Hiring Dombrowski for a few years to great success, then abruptly about-facing and wringing their hands over the luxury tax. It makes no sense, it's jarring as hell, and makes me wonder if someone in the ownership groups gets bored or something.
That's an interesting observation. Other than Cashman, not many teams have the same guy (or same philosophy of) "running things" (for lack of better term) for very long. I know you didn't mean "bored" literally, but maybe there's something about the business that informs JWH that "change for the sake of it" may be necessary. (as long as the new people are good at it).

Back to the question at hand, though. Things could always be better, but there seems to be a lot more room to fall than to rise.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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That's an interesting observation. Other than Cashman, not many teams have the same guy (or same philosophy of) "running things" (for lack of better term) for very long. I know you didn't mean "bored" literally, but maybe there's something about the business that informs JWH that "change for the sake of it" may be necessary. (as long as the new people are good at it).
It's just so strange. Lester was traded in 2014 because the Sox grossly lowballed him with a contract offer (5/70, or $14 million a year). To replace him they 1) traded for and then extended Rick Porcello at $20 million a year, 2) signed Wade Miley, and 3) a year later signed David Price to an enormous goddamn contract. And I like David Price, but that contract was silly.

None of this makes any sense. They finished last in 2015. They ended up spending about 3 times the money they would have spent had they just extended Lester. They would have been far better off re-signing Lester to a good deal, and then trading for Porcello.

Going back further, they let Beltre walk and signed AGon to an enormous contract and none of that worked out in the slightest. Beltre is a Hall of Famer. Gonzalez is a massive disappointment. Youkilis was moved back to 3B and that likely shortened his career. Keeping Beltre would have been the simpler, cheaper, and better solution.

They have obviously been extremely sucessful. But they are also strangely inefficient about it at times. It's weird. I think they outsmart themselves entirely too much.
 

soxhop411

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It's just so strange. Lester was traded in 2014 because the Sox grossly lowballed him with a contract offer (5/70, or $14 million a year). To replace him they 1) traded for and then extended Rick Porcello at $20 million a year, 2) signed Wade Miley, and 3) a year later signed David Price to an enormous goddamn contract. And I like David Price.

None of this makes any sense. They finished last in 2015. They ended up spending about 3 times the money they would have spent had they just extended Lester. They would have been far better off re-signing Lester to a good deal, and then trading for Porcello.

Going back further, they let Beltre walk and signed AGon to an enormous contract and none of that worked out in the slightest. Beltre is a Hall of Famer. Gonzalez is a massive disappointment. Youkilis was moved back to 3B and that likely shortened his career. Keeping Beltre would have been the simpler, cheaper, and better solution.

They have obviously been extremely sucessful. But they are also strangely inefficient about it at times. It's weird.
I dont think there is an owner/FO in any sport who isn't this... Including the Patriots, (see last offseason)

You just hope that your favorite team has an owner who is more of the former than the latter
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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I dont think there is an owner/FO in any sport who isn't this... Including the Patriots, (see last offseason)
These guys are supposed to be savvy. JWH and the hedge funds, etc etc. But they step on their own dicks as often as any other team in the league if not more so. And the errors are often completely unforced.

Obviously, they have been by and large extremely successful. But I get the sense they don't mind going boom or bust and I'm not sure how I feel about that.
 

AlNipper49

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I agree with that Lester to Porcello/Miley/Price scenario. It sounds bad but it was even worse back then in the post-Epstein years wondering if they had lost their fastball.

On the plus side, they adjusted. Maybe they adjusted too far or not enough, or not quickly enough, but it’s kinda worked for them. They’re going to fuck up, but atleast it hasn’t set them back decades.

I’ll agree that the only mortal sin that they’ve contributed to is losing Orsillo. Words you wouldn’t have heard me say when he first got called up from calling games in the minors, but once he found his groove he became the best in the business IMHO. I used to jump through hoops every year to get NESN just to make sure that I got our announcers every game. Now, even though I can, I barely give a crap.
 

YTF

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There's not a whole lot that I can add that hasn't already been mentioned. One thing I didn't see is the way the organization honors certain players or recognizes certain situations. Ring day, retirements and other celebrations are really well done. The continued commitment to The Jimmy Fund by the Sox and involvement by individual players demonstrates the emphasis that this ownership group places on supporting the work of the Dana Farber Cancer Center. They also have placed some level of importance on embracing and bringing back former players. Be it as ST instructors, special assistants, coaches, broadcasters or honorees of some sort,. As a fan I appreciate seeing our heroes return, but as mentioned above there has been some terrible mishandlings concerning some departures during this ownership's tenure, specifically in the cases of Theo, Tito and Orsillo.
 

Minneapolis Millers

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These guys are supposed to be savvy. JWH and the hedge funds, etc etc. But they step on their own dicks as often as any other team in the league if not more so. And the errors are often completely unforced.

Obviously, they have been by and large extremely successful. But I get the sense they don't mind going boom or bust and I'm not sure how I feel about that.
I think a lot of us would pay real money to watch a deep dive interview with JWH about these issues - the changes in management and team building philosophy and practices over the past 20 years. Some owners (see Jerry Jones) run their own teams and are hyper involved. Some seem to be involved only on the periphery (the Pohlad kids here in MN seem only remotely involved in baseball ops). My impression is that this ownership group gives team management a fairly long leash but has no problems asking probing questions periodically, and if they don’t like the answers or if problems emerge, then going in a distinctly different direction. They pretty clearly got angry with some of the things DD did or didn’t do, firing him in season less than a year after winning a title, but we never did get the whole scoop on that.

Anyway, you could argue that they overreact in these course corrections, but - gosh darn it! - they keep winning those trophies, so they probably don’t see it as a problem!
 

YTF

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I agree with that Lester to Porcello/Miley/Price scenario. It sounds bad but it was even worse back then in the post-Epstein years wondering if they had lost their fastball.

On the plus side, they adjusted. Maybe they adjusted too far or not enough, or not quickly enough, but it’s kinda worked for them. They’re going to fuck up, but atleast it hasn’t set them back decades.

I’ll agree that the only mortal sin that they’ve contributed to is losing Orsillo. Words you wouldn’t have heard me say when he first got called up from calling games in the minors, but once he found his groove he became the best in the business IMHO. I used to jump through hoops every year to get NESN just to make sure that I got our announcers every game. Now, even though I can, I barely give a crap.
Yeah how great is it when a random game pops up on TBS or MLB Network features a late night Padres game and Orsillo is calling the game?
 

CaptainLaddie

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Reach out to the Boston neighborhoods more. Get free tickets in the hands of younger adults. Fenway is a good place to meet and drink, let people know that.
I couldn't agree with this more. Back when I lived in Boston and made considerably less money than I do now, I would go to games like... I dunno, 5-8x a month with buddies? We'd drink around the park for the first part of the game, buy tickets in the 3rd or 4th inning from a scalper for dirt cheap and drink beer for a few hours in the park, mostly doing standing room. It was no different than going to a club or a bar with a cover -- find girls to hit on, generally act like fools.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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I don't understand the genesis of this thread, unless it's just an old man shaking his fist at the clouds wishing for the good old days that were objectively not all that good anyway. The past 20 years of Red Sox baseball has been the best anyone alive has seen for the franchise. A fair amount of that, perhaps nearly all of it, is due to this ownership group. There's nothing to be gained by wondering what if about other potential owners. I wouldn't trade these 20 years, or Henry, Werner, and co for anything.
This post was authored by someone who has the absolute right perspective. I don't even understand this thread - its the opposite of gratitude. Nobody gets everything 100% right and anyone expecting such isn't being realistic.

Four rings, no Bagwell scenarios and a much more sophisticated operation all the way around deserves nothing but kudos. At least from those of us who were around for the before when we were pinning our hopes on a poorly run club with hashed together rosters.
 

Delicious Sponge

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The good old days before this ownership group were just “good,” sometimes really good. But pretty much never, ever great.

There was always hope - but tempered by the knowledge that the team wasn’t good enough. Would never be good enough.

The good old old boys in the front office were often dumber than the average fan. It made for terrific sports radio and message board fodder.

Things are different now.

Yes, the front office has made mistakes but they’re smart people. They use data and experience and excellent scouting and an clear sense of strategy.

They know way more than the average fan, which makes it far less interesting to listen to people on the radio, or in a bar, or wherever trying to criticize this move or that.

It’s like looking at the stock picks in your mutual fund that has been outperforming the market for 20 years and saying you know better than the portfolio managers.

Maybe you do…but you probably don’t.

I can’t say how grateful I am to this ownership group for what they’ve accomplished. I suppose there’s a sense of loss in no longer having the experience of being the long-suffering underdog. But that’s kind of like missing a huge tumor that’s been excised from your body.
 

cantor44

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I feel like, in the macro, there is no question. I mean - does anyone have a question? Very grateful. Remember at the start they tried to get Billy Beane (at that point ahead of the curve) and then had the brilliance to recognize Theo's potential. And have gone on to win 4 goddamn world championships!!! Thank you thank you Henry and company!

If the thrill is gone a bit, I think that's a function of problems with the game now but more so because there's no longer a quest for the holy grail. That 86-year drought, in baseball loving New England, for me, growing up in the 70s and 80s in Massachusetts, was deeply connective, a beautiful part of the culture. Strangers gathering around someone's radio at the public pond on a hot day to hear the outcome of key August game come to mind ...the experience of the victory parade after 2004 was one of the best of my life - feeling like I was truly part of a community: hugging and high-fiving, dancing, singing, and crying with strangers ...

Frankly, I'll take the 4 championships over going back to the quest for the holy grail. Both had their merits and are interlinked. But thanks to ownership for bringing us to the promised land.

Quibbles? Sure ... I feel like post Theo they've been reactive -- making compensatory moves when something went wrong (Castillo when they lost out on Abreu) bipolar swings in the organizational philosophy, and the lack of foresight in making sure Mookie was a Sox for life ...

But Overall? Happy. Very.

EDIT: And man have they improved Fenway. An architectural gem made even more brilliant!
 
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Hank Scorpio

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A 20 year retrospective thread is a good idea. It’s certainly interesting to read how each of us has evolved as fans. I love the game of baseball, and since the Sox were such a significant and important part of my childhood, I don’t think I will ever be able to quit them, despite fiascos like burning Tito on the way out, the Bobby f’n Valentine disaster, screwing up the Lester negotiations, and shipping Mookie out. They saved Fenway. They’ve built a consistently successful franchise on the field, making the playoffs more often than not. IMO, they can’t fairly or accurately be accused of being cheap, even if they’ve made some head scratching financial decisions.

They have vanquished the Yankees. Seven ALCSes in 20 years is fantastic. They ended the drought and have won 4 titles. Overall, they seem like the best MLB franchise during this time frame. (More needless drama than, say, the Giants, but more successful, too.).

I’m a less frantic fan now. Have a bit more perspective these days. But I’m still a fan.
And if we’re not grading on a curve, I guess I’d give Henry & Co an A-. But I’m a tough grader!

For those who have tuned the team and the game out, I’m really curious what brings you back to the SOSH Sox forum…
I guess it’s weird for me. I follow them, but I don’t follow them. I like to be generally aware of how the team is doing, but I’m just not invested in it. If they let X leave as a free agent and traded Devers, I’d just feel hollow disappointment.

I hope they add more pitching, even if I’m not going to watch. It’s like going on Facebook and scrolling down the feed. It isn’t exciting, but maybe you’ll see something that’ll make you say “oh, cool”.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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I thought at the time that they didn't make a serious offer to Lester because they were going to pursue Scherzer and I was all in favor of that. I liked Lester but thought between him and Max... it wasn't even a question.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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Seems like Football has pulled away from the pack in a huge way over the last 20 years. Their lead is way bigger than it was in 1970. Also, what specifically should the Red Sox ownership be doing, that they’re not?
I don't work in the Fenway marketing group and I don't have their data, but here are a few educated guesses and remedies. There are two things that they should do: 1. realize that they have a market share problem and stop assuming that everyone in New England will always care about the Red Sox and 2. stop trying to squeeze every nickle out of every person that comes within a two-mile radius of Fenway Park.

For the first part:
1. In the 90s during the season they had a Fenway Open House where on an off day people could to park, walk around and meet the ball players. I have a picture of me, John Valentin and Erik Hanson. It was goofy, fun and best of all free. Not only do you get to hang out at the park, but you got to "meet" a player. Yeah, it's for a second or two but they become more tangible.

2. I'm not sure if Sox still do this, but I know other teams do this, but every winter have a caravan of players going through the six NE states spreading the gospel of the Sox and getting people excited for the season. The last one that I remember was a one-day affair at Foxwoods or Mohegan Sun. It has to be more than that. Burlington, VT; Manchester, NH; Portland, ME; Springfield, MA; Worcester, MA; Providence, RI; Hartford, CT; New Haven, CT; Providence, RI. Places were there are Sox fans in the winter, you need to be there with one or two players.

3. I'm not sure if the player's union would go for this, but start up the exhibitions with the WooSox and the Sea Dogs at their home parks. For a lot of people this is the only way for them to check out the Boston Red Sox.

4. Promote the Sox two ways: one as THE New England team. Another as THE Boston team. Reach out to the Little Leagues, reach out to the city. GIVE AWAY tickets. Tons of them.

5. Tell people that with public transportation, it's not a pain in the ass to get to a game like it is in Foxboro. Most Sox games are played in beautiful weather, not in the frigid New England weather of November, December and January.

6. Like I said earlier, and what @Laddie talked about, make Fenway a "pre-game" destination for younger adults going out. Come to the game, have a few drinks, meet some women (or men), get your night started at Fenway.

7. Start a Red Sox club that doesn't cost money to join. Offer deals and stuff through that. They might do this, I'm not 100% sure -- which is a problem because I'm a fan who goes to 4-5 games a year and I have no clue whether they offer a program like this. If they do, publicize it!

For the second part:
1. Lower ticket prices. You want short-term gains, go ahead and keep the prices where they are. But, and the Sox owners have been here for 20 years and don't seem to be going anywhere soon, if you want long-term gains; make it affordable for families, younger people, teens to check out a game. When I was in college (mid 90s), there were more than a half dozen times when a friend would come over around 4:00 and we'd just decide to go to a Sox game on a whim (and we lived an hour away).

2. Lower concessions. Part of the above. Hot Dogs, popcorn, soda and peanut prices should be way cheaper. Premium food? Charge what you want. But the stuff that kids like, maybe not make it a loss leader (because it's not going to be for pig lips and assholes) but cut the prices by a buck or two. Let people know about it. That's good will that people would care about.

Losing market share, especially when there's other options (not just sports), is inevitable but throwing your hands up and whining that, "The football is just too darn good!" (when they overlap one month, maybe two if you're very lucky) is silly. The problem is that the Sox are at a point where they need to operate like an underdog and do the grass-roots marketing. It sucks and it's a place that they're not used to being in; but they need to do it.

- Booting Don Orsillo out of NESN and replacing him with a bland corporate announcer. This is unforgivable and considerably detracts from the enjoyment of the games.
I agree with this and I forgot about Orsillo. But I think that the offsetting action to this was the Ownership sticking by Jerry Remy when everyone wanted him strung up and fired because of what his kid did (including me). The Sox could have bowed to public pressure, replace Remy with Steve Lyons (saving themselves money and looking like they were "doing the right thing".) but they stuck with him and that turned out to be the right move.
 

lexrageorge

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It's just so strange. Lester was traded in 2014 because the Sox grossly lowballed him with a contract offer (5/70, or $14 million a year). To replace him they 1) traded for and then extended Rick Porcello at $20 million a year, 2) signed Wade Miley, and 3) a year later signed David Price to an enormous goddamn contract. And I like David Price, but that contract was silly.

None of this makes any sense. They finished last in 2015. They ended up spending about 3 times the money they would have spent had they just extended Lester. They would have been far better off re-signing Lester to a good deal, and then trading for Porcello.

Going back further, they let Beltre walk and signed AGon to an enormous contract and none of that worked out in the slightest. Beltre is a Hall of Famer. Gonzalez is a massive disappointment. Youkilis was moved back to 3B and that likely shortened his career. Keeping Beltre would have been the simpler, cheaper, and better solution.

They have obviously been extremely sucessful. But they are also strangely inefficient about it at times. It's weird. I think they outsmart themselves entirely too much.
Some of the above falls on Theo. He had his sights set on A-Gon for a long time. He had the perfect swing for Fenway, and I think Theo truly thought he would be a key part of the Sox next title team. Beltre was picked up on a one year reclamation deal after his disappointing stint in Seattle. In 2011, it was by no means obvious to anyone that Beltre would go on to rejuvenate his HoF career while Gonzalez would hit a cliff. Beltre had a great 2010 in Boston, but Gonzalez was coming off a 141 OPS+ stint over 5 years in San Diego. Hindsight shows otherwise, but the future results for these 2 players were not expected by even the smartest baseball minds.
 

OurF'ingCity

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Despite the mostly positive 20 years, the Red Sox' stranglehold on the Boston sports scene slipped. They are probably the second-most-loved team in the region, and there are times when they dip down to third or fourth. This is a really big deal and one that I don't think that the ownership skates on.
Based on what metric? This article by our friend Chad Finn indicates that TV ratings were very solid last year, particularly with the 18-34 demographic, which watched more Sox games than any time since 2011. And given increases in MLB.tv streaming numbers, it's highly likely that more people watched Sox games out-of-market last year than any other time in history.

Yes, attendance was down in absolute numbers (due no doubt to lingering Covid concerns), but not relative numbers - the Sox were 4th in attendance in the AL last year, which is basically the same position they've held every year of this millennium.

To the extent now the Patriots are the "most-loved" team in the region (how do you determine which team is "most loved"), that's because for the last 20 years the Pats had literally the best football player of all time and literally the best football coach of all time on their team and won more championships over that span than most teams have won in their histories. I don't think the unprecedented run of success the Pats have had says anything at all about Sox ownership.
 

Ale Xander

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Based on what metric? This article by our friend Chad Finn indicates that TV ratings were very solid last year, particularly with the 18-34 demographic, which watched more Sox games than any time since 2011. And given increases in MLB.tv streaming numbers, it's highly likely that more people watched Sox games out-of-market last year than any other time in history.

Yes, attendance was down in absolute numbers (due no doubt to lingering Covid concerns), but not relative numbers - the Sox were 4th in attendance in the AL last year, which is basically the same position they've held every year of this millennium.

To the extent now the Patriots are the "most-loved" team in the region (how do you determine which team is "most loved"), that's because for the last 20 years the Pats had literally the best football player of all time and literally the best football coach of all time on their team and won more championships over that span than most teams have won in their histories. I don't think the unprecedented run of success the Pats have had says anything at all about Sox ownership.
Pretty sure this is Covid-related and won't last.
 

BornToRun

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Yeah I mean, how is this even a question?

A+++ work by these owners.
Thirded. I’m relatively young compared to the majority of people here, as far as I can tell, but I know the history of the team I root for and I can’t comprehend how anyone wouldn’t consider this ownership group the best we’ve ever had.
 

TFisNEXT

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Some of the above falls on Theo. He had his sights set on A-Gon for a long time. He had the perfect swing for Fenway, and I think Theo truly thought he would be a key part of the Sox next title team. Beltre was picked up on a one year reclamation deal after his disappointing stint in Seattle. In 2011, it was by no means obvious to anyone that Beltre would go on to rejuvenate his HoF career while Gonzalez would hit a cliff. Beltre had a great 2010 in Boston, but Gonzalez was coming off a 141 OPS+ stint over 5 years in San Diego. Hindsight shows otherwise, but the future results for these 2 players were not expected by even the smartest baseball minds.
Agon never really recovered 100% from his shoulder injury....easy to say in hindsight maybe Theo shouldn't have traded for him after that injury, but his swing was just so tempting.

Even in those early days of 2011 at slightly less than 100%, we were all mesmerized by that swing. And not for nothing, but trading for Agon may have extended Papi's career as he vastly cut down on his K rate, increased his LD% and started mashing lefties again. Ortiz was looking on the way out after 2009 and 2010 despite his bounceback in 2010 (his K rate continued to climb and he was unplayable against LHP). He became a new hitter after that and I remember he credited Gonzalez with his new-found lefty-mashing ability.

So sometimes things work out even though it's not always in the way we picture them to.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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Based on what metric? This article by our friend Chad Finn indicates that TV ratings were very solid last year, particularly with the 18-34 demographic, which watched more Sox games than any time since 2011. And given increases in MLB.tv streaming numbers, it's highly likely that more people watched Sox games out-of-market last year than any other time in history.

Yes, attendance was down in absolute numbers (due no doubt to lingering Covid concerns), but not relative numbers - the Sox were 4th in attendance in the AL last year, which is basically the same position they've held every year of this millennium.

To the extent now the Patriots are the "most-loved" team in the region (how do you determine which team is "most loved"), that's because for the last 20 years the Pats had literally the best football player of all time and literally the best football coach of all time on their team and won more championships over that span than most teams have won in their histories. I don't think the unprecedented run of success the Pats have had says anything at all about Sox ownership.
Do you honestly think that the Red Sox are still the number one team in New England, right now?

I didn't say that no one likes the Red Sox, because that's crazy. But the Sox haven't been the darlings of Boston for a long time.

According to a 2019 Boston Herald story
According to Boston CSN poll from 2014 (I think)
According to Boston.com article from 2020

I mean, I'm not pulling this stuff out of my ass.
 

lexrageorge

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Agon never really recovered 100% from his shoulder injury....easy to say in hindsight maybe Theo shouldn't have traded for him after that injury, but his swing was just so tempting.

Even in those early days of 2011 at slightly less than 100%, we were all mesmerized by that swing. And not for nothing, but trading for Agon may have extended Papi's career as he vastly cut down on his K rate, increased his LD% and started mashing lefties again. Ortiz was looking on the way out after 2009 and 2010 despite his bounceback in 2010 (his K rate continued to climb and he was unplayable against LHP). He became a new hitter after that and I remember he credited Gonzalez with his new-found lefty-mashing ability.

So sometimes things work out even though it's not always in the way we picture them to.
I thought the shoulder injury happened in the Home Run Derby in 2011 when he was already a member of the Red Sox?? Or am I misremembering?
 

azsoxpatsfan

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Any criticism based on the Sox not being the most popular team anymore is ridiculous. If Tatum turns into the greatest basketball player of all time and leads the Celtics to titles year after year, I’m pretty sure they’d pass the Sox in popularity too, and it would have nothing to do with the Sox ownership.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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I thought the shoulder injury happened in the Home Run Derby in 2011 when he was already a member of the Red Sox?? Or am I misremembering?
He experience a power decline in the second half of 2011 that was attributed to the Derby, but there was no injury then. He had shoulder surgery prior to the trade while he was still with the Padres. Here's an article talking about it being more serious than initially thought, and that was a month before the trade was completed. Edit to add another NESN article that suggested his recovery was going to bring him right to the start of spring training.
 

moondog80

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Is there any market where the baseball team is number one? Yankees maybe, but would that be the case if the Jets/Giants/Knicks didn't suck? Baseball is long and boring with lots of standing still. Kids are playing it less than they ever have. Yeah, the Sox have declined from the 2004 peak when they were part of the greatest sports story that will ever be told. They were never going to maintain that, certainly not when the NFL boomed in popularity and the local team embarked on the longest and greatest dynasty the sport has ever seen. Ownership has fallen short of the ridiculously high bar of getting every decision right, but they've won 4 WS with fairly different rosters each time, and last year proved that when they make a run, they can still generate a pretty significant buzz. Any reasonable scale has to give ownership an A.
 

bob burda

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I also would acknowledge the mistakes that others have noted, but under this ownership I've seen:
- 4 world titles,
- 7 ALCS appearances
- a 100+W season (with a dominant playoff and world series performance tacked onto it)
- beating the MFY's in 7 after being down 0-3; beating them in a best of 5 playoff; beating them in a 1 game playoff

I would attribute much of this success to the ownership group and their decisions about the team, such as hiring Theo, hiring Dombrowski (yeah, who Dombrowskied, but they got what they paid for), the early use of analytics etc. I won't get into the politics (for V&N) or their other failures (nobody mentioned Francona's departure or Valentine's hire - that was bad). In the same way I held my breath about the team's future when Theo left, I'd have the same trepidation if this current ownership sold the club tomorrow to God knows who.
 

Ale Xander

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Is there any market where the baseball team is number one? Yankees maybe, but would that be the case if the Jets/Giants/Knicks didn't suck? Baseball is long and boring with lots of standing still. Kids are playing it less than they ever have. Yeah, the Sox have declined from the 2004 peak when they were part of the greatest sports story that will ever be told. They were never going to maintain that, certainly not when the NFL boomed in popularity and the local team embarked on the longest and greatest dynasty the sport has ever seen. Ownership has fallen short of the ridiculously high bar of getting every decision right, but they've won 4 WS with fairly different rosters each time, and last year proved that when they make a run, they can still generate a pretty significant buzz. Any reasonable scale has to give ownership an A.
Only in markets without a football team
St Louis is one
That’s pretty much it
Anaheim maybe if you don’t count LA
San Diego maybe (also if you don’t count LA) but that’s a one pro sport town now (if you don’t count womens soccer)
Maybe Atlanta if you don’t count college football (CP would know better)
Maybe SF for only 1 year only because Warriors sucked
 
Last edited:

OurF'ingCity

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Do you honestly think that the Red Sox are still the number one team in New England, right now?

I didn't say that no one likes the Red Sox, because that's crazy. But the Sox haven't been the darlings of Boston for a long time.

According to a 2019 Boston Herald story
According to Boston CSN poll from 2014 (I think)
According to Boston.com article from 2020

I mean, I'm not pulling this stuff out of my ass.
The dates of those three links are telling, though - 2014 and 2020 were two of the worst Sox teams of the last 20 years, and they were mediocre in 2019 and massively underperforming relative to expectations.

In any event, none of that is contradictory to the points I was making, which were (1) the Sox are doing fine in terms of popularity, (2) their drop from the #1 spot is due to larger trends and due to a run of success we will never see again in our lifetimes, and (3) regardless of the cause of the drop, I don't think that is something ownership can be blamed for as there are so many factors that go into how popular a given team is at any given time.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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Is there any market where the baseball team is number one? Yankees maybe, but would that be the case if the Jets/Giants/Knicks didn't suck? Baseball is long and boring with lots of standing still. Kids are playing it less than they ever have. Yeah, the Sox have declined from the 2004 peak when they were part of the greatest sports story that will ever be told. They were never going to maintain that, certainly not when the NFL boomed in popularity and the local team embarked on the longest and greatest dynasty the sport has ever seen. Ownership has fallen short of the ridiculously high bar of getting every decision right, but they've won 4 WS with fairly different rosters each time, and last year proved that when they make a run, they can still generate a pretty significant buzz.
You realize that the Patriots had won three Super Bowls in four years when the Sox won in 2004, right? And then the Pats didn't win another Super Bowl for ten years during which time the Sox won two more World Series. Why couldn't the Red Sox maintain this popularity?
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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The dates of those three links are telling, though - 2014 and 2020 were two of the worst Sox teams of the last 20 years, and they were mediocre in 2019 and massively underperforming relative to expectations.

In any event, none of that is contradictory to the points I was making, which were (1) the Sox are doing fine in terms of popularity, (2) their drop from the #1 spot is due to larger trends and due to a run of success we will never see again in our lifetimes, and (3) regardless of the cause of the drop, I don't think that is something ownership can be blamed for as there are so many factors that go into how popular a given team is at any given time.
2014 was literally a year after they won the World Series and 2020 was two years after they won the World Series. I have no idea when the data for these polls were compiled, for all I know the questions could have been asked in January of those years.

So basically your takeaway is, "shit happens, who cares"? Got it.
 

Van Everyman

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I get the sense they don't mind going boom or bust and I'm not sure how I feel about that.
This is what I was getting at earlier. Honestly, I'm completely fine with them having 4 last place seasons. The COVID one sucked out loud, obv., but for the most part, they've used those seasons to reload and, other than 2014, turned it around the following year each time (2013 WS, 2016 first place in division, 2021 ALCS). As I fan I get it -- nobody wants to see their team suck or their favorite players leave.

But it's hard to argue with the results. This is sort of like complaining that the Patriots' run wasn't as awesome as it should be because Belichick and the players held boring press conferences, the the team rarely invested in flashy star players and the Super Bowl wins were never big dominant blow-outs. Like, ok, but I'll take the 6 rings, GOAT QB and 28-3 comeback anytime over Peyton throwing dimes to Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne and only winning it once.
 

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They've been amazing, plain and simple. They turned the Sox from the cursed franchise into the franchise of the 2000's.
I don't give a shit about any last place finishes, or signing Panda or not signing Betts, or even a year of Bobby V. This is baseball, and they've recovered from every move that didn't work out at the time.
Honestly, the only move that directly affects my enjoyment of the team was dispatching of Orsillo, and they haven't recovered from that. I guess that takes them from an A+ to an A.
 

moondog80

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You realize that the Patriots had won three Super Bowls in four years when the Sox won in 2004, right? And then the Pats didn't win another Super Bowl for ten years during which time the Sox won two more World Series. Why couldn't the Red Sox maintain this popularity?
Because there was 86 years of buildup to 2004, and the payoff was executed in dramatic and spectacular fashion that captivated even non-fans, well beyond New England. Expecting them to maintain that level of interest, especially in an era with declining interest in baseball on the whole, isn't realistic.

I wonder what the reaction of Mets or Orioles or Guardians fans would be knowing that Sox fans have a "hey, have the last 20 years been good?" thread where some people earnestly take the contrarian viewpoint.
 

AlNipper49

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I don't work in the Fenway marketing group and I don't have their data, but here are a few educated guesses and remedies. There are two things that they should do: 1. realize that they have a market share problem and stop assuming that everyone in New England will always care about the Red Sox and 2. stop trying to squeeze every nickle out of every person that comes within a two-mile radius of Fenway Park.

For the first part:
1. In the 90s during the season they had a Fenway Open House where on an off day people could to park, walk around and meet the ball players. I have a picture of me, John Valentin and Erik Hanson. It was goofy, fun and best of all free. Not only do you get to hang out at the park, but you got to "meet" a player. Yeah, it's for a second or two but they become more tangible.

2. I'm not sure if Sox still do this, but I know other teams do this, but every winter have a caravan of players going through the six NE states spreading the gospel of the Sox and getting people excited for the season. The last one that I remember was a one-day affair at Foxwoods or Mohegan Sun. It has to be more than that. Burlington, VT; Manchester, NH; Portland, ME; Springfield, MA; Worcester, MA; Providence, RI; Hartford, CT; New Haven, CT; Providence, RI. Places were there are Sox fans in the winter, you need to be there with one or two players.

3. I'm not sure if the player's union would go for this, but start up the exhibitions with the WooSox and the Sea Dogs at their home parks. For a lot of people this is the only way for them to check out the Boston Red Sox.

4. Promote the Sox two ways: one as THE New England team. Another as THE Boston team. Reach out to the Little Leagues, reach out to the city. GIVE AWAY tickets. Tons of them.

5. Tell people that with public transportation, it's not a pain in the ass to get to a game like it is in Foxboro. Most Sox games are played in beautiful weather, not in the frigid New England weather of November, December and January.

6. Like I said earlier, and what @Laddie talked about, make Fenway a "pre-game" destination for younger adults going out. Come to the game, have a few drinks, meet some women (or men), get your night started at Fenway.

7. Start a Red Sox club that doesn't cost money to join. Offer deals and stuff through that. They might do this, I'm not 100% sure -- which is a problem because I'm a fan who goes to 4-5 games a year and I have no clue whether they offer a program like this. If they do, publicize it!

For the second part:
1. Lower ticket prices. You want short-term gains, go ahead and keep the prices where they are. But, and the Sox owners have been here for 20 years and don't seem to be going anywhere soon, if you want long-term gains; make it affordable for families, younger people, teens to check out a game. When I was in college (mid 90s), there were more than a half dozen times when a friend would come over around 4:00 and we'd just decide to go to a Sox game on a whim (and we lived an hour away).

2. Lower concessions. Part of the above. Hot Dogs, popcorn, soda and peanut prices should be way cheaper. Premium food? Charge what you want. But the stuff that kids like, maybe not make it a loss leader (because it's not going to be for pig lips and assholes) but cut the prices by a buck or two. Let people know about it. That's good will that people would care about.


Losing market share, especially when there's other options (not just sports), is inevitable but throwing your hands up and whining that, "The football is just too darn good!" (when they overlap one month, maybe two if you're very lucky) is silly. The problem is that the Sox are at a point where they need to operate like an underdog and do the grass-roots marketing. It sucks and it's a place that they're not used to being in; but they need to do it.



I agree with this and I forgot about Orsillo. But I think that the offsetting action to this was the Ownership sticking by Jerry Remy when everyone wanted him strung up and fired because of what his kid did (including me). The Sox could have bowed to public pressure, replace Remy with Steve Lyons (saving themselves money and looking like they were "doing the right thing".) but they stuck with him and that turned out to be the right move.
To combine #1 and #2, I’d rather have significantly higher food prices. Like $20 hot dogs. To go with that would be a drop in ticket prices. That way you could still make it more reasonable for a family with kids, or just the aforementioned single dudes. Most importantly it would attract repeat customers. The folks carrying the weight at increasing revenues would likely be one-off visitors, corporate, etc.

I don’t see concessions as a necessary part of going to a game. They’re nice but in this context they’re a luxury, getting cyclical fans into the seats is the problem.

There are a lot of us who could conceivably go to a bunch of games but don’t. Even though it can be ‘afforded’ it just doesn’t offer the same value as other options out there.
 

Rovin Romine

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Football has been the most dominant sport in America since the 1970s, yet until the last 15 years (give or take) the Sox were still number one in the hearts of most Bostonians.
That's because New Englanders had class. (Unlike, say, those midwesterners.)

And New England didn't have a pro football team until the 1960s. And then they didn't have a good one for long stretches.
 

AlNipper49

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I also get maximizing returns for Henry and crew but I really dislike the venue going in behind Fenway. I would have loved something that would have maybe been a bit less profitable but more immersive to the baseball experience. For example, a real Red Sox Hall of Fame. I bet over the long haul having something like that there would have been cost competitive with the music venue. Ticket proceeds / whatever from the music place would be less, but every person who went into a Sox Hall of Fame attached to Fenway would be a fan for life. The Rooter’s club is cool but it could be 1000x cooler.
 

Max Power

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Of course the last 20 years have been good. That's not really the point of the thread. The original poster confused things a bit by asking if things would be better if someone else bought the team, but the question is whether the overall experience of watching a game has gotten worse over the last 20 years. Yes, there's been a lot of winning (and losing), but the team isn't as popular as it once was. The presentation on TV is worse than before due to the broadcast crew. And the ballpark experience is much more expensive and less enjoyable to many. There are things that can be done beyond just providing a winning team to connect with the area and claw back some of their lost popularity.
 

Ale Xander

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I’m with NIp. I never eat at ballparks, other than a rare Clam Chowder on cold April games. Raise concessions, get rid of the 4/99 special and make it a 4/79 special with no food and drink. Raise food prices, lower water prices.

Lower the ticket prices most of all, and perhaps build a parking garage or two with affordable rates. The $45 mafioso parking where the space goes empty 275 days a year needs to end

be more efficient
 

Scoops Bolling

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Do you honestly think that the Red Sox are still the number one team in New England, right now?

I didn't say that no one likes the Red Sox, because that's crazy. But the Sox haven't been the darlings of Boston for a long time.

According to a 2019 Boston Herald story
According to Boston CSN poll from 2014 (I think)
According to Boston.com article from 2020

I mean, I'm not pulling this stuff out of my ass.
When were the Red Sox the #1 team in New England? My understanding is that the Bruins were the biggest local team from the 40s through the 80s, routinely selling out the Garden even as a last place team in their downturn in the 60s, and that even when the Sox started getting popular after 1967 they were still a clear #2 behind the Bruins. The Sox and Patriots both pushed ahead during the Bruins' downturn in the 90s/00s, but outside of the late 90s and early 00s I'm not sure the Red Sox were ever the unchallenged #1 team in the area. I'd certainly listen to data to the contrary, but the idea that the Red Sox were the longtime #1 team in Boston doesn't ring true to my ears.