In what will come as a surprise to nobody, the Red Sox are expecting their sellout streak of nearly ten years to come to an end Speaking to reporters in Fort Myers today, Larry Lucchino acknowledged that the streak--the subject of a great deal of skepticism given the many visibly empty seats in 2012--will likely be laid to rest in April.
Oh thank God.
It's bad that the Red Sox are losing revenue. Admittedly, it's no more than they deserve after the failures of the last two years (particularly last year where ownership is concerned), but the Red Sox' attempt to return to relevance will certainly not be helped by making less money.
That being said, no matter what your view on the team or the ownership, there are few who have not grown tired of hearing about the sellout streak. In the better days when the Red Sox were contending it was accepted if not welcomed. A bit of self-indulgence by ownership both touting their business successes and providing a little bit of positive PR for the casual folk was well-deserved after winning two World Series.
As times got tough, though, the constant reminders that all was well in Fenway's box offices grew intolerable. With fans--particularly those devotees watching every day who felt the team's failures most keenly--suffering through the worst season in more than 50 years, the continued celebration by the front office came off as woefully out of touch at best. At worst, it was cruel indifference.
It made sense, sure. Ownership can afford to anger and frustrate their most loyal fans because they are least likely to leave, while casual fans still need some reason to come to games. As crazy as it sounds to many of us, there are likely a good deal of people out there who might buy a ticket because the streak suggests going to a Red Sox game is still a reasonable way to spend an evening. It's a good face to put on a .400 team playing out the string, and even if the Red Sox have supposedly sold every ticket, they know that the big names in the secondary market need to sell theirs, or they won't come back for the same allotment in 2013.
Still, knowing the reason behind the PR is cold comfort for a dedicated fanbase that wants ownership to show they're sharing the pain of an awful season up in their luxury boxes. So if you're feeling some schadenfreude even knowing that this isn't a good thing for the Red Sox, you're perfectly justified. I know I am.