I know we’re waist deep into the NFL playoffs, but when a story pops up that catches my attention, I’ve got to get after it.
When one thinks of the most storied franchises in baseball, names like the Yankees, Dodgers and the Cubs come to mind. ANother that would be on top of that list is the Boston Red Sox. They’ve been one of the best organizations since baseball's creation. But if you haven’t noticed, in the past few years the team has really been quite terrible. Which happens from time to time.
But what separates the team’s lack of success from other time periods is the prevalent disinterest the ownership group has in the team.
Now the Boston Red Sox have had their issues with ownership in recent years. I mean, they employed a murderer (Jared Remy) and a child molestor (Stephen Murphy). That’s pretty bad. But none of it really impacted the way the fans looked at the team. I guess they did the right thing (eventually) and got rid of both Murphy and Remy went to prison after killing his girlfriend. They weathered that storm.
Cold blooded murder and child sexual abuse aside, the Fenway Sports Group, who owns the Red Sox, is having some more issues. Issues that are starting to turn fans away from the team.
The first issue, the team sucks. The roster is horrendous and they seem to not care. The Red Sox finished dead last in the AL East and really were never going to win anything. In response, the team fired their chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom to address the situation. This gave fans some hope that they would try to get some new talent, and actually try to compete in 2024.
Then, in October, it was announced that the Red Sox had hired former pitcher Craig Breslow to be their new Chief Baseball Officer (CBO? Sounds weird but I’ll go with it). All things baseball would be his responsibility. To the unbiased eye, this hire was a little suspicious. The ownership group hired a guy that was a player in their organization that, it would seem, they could control based on their previous relationship. An optimist might say that they hired Breslow because they knew him and wanted a guy they could trust and already had a rapport with, but that’s, as the kids say, sus.
Couple this nepotistic hire with the fact that Fenway Sports Group has more than a few irons in the fire. They not only own the Red Sox, but they own NASCAR’s RFK Racing, Liverpool Football Club and have just recently purchased the Pittsburgh Penguins. Throwing money around buying yet another pro sports franchise while pinching pennies and trading great players away from your other team is not a good look.
Then on November 2nd, Tom Werner, Red Sox Chairperson, said that the team would be going “full throttle” in trying to compete in 2024. That’s what a fan would like to hear, right? Maybe a few big signings? A blockbuster trade perhaps? Well…the team got a few signings. Players this baseball outsider had never heard of. They then traded away two players I had heard of, but then that’s about it. Needless to say, this isn’t what diehard fans expected.
Then comes January 16th. A normal Tuesday for most of us, but for the Red Sox business office and a lot of fans. This is the day season ticket holders had to decide whether they would be renewing their season tickets for the next year. That is after the team went out and made some signings hoping to be better and more competitive. Makes sense.
The real sticky wicket came on January 19th, when Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy said that the team’s payroll will be “most likely lower than last year.” Now, to a cheapskate like me, that sounds good, but in baseball terms, that’s basically saying we are signing worse players for less money. Worse than last year? Does that mean they’re shooting for worse than last place in their division? Seems like odd timing for the team to admit they’re not going to be better right after the season ticket holders had to commit to their tickets. Seems like a bait and switch to this observer.
All this led to both Sam Kennedy and Craig Breslow getting booed at their own winter fan event at MGM Springfield. What a bad sign that is when your weirdo all in fans that go to an event in Springfield that is just a pep rally for the team, boo the ones running the team. Even known Red Sox apologist and Draftkings employee Jared Carrabis, struggled to name the Red Sox biggest stars on the team. Embarrassing to say the least when your biggest fans sound more like haters.
This is bad enough, but then this afternoon I stumbled on a video on twitter from Liam Skiffington, a Red Sox daily content creator, listing all of these things in a great concise way. This led to some even bigger revelations…
According to multiple sources, season ticket holders were informed on January 19th that prices would be increasing. If you remember, that is just a couple days after they had to commit to the tickets on January 16th. Now that just isn’t puffing up your team to sell tickets, that is borderline fraud. Now I’m sure there was a disclaimer that read something like, “prices subject to change” but that kind of move feels cheap and dirty. If it’s legal, good move for ownership. But it is kind of a big middle finger to your fanbase. The team essentially promised they’ll be better, didn’t get better, then charged their most loyal fans more money to see an inferior team.
Now this is still a developing story. Details are slim and I am NOT a journalist by any stretch. I’m just a blind gym teacher sitting in his spare bedroom/office. I could be wrong, but I’m probably not. If I were one of these hardcore fans, I would be very upset if my team continued to lie to me like this. This ownership is going to go through a lot of grief this next year. A couple years ago, fans would consider stories like this just nonsense, but now they’re so upset with Fenway Sports Group, that these kinds of backhanded moves will get more coverage. It won’t be long until the Red Sox are already out of contention in late June and echoes of “sell the team” will reverberate through a half empty Fenway Park…