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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Maury Brown: After 820 Games, Sellout Streak Ends for Red Sox at Fenway Park

Maury adds…“As poet laureate Steve Perry said, “The party is over. I have gone away.”

Contrary to popular belief, not everyone likes to have their predictions come true. That’s certainly the case here. While each year writers look to predict the final outcome of MLB’s regular season, I’ve tried to look at attendance trends to see what may occur during the season.

The Red Sox were one of those cases. After missing the playoffs in the last day of the 2011 season, the whole “chicken and beer” fiasco, the firing of Terry Francona, the gaffe and ensuing train wreck of hiring Bobby Valentine as Francona’s replacement, the sheen of the 2004 and 2007 World Series wins for Boston have worn off. Throw in a rebuilding phase, and it was time for the Fenway Park sellout streak to come to an end.

The question, really, was when? It seemed certain to be this season, but when in the season was what we all wondered.

Today is that day.

Repoz Posted: April 11, 2013 at 09:10 AM | 36 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: business, red sox

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: April 11, 2013 at 09:22 AM (#4410561)
It was a remarkable achievement.

It's not only the Red Sox that are facing waning passions. The Yankees are coming off a division title and advancement to the ALCS and I haven't seen fan enthusiasm lower since the early 90s. How a team that averaged over 50,000 fans a game from 2006-2008 can not sell out opening day is beyond me.

Prediction: the Red Sox attednance will rebound much faster than the Yankees.
   2. Magnum RA Posted: April 11, 2013 at 09:26 AM (#4410565)
They missed a great game last night. :)
   3. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: April 11, 2013 at 09:34 AM (#4410576)
That was a hell of a game. Could've done without the craptacular finish but it was a fun night. Short rain delays usually add to the fun because people leave and the ones that stick around are usually a little nuts so it's a pretty great atmosphere.
   4. Drexl Spivey Posted: April 11, 2013 at 09:38 AM (#4410581)
I hate the fact that I understand this Repoz reference.

(It's my mom's fault, she loves Journey).
   5. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 11, 2013 at 09:39 AM (#4410583)
Prediction: the Red Sox attednance will rebound much faster than the Yankees.

That shouldn't be too hard to surmise, given the Fenway Park seating capacity.
   6. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: April 11, 2013 at 09:44 AM (#4410586)
Abide with me: do not go away.
   7. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: April 11, 2013 at 09:46 AM (#4410589)
That was a hell of a game. Could've done without the craptacular finish but it was a fun night. Short rain delays usually add to the fun because people leave and the ones that stick around are usually a little nuts so it's a pretty great atmosphere.


Most fun I ever had at a ballgame was an Indians-Pirates game at PNC back in around 2002, notable for:

* Going 15 innings
* Legendary lead-blower Scott Sauerbeck entering the game with a 3 run lead and immediately blowing it, forcing extra innings
* Having a lengthy rain delay after the 8th inning
* C.C. Sabathia appearing as a pinch-hitter and ripping a line drive single
* Garbage bags full of popcorn being handed out to the 75 remaining fans at the 14th inning stretch at 2:30 in the morning
* Randall Simon (you remember Randall Simon, right?) finally ending it with a home run to dead center leading off the 15th
* Jason Kendall catching all 15 innings
* The two teams playing another 15 innings two days later
* Jason Kendall catching all 15 innings of that game, too
   8. Famous Original Joe C Posted: April 11, 2013 at 09:57 AM (#4410598)

That shouldn't be too hard to surmise, given the Fenway Park seating capacity.


And the relative populations of NYC and Boston. Oh, wait.
   9. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 11, 2013 at 09:59 AM (#4410601)
Its disgraceful that New Englanders won't shell out hundreds of dollars to see exciting players like Jonny Gomes, Stephen Drew, and Shane Victorino. For shame! You are bad fans!
   10. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: April 11, 2013 at 10:02 AM (#4410605)
Is anyone else still not sure who is actually good in the AL East?
   11. Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: April 11, 2013 at 10:05 AM (#4410610)
How a team that averaged over 50,000 fans a game from 2006-2008 can not sell out opening day is beyond me.
I sort of thought so too, but aren't single game tickets just absurdly expensive at the new stadium? I can see how a fan wouldn't be terribly jazzed to cough up $100+ (including transportation and/or parking) to take his kid to the yard to watch Ben Francisco, Jayson Nix, Eduardo Nunez, and Broken Down Ichiro face off with Jonny Gomes, Jose Iglesias, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and the the rest of the Red Sox.

You could probably fill the place up at just about any price if the opening day lineup wasn't Cano, Sabathia, Youkilis, Gardner, and a bunch of guys who are lucky they aren't in Scranton.
   12. McCoy Posted: April 11, 2013 at 10:09 AM (#4410612)
Plus nowadays it is insanely easy to buy tickets on the secondary market. So all those people forced to buy season tickets can unload them on the secondary market and the people who want to a game now and then don't have to pay sticker price to do it.
   13. Randy Jones Posted: April 11, 2013 at 10:11 AM (#4410616)
I sort of thought so too, but aren't single game tickets just absurdly expensive at the new stadium? I can see how a fan wouldn't be terribly jazzed to cough up $100+ (including transportation and/or parking) to take his kid to the yard to watch Ben Francisco, Jayson Nix, Eduardo Nunez, and Broken Down Ichiro face off with Jonny Gomes, Jose Iglesias, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and the the rest of the Red Sox.


You can get single game tickets for $30. That isn't outrageous and you can get them cheaper if you go to stubhub.
   14. Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: April 11, 2013 at 10:16 AM (#4410619)
Most fun I ever had at a ballgame was an Indians-Pirates game at PNC back in around 2002, notable for:

I watched that game on TV. Was one of the strangest games I've ever seen. I still have no clue what Wedge was doing in the 11th:
CC Sabathia pinch hits for Dan Miceli (P) batting 9th
t11 4-4 2 --- 3,(1-1) CLE C. Sabathia M. Williams -3% 58% Single to 2B (Ground Ball to Deep 1B)
Jason Davis pinch runs for CC Sabathia (PH) batting 9th
t11 4-4 2 1-- 3,(1-1) CLE M. Lawton M. Williams -5% 53% Single to CF (Ground Ball); Davis to 2B
Brian Anderson pinch runs for Jason Davis batting 9th
Jason Davis pinch runs for C.C., advances to second on a base hit, then is immediately lifted for a pinch pinch runner. He didn't get hurt or anything - he took his normal turn in the rotation a few days later.
   15. AROM Posted: April 11, 2013 at 10:16 AM (#4410620)
The Yankees are coming off a division title and advancement to the ALCS and I haven't seen fan enthusiasm lower since the early 90s. How a team that averaged over 50,000 fans a game from 2006-2008 can not sell out opening day is beyond me.


To be fair, the 2013 Yankees barely resemble the 2012 team. They have exactly as many players in their lineup who started a majority of games for the 2012 Yankees (1-Cano) as Cleveland (Swisher) and Pittsburgh (Martin).

   16. Dan Lee is some pumkins Posted: April 11, 2013 at 10:17 AM (#4410621)
You can get single game tickets for $30. That isn't outrageous and you can get them cheaper if you go to stubhub.
Yeah, that's totally reasonable, especially in a city as expensive as New York. I stand corrected.
   17. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: April 11, 2013 at 10:23 AM (#4410629)
Is anyone else still not sure who is actually good in the AL East?
Apparently it's the Red Sox!
   18. Nasty Nate Posted: April 11, 2013 at 10:23 AM (#4410630)
Plus nowadays it is insanely easy to buy tickets on the secondary market. So all those people forced to buy season tickets can unload them on the secondary market and the people who want to a game now and then don't have to pay sticker price to do it.


This will result in fewer people buying seasont tickets because when they unload them, they are only getting a small fraction of their money back.
   19. Randy Jones Posted: April 11, 2013 at 10:37 AM (#4410644)
This will result in fewer people buying seasont tickets because when they unload them, they are only getting a small fraction of their money back.


Not really, with the Yankees season ticket packages you get a discount on the price compared to single game tickets and you get guaranteed tickets to "premium" games (games against the Red Sox, Mets, etc.). So even if you can't sell the tickets you aren't using for the full price you paid for them, you still might end up paying less for the games you do go to than if you had bought them all individually.
   20. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 11, 2013 at 11:10 AM (#4410681)
This will result in fewer people buying seasont tickets because when they unload them, they are only getting a small fraction of their money back.


Not really, with the Yankees season ticket packages you get a discount on the price compared to single game tickets and you get guaranteed tickets to "premium" games (games against the Red Sox, Mets, etc.).

But the problem for the Yankees this year is that given the depletion of their roster**, which makes the attraction of a "premium" game far less enticing, especially since their main "premium" rival finished 5th out of 5 in last year's ALE. About the only things now that are propping up their season ticket sales are the stock market and that phony "business expense" tax deduction. Unless you're (a) a diehard fan with (b) money to burn, who (c) enjoys sitting through scores of meaningless games against mediocre opponents, there really aren't that many reasons to keep shoveling that much money that far in advance.

**Of their top 10 home run hitters from 2012, only Cano is currently both on the payroll and on the active list. I doubt if even the 1915 Philadelphia A's would've been able to say that.
   21. dr. scott Posted: April 11, 2013 at 11:11 AM (#4410684)
Its disgraceful that New Englanders won't shell out hundreds of dollars to see exciting players like Jonny Gomes, Stephen Drew, and Shane Victorino. For shame! You are bad fans!


Checking stubhub last night and it was twice as cheap to get As tickets in Fenway and Yankee stadium than OCo.

Some of that is because there are so few As season ticket holders, so few tickets on stubhub, but it was still amusing. Cheapest was 9 at YS and 14 at Fenway. Hell, I got 10$ ticks on Monday field level at AT&T park.
   22. Nasty Nate Posted: April 11, 2013 at 11:14 AM (#4410691)
The Sox have a 1:00 pm game scheduled on Saturday. If Friday night's game is postponed due to rain, and a doubleheader planned for Saturday, are they likely to have the Friday night tickets be good for the new Saturday night game or would they push the day game back?
   23. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: April 11, 2013 at 11:24 AM (#4410706)
Dan Lee (14): Thanks for looking that stuff up. I recited the list in post 7 from memory; I was curious to see how many facts I'd remember right. Looks like I got most of them; Sauerbeck blew a 1 run lead, not 3, and in fact Kendall caught the 15 innings and then caught another 15 innings the very next day, not two days later. The Pirates were ####### criminally incompetent. Kendall would probably be on his way to the Hall of Fame had they not abused him.
   24. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: April 11, 2013 at 11:40 AM (#4410733)
The Sox have a 1:00 pm game scheduled on Saturday. If Friday night's game is postponed due to rain, and a doubleheader planned for Saturday, are they likely to have the Friday night tickets be good for the new Saturday night game or would they push the day game back?


I think the Friday tickets would be made up for the night game on Saturday.
   25. Sonic Youk Posted: April 11, 2013 at 11:55 AM (#4410756)
That shouldn't be too hard to surmise, given the Fenway Park seating capacity.


True, but:

“We are proud of this historic achievement,” said Red Sox President/CEO Larry Lucchino. “Over the past ten years, more than 30 million, many among the most sophisticated baseball fans in America, have purchased tickets to see games at Fenway Park. Never in that period was there a crowd less than 32,000. No other club in Major League Baseball can make that statement.


pretty impressive
   26. jmurph Posted: April 11, 2013 at 12:04 PM (#4410775)
many among the most sophisticated baseball fans in America


God he's a jackass.
   27. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: April 11, 2013 at 12:09 PM (#4410780)
Jason Davis pinch runs for C.C., advances to second on a base hit, then is immediately lifted for a pinch pinch runner. He didn't get hurt or anything - he took his normal turn in the rotation a few days later.


Maybe Brian Anderson was supposed to pinch run in the first place but he was in the can.

The illustrious Jason Davis ended up in the Pirates rotation at the end of his career, when they were in the early stages of the "Trade everyone, throw people into the rotation who have no chance of getting outs, who cares" plan. At least he was better than Yoslan Herrera and Jimmy Barthmaier.
   28. Kurt Posted: April 11, 2013 at 12:10 PM (#4410782)
But the problem for the Yankees this year is that given the depletion of their roster**, which makes the attraction of a "premium" game far less enticing, especially since their main "premium" rival finished 5th out of 5 in last year's ALE. About the only things now that are propping up their season ticket sales are the stock market and that phony "business expense" tax deduction. Unless you're (a) a diehard fan with (b) money to burn, who (c) enjoys sitting through scores of meaningless games against mediocre opponents, there really aren't that many reasons to keep shoveling that much money that far in advance.


My brother had a partial package for years, and finally gave it up this year. One thing he mentioned was that the access to playoff tickets was sharply reduced; I forget the details on how many playoff tickets he could get now as compared to the past but he used to pay for his entire season package by selling off a handful of playoff/Mets games. Coupled with the stubhub thing, he has no reason at all to lock himself into a season ticket package.
   29. Nasty Nate Posted: April 11, 2013 at 12:10 PM (#4410783)
I think the Friday tickets would be made up for the night game on Saturday.


Thanks, that's what I hope (if the rainout happens). I also hope the Price/Lester matchup stays in the early game.
   30. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: April 11, 2013 at 12:11 PM (#4410784)
pretty impressive

No question about that. AFAIC the Boston fan base is right up there with St. Louis in terms of long term loyalty, even if a lot of those sellouts were likely the result of season ticket sales caused by speculators and a relatively small park capacity. But that shouldn't be used to deprecate what's truly an amazing record.

The challenge for any of those currently great "baseball cities", however, will be to see just how much that fan support holds up in the event of a run of mediocre seasons. The Yankees and Phillies may be tested on that before the Red Sox and Cardinals, but you never know what tomorrow might bring. And by this test, you could probably make a case for saying that the most devoted (if masochistic) fan base in baseball belongs to the Cubs. Put those Cubs teams since 1945 in Yankee Stadium and they might have been out of New York before the Dodgers and Giants.
   31. TerpNats Posted: April 11, 2013 at 12:29 PM (#4410802)
many among the most sophisticated baseball fans in America
"That's right, dammit, we're upscale -- not like those Rust Belt rubes in Cleveland who only sold out 455 straight!"

On a more serious note, how about Detroit as a great baseball city? The Tigers traditionally have a good fan base.
   32. Anonymous Observer Posted: April 11, 2013 at 12:50 PM (#4410812)
Jason Kendall catching all 15 innings
The two teams playing another 15 innings two days later


This reminds me of my favorite stretch of baseball over 2 days.

July 7th, 1993, the Dodgers played a night game in Philadelphia that went 20 innings and lasted 6 hours and 10 minutes (which is what, about 20 minutes longer than a typical Red Sox/Yankees game, right?). They then had to fly to New York to play a doubleheader on July 8th. Naturally, the second game went into extra innings, but only 10 innings this time.

Those Dodgers had to be wrecked after that. But, what the hell, instead of 2, let's play 4 and a third!
   33. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: April 11, 2013 at 12:52 PM (#4410813)

On a more serious note, how about Detroit as a great baseball city? The Tigers traditionally have a good fan base.


I remember watching a Tiger game around 2004-2005 and being really glad to see that they had pulled themselves out of their doldrums of 2003. It was always one of my favorite road trips to watch on TV as a kid.
   34. Bob Tufts Posted: April 11, 2013 at 02:40 PM (#4410944)
I think most MLB front offices still sell out on a regular basis....oh, you mean fan attendance......
   35. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: April 11, 2013 at 03:17 PM (#4410990)
July 7th, 1993, the Dodgers played a night game in Philadelphia that went 20 innings and lasted 6 hours and 10 minutes (which is what, about 20 minutes longer than a typical Red Sox/Yankees game, right?). They then had to fly to New York to play a doubleheader on July 8th. Naturally, the second game went into extra innings, but only 10 innings this time.

Those Dodgers had to be wrecked after that. But, what the hell, instead of 2, let's play 4 and a third!


Yeah, my original quote was wrong; the Pirates and Indians played back-to-back 15-inning games, the first of which also featured a long rain delay. So the same total number of innings in two days. Hey, did I mention Jason Kendall caught ####### all of them?
   36. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 11, 2013 at 03:41 PM (#4411010)
Prediction: the Red Sox attednance will rebound much faster than the Yankees.

The grity, gutsy, scrappy underdog Yankees are leading the American League in attendance.

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