I know a lot of Sox fans can't stand Dan Shaughnessy, but I happen to enjoy his column. While The Globe sports writers---or, sadly, soon to be ex-Globe writers if the newspaper folds---take a lot of flack from The Nation, it's my opinion that they're frequently spot-on when they're calling out the team. This article by Shaughnessy says it all, and far more eloquently than I can.
To summarize, the management---mainly, former-Boy Wonder Theo and the world's biggest creep-o-zoid John Henry---is all but conceding next season and calling it "a bridge" year for the Red Sox. Meaning: they realize they can't compete with the Yankees (especially after they signed Granderson) so they're going to use 2010 to give their prospects some time to mature, rather than trading them for a big name and going full-blast at dethroning the Spankboys in pinstripes. Fine. Despite the fact that John Henry is a billionaire who could afford to pay some big game players without clearing out the prospects, that's fine. It's a long-term investment in youth. It siphons all thunder and anticipation for fans going into next season, but fine. It's a plan, nonetheless.
But here's the thing that really irks me: they're still raising ticket prices to get into that crack den on Yawkey Way.
This harkens back to my inexorable loath for the goddamn Pink Hats, the clueless masses of assholes who will pay the money for overpriced tickets to watch a second place team rot in mediocrity just so they can sing "Sweet Caroline" in the 8th inning with the rest of the retards who believe they're taking part in some long-standing Fenway tradition.
Am I bitter? Hell yes, I'm bitter. But it's righteous indignation. The last time I could afford to go to a Red Sox game was in 2003---and even then I couldn't afford it, but my wife bought me tickets for my birthday. But for two of us to go to Fenway for a night now, we're looking at an easy two bills (not including the eight-dollar Dixie cups of Bud Light). When I was growing up, I went to Fenway Park with my father every year, and it was far more of a tradition than singing Neil Diamond with 36,000 other white people who couldn't tell you three other Neil Diamond songs. Granted, my family wasn't poor, but we were solidly middle-class; the same as my wife and I are today. And my son is getting to age where I would like nothing more than to take the boy to a Red Sox game, but it financially isn't going to happen. Why? Not because I couldn't save the money and take him anyway. It would be tight, but I probably could. But it's the principle of it. How can the Red Sox organization, in good conscience---yes, grumpy pants, I realize it's a business, but allow me to be slightly sentimental here---do this to their fans, the people who pay their salaries?
The answer is: they don't give a fuck. They're rich and getting richer. If The Crypt Keeper Henry is reading this right now and would like to send me two free tickets, I'll recant, but that's highly improbable.
So next year, the Sox are playing for second-place in the AL East. Here's the upside: maybe The Pink Hats, having grown so used to watching winners, will grow bored, stop going to the games, and soon, you'll have the real fans back in the park, giving hell to everyone who deserves it.