Friday, April 16, 2004

Welcome A-Rod!
Today's NY Times has two good articles marginally related to the Red Sox; one about what A-Rod can expect on his first visit to Fenway as the Yankees and Red Sox open their series tonight, and another story about how teams are finding ways to create revenue given their current physical (ballparks) and financial constraints.

A-Rod: public enemy #2
A-Rod is quoted in the NYT story as saying, "I always felt that it was a compliment to get booed on opposing ground..." but I suspect being booed in Seattle and being booed in Boston will be two totally different experiences for him. And even though A-Rod left Seattle for greener wallets in Texas, Red Sox fans feel like they were left at the altar only to have the groom run off with the bridesmaid. A-Rod is still likeable, but that may be hard to tell this weekend. Lucky for him, the most hated person in Boston plays about 40 feet away from him on defense.
"Derek is the most hated man in Boston," catcher Jorge Posada said. "It's him and Bucky Dent. I think they hate Derek more than Bucky. Aaron Boone was one game. It's all the time with Derek."

Jeter is the Yankee strolling around Fenway Park with what seems like a "Boo Me Forever" label above the No. 2 on his back. Jeter doubted that he would serve as an umbrella for Rodriguez, guessing there would be enough healthy lungs in the house to bury one more villain.

"They've been on me for years," Jeter said.
So there is good news if you're A-Rod. The fans won't really start busting his chops until the 4th or 5th inning -- after they're done with Jeter and have had the requisite 7 beer minimum to officially start the series.

How to squeeze every nickel out of your facility and your fans
I don't know what's more amazing, the fact that the Red Sox find new and more interesting places to stick seats around Fenway, or that fans pay up to $250 for a single ticket. It's understandable that teams need to raise revenues -- especially when the Red Sox have a payroll of $124 million -- but what's more intriguing is that the Red Sox continue to sell out games, season after season, even as prices have seemingly doubled every three or four years (a quick aside: when I lived in Boston in the mid-1990s you could sit in the bleachers for $8. Today it's $20 -- that's only an increase of 150% -- not bad). So I guess the real story here is that because Fenway is so small, and has such a large following, there are enough people willing to fork over the extra cash to see the Sox play -- and they're possibly having to give up other activities (vacations, for example) as a result. I'm sure Henry and Lucchino realize this, so barring a new stadium, I'll be interested to see how high prices will go before fans start voting with their feet.