There have been numerous boasts from professional sports teams across the world regarding sellout streaks. However, nobody really knew which ones were to be believed. One that was confirmed to be true was that of the Boston Red Sox of Major League Baseball. The ball team sold out 820 straight games at its home of Fenway Park before seeing that streak come to an end on April 10. It’s believed to be the longest sellout streak in major professional sports.
The streak didn’t end by just a few tickets though as the Red Sox saw it come to a conclusion with about 7,000 empty seats in the stands. The official capacity for evening games at the stadium is 37,493, but just 30,862 tickets were sold for their game against the Baltimore Orioles, which they dropped by a score of 8-5. The sellout streak started back in May of 2003 and it also included playoff games. The previous mark was set by the Portland Trail Blazers of the NBA. Portland managed to sell out 814 consecutive home games between 1977 and 1995.
When regular-season games only are taken into consideration, the Red Sox sold out 794 straight contests, which is also a major sports record. Boston demolished the old mark of 455 which the Cleveland Indians set between 1995 and 2001. John W. Henry, the owner of the Red Sox, said that the streak took place at the best ballpark in America and he thanks the Boston fans and players for it. He added that the franchise is looking forward to beginning a new streak and hopes fans in the area will also be able to enjoy their baseball at Fenway Park for generations tom come. (more…)
Johnny Pesky died this week. He was 92 years old. Pesky was a Boston Red Sox legend and a fixture in the team’s dugout for decades. He had a fair/ foul pole named after him. His visage was as symbolic of the team as any logo. What better way to pay tribute to his memory than to have yet another putrid, pathetic, childish bout of finger-pointing?
Pesky’s passing did little to stem the tide of discord in Boston.
For about five minutes we all stopped and acknowledged the passing of a former player, coach, and advisor whose ties to the franchise ran all the way back 1942. A native of nearby Danvers, Massachusetts, he simply belonged at Fenway. Then the proverbial moment of silence evaporated and it was back to business as usual. Which, for this team, means dysfunction, whining, and more poor play.
What exactly has happened in Boston? Despite retaining some of the same names, this club bears little resemblance to the champions of 2004 or 2007. It looks nothing like the teams that were major contenders through the decade of the 2000s. One has to feel sorry for guys like David Ortiz, who have attempted to stay positive while everything around them unravels. When Big Papi remarked that “this team is [expletive] cursed,” he was referring to an Achilles injury. And his invocation of the dreaded word made little impact. But he was more correct than he knew. (more…)
No one’s saying it but the signs are right before our eyes. The Boston Red Sox have been a divided team.
The 25 man squad split into camps. One camp was thrilled to see Terry Francona “leave” town, another clique “upset” that he left, and still other players who just want to play baseball. Owner John Henry hires “old school” Bobby Valentine’s and despite concerns about his abrasive style, everyone hopes for the best. By the end of spring training not only players but front office staff were complaining about Bobby Valentine. Don’t know why anyone should complain or be surprised, that’s Bobby’s history.
Bobby Valentine’s been a lightning rod for trouble everywhere he’s managed. Most of it, self-imposed. The latest flap is over what he said about a Boston favorite, Kevin Youkilis. Valentine went on a local radio show and said, “Kevin Youkilis hasn’t been his old self.” The controversial manager should have stopped right there, but he didn’t. He had to add, “I don’t think he’s as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason!” OUCH…”Not in the game?” (more…)
BY BRANDON J. SMITH, Couchsideshow.com writer
Designated hitter isn’t an easy position to play, even though in theory you’d think it would be. You can relax during the fielding portion of the game, and wait your turn to hit.
Historically this hasn’t been proven true. DH requires an adjustment that most everyday players will struggle to adapt, as it requires a different routine both mentally and physically. Some guys are cut out for it, some aren’t. And now, with the position being used to utilize platoon matchups, there are very few full time DHs. Thankfully there are enough to put together a top five list, so enjoy.
The rookie slugger was dealt this offseason from the Yankees to the Mariners for young flamethrower Michael Pineda, a rare trade of raw talent for raw talent. All the reports over the last several years indicated that Montero didn’t have what it took to be a full-time catcher, and was projected as a DH going forward. He moves from a friendly hitting park in the Bronx to the spacious and cavernous Safeco Field. Montero has power to all fields and most importantly, the opposite field as a right handed batter. The projection system ZiPS says that Montero will hit .257/.322/.438 with 21 home runs and 68 RBI. Consider the fact that Montero will be facing tough competition in Los Angeles and Texas, having to hit the majority of his games in a tough park, and the fact that the Mariners have ranked last in runs scored in the AL the past three seasons. Either way, Montero should far appropriately in his first go around, maybe not Eric Hosmer good, but still good.
Yes, we know that Dunn had one of the worst seasons in recent memory (any way you slice it; a .159 batting average is wretched.) Dunn has been pretty easy to project throughout his career; he strikes out at a high rate, walks at a high rate, and hits around 40 homers per season. Take the good with the bad and he’s been a reliable run producer for the first 10 years of his career with the Reds and Nationals. A move to the White Sox and a permanent DH position didn’t aide his usual stats, but a lack of adjustment in all phases of his game produced a pathetic 11 home runs in nearly 500 plate appearances. What’s even stranger is that he had 75 walks to 66 hits! I wonder how often that happens. Is there hope on the horizon for Mr. Dunn? We believe so, as these types of drastic regressions hardly ever happen, so you’d think and hope it was an exaggerated fluke season. If the law of averages equal out, Dunn should return to a semblance of his former self. (more…)
BY BRANDON J. SMITH, Couchsideshow.com contributor
As part of The Couch Side’s MLB positional power rankings, we turn to Centerfield, arguably one of the more important positions in the game.
But first, here is my 10-6 to build anticipation
Now onto the cream of the crop, the five best centerfielders in the game right now.
The Braves leadoff hitter split time between Houston and Atlanta last season, and he still led the NL in stolen bases with 61. He’s a fantasy goldmine, simply put. He has two gold gloves in his short career, and rates favorably with his defense. What is he expected to achieve this year? The projection model ZiPS has him hitting .270 with 97 runs scored, and 56 stolen bases. I’ll take that, you’ll take that, and we’ll all take that.
This was a tricky one; Ellsbury in 2011 had a near MVP season at the dish, only to have his teammates do their best to sabotage those efforts, which they did. Assuming the Red Sox won’t self destruct with a montage of alcoholic behavior, and unhealthy food choices, they’ll be back in the postseason, and so will the 4th best centerfielder in baseball. Jacoby had a herculean spike in power last year. The HR totals from his first four healthy seasons look like this,
That’s pretty remarkable, almost Jose Bautista-like. The question of whether or not he has a season close to that production remains to be seen, but it would be hard to believe that his peripherals would enable him to improve on such a feat.