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The Red Sox’ sellout streak likely ends tomorrow

Apr 9, 2013, 4:31 PM EDT

All good things — and all somewhat contrived things which were effected via some slight of hand and promotional trickery — must come to an end:


They’re at 794. I imagine at the beginning they were legit sellouts borne of crazy fan loyalty. The fans are still crazy loyal, but as the Boston Globe and others have reported, the streak has long been sustained by the team simply giving away tickets. Which counts per MLB’s attendances rules, but which sort of undermines the nature of what most people think a sellout streak represents.

Why anyone cares about either the streak or the nature of it is an open question, but it’s been enough of a thing over the years that marking its passing seems appropriate.

  1. normcash - Apr 9, 2013 at 4:38 PM

    You’re right Craig—the “streak” has been fraudulent for quite a while….

    • sabatimus - Apr 9, 2013 at 4:51 PM

      Perhaps, though they are far from the only team that gives away seats…

      • uyf1950 - Apr 9, 2013 at 5:00 PM

        I don’t think the point is that teams give away tickets. I think the point is the Red Sox have represented each days attendance as a “SELL OUT” of the park for the game. Clearly that has not been the case with a lot of the games. Just my opinion but I think the “sell out” announcements and record initially started out as a bonanza for the Sox in PR but now has turned out to be an embarrassment and that’s why it will end.

    • 18thstreet - Apr 9, 2013 at 5:14 PM

      Whatever it was, it was awesome. I’d meet people at Red Sox games in Baltimore who said it was easier and cheaper to travel to Camden Yards to see the Red Sox than to see them at Fenway.

    • paddles57 - Apr 10, 2013 at 11:13 AM

      Have to say that a lot of tickets are purchased by scalpers as soon as they go on sale-so a lot of empty seats could be merely because they couldn’t sell those tickets.

  2. uyf1950 - Apr 9, 2013 at 4:41 PM

    The sad part is there are still many Red Sox fans who have drank from the John Henry kool-aid so long that they actually believe the “sell out” record wasn’t achieved without some “slight of hand”

    • Glenn - Apr 9, 2013 at 4:55 PM

      Really? I think we Sox fans have a little better sense of what is going on with our team than you. Henry Kool-aid? Based on what? They are about as disliked as an ownership group can be, considering the two World Series titles they helped bring to Boston.

      • uyf1950 - Apr 9, 2013 at 5:02 PM

        My friend you are entitled to your opinion. Have a good day.

      • bbgraf08 - Apr 9, 2013 at 6:12 PM

        uyf1950—In this case, I would be very hesitant to call Glenn’s assertion an opinion. It is a verified fact (search the internet) that the Henry ownership group is pretty unpopular among Red Sox fans.

      • uyf1950 - Apr 10, 2013 at 3:43 AM

        bbgraf08, sorry but I just couldn’t help posting this.

    • turdfurgerson68 - Apr 9, 2013 at 6:33 PM

      Nah, every Sox fan has known for awhile that the sellout streak was bogus.

      John Henry Kool-Aid? Never heard of it.

      Cashman Kool-Aid (Yankee fans in denial that their team is gonna finish last)…I’ve heard of that.

    • bbgraf08 - Apr 10, 2013 at 3:20 PM

      Funny commercial, but regardless, this ownership is not well liked around here (Boston), and has not been for a long time.

  3. mybrunoblog - Apr 9, 2013 at 4:43 PM

    The streak has been bogus for a couple of years now.
    Somewhere, Cal Ripken Jr and Joe Dimaggio do not recognize this Red Sox streak as legitimate.

  4. mornelithe - Apr 9, 2013 at 4:49 PM

    Actually according to reports as late as yesterday evening, they had a mere 3000 tickets still up for grabs, and with how the Sox have not only performed but the clubs overall attitude, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the ‘streak’ continue.

    That having been said, it’s quite clear that many instances of the ‘sellout’, especially last year, were buoyed by the front office giving away tickets.

  5. bigharold - Apr 9, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    Unless one is a card carrying member of the Nation who cares about the streak. And, I’d wager a lot of the RS faithful are a tired of hearing about it too!

    • 18thstreet - Apr 9, 2013 at 4:59 PM

      Um, card-carrying? The best way to show you’ve drunk the Kool-Aid (man, I hate that phrase) is to buy one of those cards.

      • bigharold - Apr 9, 2013 at 10:04 PM

        I’m a Yankee fan. I could care less what the Nation calls themselves. It’s just a phrase.

      • 18thstreet - Apr 10, 2013 at 9:58 AM

        As a Red Sox fan who grew up in Massachusetts and left the area to go to college (and now still live outside of New England), I love the nickname “Red Sox Nation.” I think every team’s fan could use their version of it.

        First time I heard it, I was sure it was going to catch on. There’s Red Sox fans everywhere. “Red Sox Nation” does a nice job capturing that. Applies to a lot of franchises, in my opinion.

  6. heyblueyoustink - Apr 9, 2013 at 4:52 PM

    A Ray Stevens picture or reference would have been appropriate here.

  7. hittfamily - Apr 9, 2013 at 4:52 PM

    The Rays season opener out drew the Sox’s 8th game. Time to talk about contracting the Red Sox.

  8. kjericho43 - Apr 9, 2013 at 4:53 PM

    Poor Larry.

  9. flyeredup - Apr 9, 2013 at 4:53 PM


  10. dano1313 - Apr 9, 2013 at 5:01 PM

    I think you meant “sleight” of hand. “Slight of hand” would be someone like that Kristen Wiig character who has small hands. Or Yu Darvish (according to Yu Darvish and Nolan Ryan).

    • jwbiii - Apr 9, 2013 at 6:08 PM

      Or Mordecai Centennial Brown. . .

  11. danindelray - Apr 9, 2013 at 5:18 PM

    What matters is that long before the shenanigans started with the ‘streak’, Red Sox Nation surpassed then utterly destroyed the prior record set by the Indians.

    That’s an accomplishment to be recognized.

  12. mungman69 - Apr 9, 2013 at 5:27 PM

    Good for them, I guess.

  13. dowhatifeellike - Apr 9, 2013 at 6:12 PM

    And the Orioles deal another blow to the Sawx.

    Fenway capacity during the streak has averaged about 36k. It currently has the 4th fewest seats of all MLB stadiums.

  14. jt2663 - Apr 9, 2013 at 6:43 PM

    The sox may have given away tickets and “sold out” but how many teams do you know that can give out their tickets but still not “sell out”?

    • uyf1950 - Apr 10, 2013 at 5:43 AM

      Probably a reasonable question. I’m sure their are quite a few. But considering that Boston is a major Metropolitan City and considering there are no other MLB teams I believe in it’s bordering states (discounting MA. western boarder with a section of NY state). Also keep in mind Fenway Park is not very big from a seating capacity standpoint.
      In 2003 the seating capacity was less than 35,000, even to present day it only seats just about 37,500. I think because of the relatively small size of Fenway It is/was easier for the Red Sox to give away enough tickets.
      BTW, your comment sounds like a rationalization of the record. Besides as I mentioned in a reply about to another poster. The issue isn’t that the Red Sox gave out tickets or at least it shouldn’t be, in my opinion the issue is they gave away tickets BUT represented the games as “sell outs” when they clearly weren’t.

  15. simon94022 - Apr 9, 2013 at 8:40 PM

    MLB counts attendance the same way the NFL does — tickets sold. Tickets given away are not counted as part of “attendance.” Conversely, seats that someone has paid for do count, even if no one uses those tickets.

    So the Globe is wrong. You can’t manipulate MLB attendance numbers via giveaways. A team could buy up its own tickets, but that requires paying extra money to the visiting team so it’s not usually worth doing for some minor PR boost. The Marlins did that at the end of the 2002 season, and the Oakland A’s did it a few times under Charlie Finley in the 1970s. In both cases the motive was to avoid reporting humiliatingly low attendance for the season.

    The NBA and NHL are different. In those leagues, teams CAN pad their numbers with giveaways, and their reported “attendance” is basically a made up number.

  16. schmedley69 - Apr 9, 2013 at 9:04 PM

    Meanwhile, the Braves’ sellout-less streak marched towards 1000.

  17. schmedley69 - Apr 9, 2013 at 9:04 PM

    Meanwhile, the Braves’ sellout-less streak marches towards 1000.

  18. dexterismyhero - Apr 10, 2013 at 3:14 PM

    Ben Affleck & Matt Damon disagree.

  19. soxfan1966 - Apr 10, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    Given that Fenway is one of the smallest ballparks in the Major Leagues it is not surprising that they managed sell-outs for so long, but I don’t think a lot of Boston fans really truly cared about “The Streak” anyway.

    However, the method used by the Boston front office to determine a sell-out is no different that that used by other sports teams. They all have a tendency to inflate the “sales” figures by including give-away tickets and donations. No big deal. It’s all marketing. Simple fact is that prior to last season there weren’t too many times since 2003 that you saw too many empty seats in Fenway. Sell-outs or no, the Red Sox consistently pulled in huge crowds to their home games.

    That being said, I was at the Boston/Texas game on May 15, 2003, which is the game that began “The Streak” — took in a cold night game while on my honeymoon. I think the temperature that night was about 45 F.

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