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Why ending the sellout streak at Fenway Park would be good for the Red Sox

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  August 22, 2012 12:51 PM

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The Red Sox announced the crowd at Fenway Park on Tuesday as being 37,794. It was the 776th consecutive sellout.

It's the longest sellout streak in professional sports history in the United States and has been for a while now.

That's fantastic. The Red Sox and all their fans should be proud of how well the team has been supported over the years.

Now end it.

As the Globe reported earlier this season, the "streak" is a matter of semantics. It's really a streak of distributing tickets, not selling them. It's certainly not a streak of having every seat full. Anybody who has been to a game at Fenway this season knows that.

The streak has become something to ridicule, not to be proud of. Newspaper stories now include phrases like "an announced crowd of 37,794" because we don't really believe the Sox. The streak is routinely mocked on on Twitter and elsewhere on the web.

There have been "sellouts" this season where the park was 65 percent full. Entire rows were empty in right field. You could sit most anywhere you wanted no matter what time you walked up to a ticket window.

In a weird sort of way, John Henry and Co. would actually come out ahead in the arena of public perception if they gave up the ghost and announced what the attendance really was sometime soon. It would be a sign they realize that everything is not all hearts and flowers at Fenway.

It also would be a message to the players and baseball operations department that people are no longer blindly lining up any more to watch a team that has been under .500 for a calendar year now.

Everybody thinks the players are too entitled. A good way to shake that up would be to point at some empty seats and remind them they need to give people something worth paying for.

If the Sox ended the streak, the majority of fans would hear the news and think, "Good, maybe now they'll understand."

The first step to fixing something is admitting there's a problem. By announcing the phony sellouts night after night, the Sox aren't doing that.

It may seem strange, but an announced crowd of 32,672 might be just what this franchise needs.

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