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Force feed Fenway

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff June 26, 2008 08:57 AM

During my college years, I spent many a night across the border at Ye Olde Olympic Stadium, a generally antiseptic environment where watching a baseball game often denigrated into an experience of the surreal. Three dollar seats, thousands of which went uninhabited, were the ultimate draw, not to mention that new-fangled Iced brewed Labatt’s.

The Expos were good back then, or least in existence, and I found myself often riveted by them on a daily basis, learning to appreciate Pedro Martinez years before he arrived in Boston, erroneously believing that Mike Lansing was baseball’s best second baseman. But going to the games was just ... well, weird for someone who grew up spending summer evenings at cramped Fenway Park. The French, the dome, the deafening din of empty seat backs clapping. It was baseball for sure, but it was baseball as you’d imagine they’d play it one day on the third moon of Bespin.

Apropos of nothing, I remember vividly watching incredulously one night as a car drove from the bullpen, across center field, and onto home plate in between innings, part of a local dealership promotion. For some reason, that sealed it for me. This was the game played in an environment that no other place would ever challenge, a cavernous dump that drew me in for its sheer oddity. I found myself leaving most evenings, shaking my head, "[Insert peculiarity here] would never happen at Fenway."

This all came back to me last night as I watched the Red Sox try, yet again, to force NASCAR down our throats with an embarrassing display of its Roush Fenway racing team, which will make its way to Loudon this weekend. NESN went all out, cutting Nick Cafardo's pregame notebook short (he was only delivering, you know, baseball news) in order to broadcast the pregame ceremony that about 11 folks in the park seemed to give a damn about. After Jonathan Papelbon got the final out, the camera immediately shifted to John Henry's box seats for the reaction of the Roush folks, yet another nauseating moment of self cross-promotion that is the norm these days over on Yawkey.

Of course, there was also a car on the field and a huge checkered flag covering the wall in left with the numbers of the drivers I guess you're supposed to care about. I can't imagine anyone leaving Fenway with a Roush Fenway T-shirt in tow, sort of like those who buy a Stuart Scott catchphrase T-shirt at Disney World. One has nothing to do with the other, except blatant corporate synergy. Congratulations if you're sucker enough to fall for it.

For two nights this week I just wanted to watch a baseball game, and was instead greeted by an endless stream of "Praise Remy" and "Watch Car Racing" hammerings. It's gotten to the point where you can't wait for the Red Sox to be on the road, where there's less chance of the Sox/NESN/Dunkin' Donuts using the sport as a means to delivering their message of monetary importance. And while we're on the subject, I loved the virtual neon "Sox Appeal" billboard behind home plate Monday night. Why would I want my eye to divert to the plate when I now know that load of garbage is coming back later this summer?

That would never happen at Fenway…

It is what it is, of course. Fenway Park, for all the praise heaped upon it as an ancient jewel in a sea of cookie-cutter and retro stadiums, is in reality still more amusement park than ballyard of yore these days. That's fine to a certain extent. But when all the peripheral stuff gets in the way of enjoying a baseball game, it reaches the point of intrusion, the feeling of being taken advantage of by these corporations. All because you dared to just enjoy nine innings.

This is all part of the territory. If you want to enjoy a winner year-in, year-out, then you're going to have to endure those who also want to attach themselves to a winner. The Jordan's Furnitures, the NASCARs, the (ahem) "alternative" hats are all along for the ride. No problem. Plenty of room on board.

But when those same companies force you to listen to them while you're just trying to watch Josh Beckett paint the corners, with little-to-no commentary from the booth because the particulars are busy helping to shill Carl Edwards and Co., that's an issue. When you're sitting in your tight grandstand quarters listening to an "alternative" hat on the cell phone, asking what the score is, and producing his or her Red Sox Nation card to prove one's fandom, that's a problem. When you're embarrassed to take your kid to a game on the road for fear of the derision you're due to receive from the hometown fans because of the group of drunken f-bombing fans in your section doing their best to speak for all Red Sox fans, that's a concern.

Yes, Fenway is a happier place these days, but let's not fall for the folly that it was a depressing landscape prior to 2002. It was just different. Remember when it was a big deal that the team decided to mix in rock music with the organ? John Fogerty blared over the loudspeakers, and we debated its value.

Now, a Ford Fusion roams the warning track and we nary bat an eye.

We are reaching a saturation point here. Every night is an event, another opportunity for the Red Sox, NESN, and their revenue partners to sell us something else. I understand the need. But when it gets in the way of my enjoyment, that's when I have a problem. And let's be real here, this was not a good week as far as that is concerned. Not to get all "In my day…" on you, but things have gotten worse, not better.

Then again, I remember paying $3 for a seat to watch a baseball team that played in Montreal. I'm not quite sure how I can express that sentiment without sounding old.

222 comments so far...
  1. This "Red Sox Nation" is not a nation, it is a cult, formed,
    cultivated and developed to make even more money for the owners. I'm
    all for capitalism and making money but at the price of alienating the
    core and original fans? It has gone too far. I'm waiting for when each half of inning is sponsored by a different company...That will officially be the end for me.

    I am a die-hard fan and have been since I was a kid, but I cannot take
    the onslaught anymore. I will not step foot in Fenway, nor can I
    stomach watching the games due to the sideshow that they have become
    thanks Jerry Remy's antics, Jerry Remy night made me want to gag - I had to turn off the TV and get the box score the next morning because of it.

    Many times I've wished that the Red Sox would return to being the cellar dwellers of the AL east just to get rid of all this insanity…Sad but true. I want baseball, not spoon-fed corporate crap that is a corporate promotion that is designed to look like a baseball game...

    Posted by Bob June 26, 08 10:23 AM
  1. and you're point is......what exactly? That it was better when the teams and ownership were awful and dysfunctional.

    As long as there are championships and competitve teams involved year after year I can deal with all the other nonsense. You seem to have a problem with Capitalism. This ownership group has invested extensively in the Red Sox. What they get in return is to squeeze every nickel they can from that investment. What's the issue? I just don't get it. Yoiu seem to like to complain for the sake of complaining.

    Posted by Matt June 26, 08 10:33 AM
  1. I as well went to many a game at Stade Olympique and was always bemused by it. They had the t-shirt rocket guns, girls dancing in tight jeans on the scoreboard and Youppi being Youppi. Still most nights I had fun there.

    I despise what Fenway has become. First of all with all the improvements it is still a place that can only hold 25,000 fans comfortably. Fenway has become a theme park.

    I was recently in Chicago and went to games in both parks there. Wrigley is also a theme park and frankly in horrible shape as the Chicago Tribune has done little to improve the park. US Cellular Field is actually more enjoyable to simply watch a game.

    However the bottom line is the Red Sox have now won 2 championships with a good chance for more. as long as they keep winning I guess I can put up with the pink hats.

    Posted by Kevin June 26, 08 10:36 AM
  1. Hit the nail on the head. I have had the pink hat conversation multiple times, and tried to explain it wasn't the new fans that bothered me, as much as the "You love Fenway, so we reserve the right to shovel as much bs down your throats" mentality of the new ownership.

    Posted by Bob June 26, 08 10:49 AM
  1. I went to a game at Olympic Stadium about ten years ago and had fun. Took the Metro and everything. Montreal remains one of the most beautiful cities in the world to me ( yes nicer than Boston) and I have done some traveling. Sammy Sosa hit a home run pre-steroids days and all was right with the world. I want to sound old also...

    Posted by The Kid June 26, 08 11:13 AM
  1. I totally agree. It's out of hand. NASCAR mixed with baseball? Disgusting. J. Henry should be ashamed for creating this unneeded hoopla.

    Posted by BTM June 26, 08 11:28 AM

  1. I certainly agree about being embarressed by Sox fans on the road...I was in Baltimore when Manny hit his 500 home run; the drunken ex-frat boys with their drunken ex-frat dads betting on the last out of each inning was obtuse and the potty mouthed nnot so young anymore ladies (drunk, of course) sitting with their 70ish mom, letting a string of f-bombs evacuate from their diarriah mouths was only matched by their suggestion I put ear-muffs on my 11 year old son to obscure their diatribes, which had nothing to do with baseball.....so many of the "nation" are confinced they are not having fun unless the are stupidly saturated with alcohol and ruining someone else's fun......sad but true...grow up.

    Posted by Sal Paradise June 26, 08 11:34 AM
  1. How old are you? 100? Give me a break. This ownership has done nothing but put a great product on the field. Are the promotions over the top at times? Of course, but I will happily deal with them and I will continue to enjoy the product on the field.

    Get over yourself.

    Posted by Tom June 26, 08 11:51 AM
  1. Fenway was so green (with paint, not money) in the rebroadcast of Remy's first game in the booth. I understand the ads pay players. Still, Remy's very purpose has been reduced over the years to reading promos about 50% of the time. My least favorite is, "and now here's a non-sequitur about Covidien...," which doesn't even have a loose tie-in to "whenever the Sox record a save" or something. Terrible.

    Posted by Brian W. June 26, 08 12:08 PM
  1. Don't act like you're just getting to this point now. You've written a similar piece a couple of times each year for the last three or so.

    You can't have it both ways, you know. You can't praise the owners for maximizing value on the park and the team, which allows them to foot the bill for a consistent winner, and then complain about the ways they make that money.

    And, once again, you're romanticizing the past. There were plenty of f-bombs resonating throughout the ballpark long before 2002. I've been ashamed of most Red Sox fans for years and it didn't start with pink hats (which are fairly innoccuous, in my opinion).

    Posted by J-Bone June 26, 08 12:08 PM
  1. You don't have to buy anything other than your ticket to the game. Just sit back and enjoy whatever they've got going on. The game will be played and played well.

    It was either this or building a bigger ballpark. I'll take this any day.

    Posted by Big Sexy June 26, 08 12:16 PM
  1. I agree with your sentiment somewhat, but at the same time this is the ownership group that got my Dad (who has always insisted he hates baseball) to call me at whatever crazy time of night game seven against the Yankees ended in 2004 with a tremble in his voice saying 'THEY DID IT'. If I have to put up with this cross promotion crap so be it, this team is a winner and after suffering for so long this is gravy time and I'm enjoying it.

    Posted by T-Rock June 26, 08 12:24 PM
  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you for bringing this up. This stuff is BS. Just give us baseball, thank you very much. On another note, the Red Sox want to have it both ways regarding the environment. On the one hand, they show off their new solar hot water system, which I applaud. On the other hand, they promote a team for NASCAR, which is a heinous polluter. How people can derive entertainment from auto racing while the planet is dying is beyond me. How many gallons of fuel are burned when you combine what the race cars use and what people use to get to the race? Johnny Damon and the 2004 Red Sox many have been "idiots," but nothing comes close to the idiots who are NASCAR fans.

    Posted by boo-boo June 26, 08 01:03 PM
  1. Hey, how about you suck it up and let Henry do whatever he damn well pleases. Afterall, how many rings do we have since 2004?

    Posted by Jaba June 26, 08 01:12 PM
  1. I can't argue with the points you make but they continue to put a winning product on the field year after year, have the 5th (?) highest pay role in baseball, yet have to pull in dollars playing the in smallest park in the majors. As much as all the shameless self promotion is annoying and takes away from the game.... I enjoy a watching the best team in baseball too much to complain.

    Posted by AC June 26, 08 01:22 PM
  1. I too am appalled at the choices being made for broadcast. A few weeks back, there were pre-gameceremonies to honor Jon Lester for his no-hitter and Manny Ramirez for hitting his 500th home run. NESN apparently could not find the time to squeeze these events into their pre- or post-game broadcasts.

    Isn't it still supposed to be about baseball?

    Posted by gloreedays June 26, 08 01:25 PM
  1. Go Rays! Lifelong Sox fan here who's getting more and more turned off by this corporation.

    Posted by Eric June 26, 08 01:37 PM
  1. Henry and his boys have brought 2 CHAMPIONSHIPS to Boston. As long as they put a good product on the field who cares what he wants to do with pregame. We always need something to complain about I guess.

    Posted by Matt June 26, 08 01:40 PM
  1. I couldn't have said it better myself. That's why i listen to the broadcast on the radio; don't get me wrong Remy and Orsillo are great, but i can't stand the promo guy's voice for NESN....i'd rather Listen to Joe Morgan than here that guys voice.

    Posted by Steve June 26, 08 01:41 PM
  1. Thats probably the most on point piece I have read in a long long time, I couldnt agree more. Thank You for expressing that opinion.

    Posted by matthew st.pierre June 26, 08 01:43 PM
  1. I completely agree. Another thing that annoys me is the X Corporation "Play of the game" and the Y Corporation "Call to the bullpen" and the Z Corporation "Catch of the game" etc., etc. The Brave New World is here and our soma is consumerism. It's relentless but I agree that its intrusion on baseball is especially annoying.

    Posted by Larry Einzig June 26, 08 01:53 PM
  1. Eric,

    Well Said. As soon as that deal was announced. I knew we were going to be bombarded with NASCAR adds, interviews and special promotions. Even WEEI had a driver on yesterday afternoon. The hosts didnt even know what questions to ask him.

    I love the success that comes with having one of the highest payrolls in the leage and the advertising money that needs to supplement ball park revenue. I can deal with the pink hats, the happy-to-be-there crowd, even commercials for Sox Appeal--but I dont need to see 11 shots of the Rousch Racing Team. Dont forget to pick up your Rousch Fenway Racing Card--it is the only way to prove you are a true fan of the Rousch Fenway Team.

    Posted by steve June 26, 08 01:55 PM
  1. I agree wholeheartedly. That foolish Jerry Remy Day was the worst yet. He was a no-one when he played here. He's even more of one now. Unfortunately, he doesn't get it. He really believes he's a celebrity. What is wrong with the people who listen to him? Half the time, I find myself muting the TV so I don't have to hear him. He's nauseating. The worst is when he's hawking scorecards. Who wants his autograph? The only autograph I'd want on the scorecard is of the person who threw the no-hitter, not the guy in the booth. Please, please NESN do something about him and his giggling. Because 10-year-olds hold up signs with his name on them to get on TV, does not mean that he is famous. Anyone worth their salt in baseball knowledge would be happy to see him go.

    Posted by Mary June 26, 08 01:58 PM
  1. I couldn't agree with you more! I don't get a chance to get to Fenway Park since I don't live in the Boston area but I get force fed whatever NESN is promoting during home stands. I didn't mind Remy Day. I like Jerry Remy and think he is great for the NESN Broadcast. However, I am so sick of hearing about Sox Appeal. The one justice that is done for me is that Sox Appeal gets blacked out because I'm outside the Boston viewing Market (I get NESN via Sattelite television). But what does irk me is when NESN tries to cut the post game show early to air that piece of garbage. You are supposed to be watching baseball, not conducting a date at a baseball stadium. Dumb! Dumb! Dumb! The ones on the date at Fenway Park look like a bunch of idiots.

    Let me enjoy my baseball and my baseball team, the Red Sox. I don't really care about what you are trying to sell me.

    Posted by Danny June 26, 08 02:02 PM
  1. Great stuff, Wilbur - the commodification of the game of baseball (and all professional sports) has been a growing problem over the past couple decades. It's understandable that ownership groups want to make a profit on their product (as well as recoup some of the money they shell out on things like player salaries, charitable enterprises and ballpark renovations), but there's a line that's been getting crossed over and over again due to the fact that the owning of a baseball team seems to have become a billion dollar endeavor. Does NESN really need to sell individual spots for trivia questions during their broadcasts to Afflac? Who cares if Amica is paying for a percentage of the air time in tonight's interleague matchup? It's a fine line and it seems in this day and age that those of us that just want to slump in the couch and watch the Sox game after a day of work or school will be forced to put up with an endless slew of advertisements looking to pique our interest in their products. All I know is that I'll draw the line when we start seeing patches on the hats and jerseys of players like they're Arena Footballers or something (come to think of it, didn't they wear Covidien patches on their jerseys when they were in Japan?).

    Posted by ChrisH June 26, 08 02:07 PM
  1. Do you want them to field a good team Eric?
    SUCK IT UP!!!!

    Posted by seth June 26, 08 02:13 PM
  1. And yet its still not as bad as most parks. No fire works, no endless scoreboard messages screaming "cheer" because the fans are too stupid to know what's happening, no crass between innings promotion.

    If they want to fill the time before the game that's fine. Once that first pitch is thrown though, all I care about is the game.

    Now if only we could do something about the wave. . . . (don't people realize that's a football thing). At the very least, don't start it in the second inning.

    Posted by JRF June 26, 08 02:26 PM
  1. I could not agree more. And Remy's hocking all his business ventures at the expense of the game is not why I pay my cable bill. I want to discuss the game.

    Posted by Dan June 26, 08 02:27 PM
  1. Quick thought for you, how do you make a living? Oh, thats right, because the Red Sox are popular and draw a sell out crowd to Fenway every game of the year. If you are looking for a no thrills, just baseball setting, my cousin plays T-ball for hingham, you should write about his thrilling games and see how much you will get paid. Good luck

    Posted by Jay June 26, 08 02:33 PM
  1. Mr. WIlbur,

    I could not agree with you more.
    While new ownership has done a great job of letting the baseball operations people work with autonomy, and develop young talent instead of going the free agent/trade route, they have also turned a game at Fenway into a complete spectacle (as you so eloquently point out).
    They have gone lowest common denominator in encouraging Kevin Millar-like behavior of the fan base every step of the way.
    Thank you for being the first person at any or the major papers to bring such subject matter to light.
    Boston is better than this...in every aspect... another example is WEEI, the most ignorant radio station in the country...Boston radio can be better, and the people will listen.
    They always boast their ratings, but it is Boston...any sports talk station
    Also, Jerry Remy, and Don Orsillo have to go.
    The Boston sports teams, and media spend too much time listening to unintelligent comments from the masses.
    Unlike them, i have to get back to work, but again thank you for such an article, and please keep pushing these great points.

    best,
    DS

    Posted by DS June 26, 08 02:37 PM
  1. I am a Red Sox fan, born and raised in Montreal. A true french canadian Red Sox fan. And I have to say I am quite upset at how the french are perceived by Mr. Wilbur in his article. What is he implying exactly by "the french" when referring to his moments at the Olympic Stadium? I find this generalization about the french disrespectful and therefore, I voice my displeasure. Why should it accepted to talk about the french like this? Had it been a people that constituted a larger percentage of the American population, I think apologies would have been requested. Maybe I am overreacting, and if so, I apologize for it. Maybe all these years of frustration as a misunderstood baseball fan in a city where hockey is religion has finally gotten to me...

    Posted by Guillaume Phaneuf June 26, 08 02:40 PM
  1. Thanks, Eric, for giving ink to a problem that's been bothering me for a long time. I understand Mr. Henry needs to maximize revenue to have a winning ballclub, and so I tolerate signage on the Monster, the dozens of Dunkin Donuts signs behind Tito at the press conferences, etc. But when we come back from a commercial "break" to then have to listen to Orsillo or O'Brien joined by the guy from Sullivan Tire or whoever DURING THE GAME, this is where I draw the line and go from understanding fan to pissed off fan. Games are sold out so already I have to spend over $500 online just to get my wife and two kids and myself to one game this year and get pretty mediocre seats. I'm not complaining about that. What I don't want to see is what Eric is talking about-- interference of what should be play-by-play and/or color commentary with commercials. This goes beyond the saturation point and infringes heavily on the enjoyment of the game by the most informed baseball fan base in the U.S. It disrespects us-- and it needs to stop. If not, it's only a matter of time before this huge turnoff has us turning off Sox games.

    Posted by Tim Rhys June 26, 08 02:46 PM
  1. Not only was this a great post about corporate foolishness, I learned something as well: Bespin has moons! To think I only knew about Cloud City.

    You're a damned Renaissance Man.


    Posted by c greene June 26, 08 02:53 PM
  1. wow, you think fenway back is bad? have you been over to the garden recently?

    Posted by 26point2 June 26, 08 02:56 PM
  1. Thank you!! I couldn't agree more. I remember the sacred place (Fenway) as it was and sincerely wish it would come back. I don't care about NASCAR, or about Sox Appeal (pathetic). Just gimme the game, please

    Posted by Karen N June 26, 08 03:01 PM
  1. We all have our visions of what the baseball experience 'should' be. Obviously one element of Eric's dream is an absence all the commercialism- does that mean you pine for the ad free, crypt-like 'nothing but green' Fenway of the late Yawkey era? Where the only pre game options meant the filth of the old Cask & Flagon with its Bud only stench stained carpet, or that nasty cat on the bar of the Baseball Tavern? When the field seats were empty of Miss P. Hat, and in her place was the drunk and disorderly dad with his 7 year old kid he was 'looking after' for the weekend? Where we paid not to see the world champions but a few washed up, slow as molasses, injury riddled but extremely overpaid free agents finish next to last in the standings? I was at the game last night and I believe the crowd paid just as much attention to the pre game ceremonies as they do every night- which is to say not much. If you don't like it Eric, you should do the same. There is a direct correlation between all the 'distractions' and the quality of the product on the field. Learn to deal with it as I dealt with the negatives of the past..

    Posted by MJA June 26, 08 03:04 PM
  1. Stop being a little bitch who care's, before fenway look like a dump I took 5 years ago and yoru crying a about a little nscar, boo hoo, baseball is boring as it is, by the 6 inning all there taking baout was he rem dawg i took a dump the other day and felt good, boo hoo I could careless.

    Posted by mark walburg June 26, 08 03:05 PM
  1. I agree with you 100%. The only problem is that it took you 3 years to realize it. It started in 2006 and has only gotten worse in 2007 and 2008.

    Stick to the Patriots and the Celtics. The Red Sox are just selling out. Then again, I'm not the official commenter of the Boston Red Sox so who am I to talk?

    Posted by Jackie Brown June 26, 08 03:09 PM
  1. Very well written entry, I must say. And I completely agree. Its come to a point where watching the game on TV is almost untolerable, but listening to it on the radio is getting just as bad (frankly, I don't care about the Giant Glass Giant Part of the Order, the On Deck with Azek Trimboards Inning, or the latest big company basing their charitable contributions on a foolish statistic).

    Posted by Timm June 26, 08 03:14 PM
  1. Great Article.....I went to my one and only game of the season last night with my Dad simply because EVERYTHING is too expensive. Our view of the game was blocked literally every 20 seconds by different vendors throughout the entire game.

    It would be nice if the game became more than 50% of the overall circus atmosphere. Thanks for putting this is perspective!

    Posted by Craig Buttner June 26, 08 03:14 PM
  1. Let's face it - if it wasn't for the Red Sox, no one would watch NESN. They have to try to keep the viewers sucked in long after the last pitch. But it's just plain ignorance throwing something like "Sox Appeal" at us. Obviously that's geared toward the "alternative hat"-wearing crowd. And when they broadcast an early season Sox game over a Bruins playoff game, you know where their priorities are.

    Posted by Jerry Remy June 26, 08 03:15 PM
  1. What you have to remember is that the Red Sox organization does a small fraction of the number of giveaways, theme nights, and other gimmicky junk you find at almost every other ballpark in America. And anyway, despite the crass commercialism and tenuous cross-promotions, we still have Fenway. Not the Citizens Bank Park, or Comcast Field. FENWAY Park. Do you know how rare it is nowadays to have even that? The Red Sox have an official cheese doodle and there are Pepsi commercials at the movie theater; it's irritating, it's unnatural, and it's the way the world works in the 21st century.

    Posted by samkat June 26, 08 03:17 PM
  1. Eric,

    You obviously weren't at the game last night, as they gave FREE $110 Tickets to the NASCAR Race at Loudon to all RSN Members.

    Do yourself a favor and check some of your facts before you somehow compare an old, dilapidated Olympic Stadium to Fenway. Who do you think pays for Lugo's $9m salary?

    Posted by marc June 26, 08 03:18 PM
  1. What else would you expect from a network that incorprates a one-hour pre- and post-game show into its broadcast every day! Clearly they don't need all that time to cover the baseball news. Oh, I forgot the extra half-hour on Mondays and home game Fridays.

    Save yourself the anxiety and do like the rest of us - skip all those minutes of hype and ads and just watch the game, flipping around to one of the other 200 channels when you need a break.

    Posted by DJ June 26, 08 03:28 PM
  1. AMEN!!!!!

    I have been totally disgusted with the in game promotions and views of the broadcast booth instead if the field. Tell me where I can register more complaints to get through to the NESN nuckelheads.

    Tom

    Posted by Tom Paquette June 26, 08 03:31 PM
  1. Amen! I was watching the Sox on ESPN2 last night and even on that station there was a half-inning of Roush Racing. I, of course, turned off the sound. I just want to watch the game and hear the commentary about the action on the field. All the rest of the non-baseball stuff is distracting to me and quite unnecessary.

    Posted by Geo. June 26, 08 03:33 PM
  1. In that vein, I was on the highway in CT listening _ or wanting to listen _ to how Wake was fooling batter after batter for the Diamondbacks when the talk turned to some Volvo dealer pitching special limited-edition red cars for Sox fans. This went on endlessly, during game time not between innings. I switched to the Yankees game, where at least the commentary was about the play on the field!
    As you say, the price of being winners.

    Posted by Kevin from Rye June 26, 08 03:35 PM
  1. Eric, your words ring so true. The Sox Brass will tell us that if it weren't for the corporate tie-ins, we'd be paying twice the going rate for tickets.

    I remember only 10 short years ago being able to grab a seat in the right field bleachers on a regular basis...for nothing, nada...in the 8th inning after my work shift at the Pru. Unfortunately those days are gone, at least until the Sox hit the skids and the sell-outs come to an end.

    Until then, we're privy to the best of what baseball has to offer...at a price. I'm a Sox fan for life, but I won't be able to take my son or daughter to many games. I guess Pawtucket will just have to do (which ain't a half-bad place to go).

    Posted by Tim June 26, 08 03:40 PM
  1. To John Henry:
    NASCAR SUCKS! We dont care about your dumb racing team, stop shoving it down our throats. We are baseball fans, not racing fans. We arent hicks.

    Posted by Bobby June 26, 08 03:41 PM
  1. It does seem that NESN is going overboard on everything but what most of us want. BASEBALL & RED SOX News!!!!!

    Posted by Ted M. Williams June 26, 08 03:42 PM
  1. Great piece Eric.

    Let us not forget that the Sox brass is force-feeding us this corporate stew while charging some seriously steep prices.... that is if you are lucky enough to get your tickets straight from the Sox box office. If not, you are probably taking out an extra mortgage to buy a couple tickets from an 'Official Ticket Source of the Boston Red Sox'.

    Posted by Rob June 26, 08 03:50 PM
  1. 100% percent correct. I found myself yelling at the TV last night when some guy in a NASCAR baseball jersey was rambling with men on 1st and 3rd with 1 or 2 outs and zero game commentary.

    Posted by Adam June 26, 08 03:51 PM
  1. Damn that was well said....enough is enough. Thank you Mr Henry, Werner, and Lucchino for what you did for the BASEBALL TEAM but spare us your other money making ventures, we could care less!

    Posted by Brian June 26, 08 03:53 PM
  1. Amen!! Thank you for writing this Eric, it is what I've been thinking for the last few years. It is a freaking circus at Fenway now - sideshow after sideshow.... I feel like I am at a Single A game when I am at the Fens.

    Posted by Pete June 26, 08 03:55 PM
  1. Eric, You said it. I get so bombarded with those ads that I only remember how much I hate them after a game. Will never buy anything that feels the need to annoy me too much while I try to enjoy something as simple as a baseball game. Ad people forget that too much exposure creates an enmity with their product that hurts sales.

    Posted by Lance June 26, 08 03:57 PM
  1. well said

    Posted by kcurtin June 26, 08 04:05 PM
  1. AMEN

    Posted by Maureen June 26, 08 04:05 PM
  1. BOY, do I agree with you! I've been a Red Sox fan my whole life and 2004 was a joyous moment for me (like everyone else in this area). 2007 told us we had really turned the corner; great stuff. I'm delighted we now have an organization that's smart about baseball and a team full of talent with the added pleasure of watching our own farm-system kids make their way to the majors and do well. There's no doubt it's a great time to be a Red Sox fan.
    HOWEVER, if the try to sell me one more lame thing while I'm trying to watch a baseball game (from NASCAR to the phony-baloney "Red Sox Nation," I'll throw up. I've always liked Remy, but now that he spends most of his time hawking something -- for himself or the Red Sox -- it's getting REALLY old.

    Don't they understand they are ruining the "product"? There was a period when they were first starting to transform the organization that they needed to add resources, but now they've started to reduce the payroll (while improving the product) and this should continue. It's time to start cutting back on their endless promotions before they find they've hollowed out "Red Sox nation" and only have the bandwagon folks left. If that happens, they'll see they have only a house of cards.

    Elizabeth in Portsmouth, RI

    Posted by Elizabeth June 26, 08 04:08 PM
  1. well said sir.

    I'd buy you a beer, but at $7.50 per 12oz, its a little beyond my means.

    Posted by Bob from work June 26, 08 04:08 PM
  1. I didn't have too much of an issue with Jery Remy day since at least he has a direct connection with Red Sox baseball, although it would have been nice if they could have found a little more time to pay attention to the game rather than the parade of VIPs in the booth.

    As for some of the other promotional stuff; I just deal with it. If it gets too much to take when the game is on NESN, maybe I'll do the same thing I do now when it is on FOX: turn off the sound and turn on WEEI for the play by play and commentary.

    Posted by Dave June 26, 08 04:14 PM
  1. It seems like every channel is guilty from time to time of having people visiting in the booth who have nothing to do with the game, not just NESN. The only time I ever enjoyed it was I think last year during a national broadcast (may have been during the All-Star game, I can't remember), when Jackie Robinson's widow was there. I can remember nothing about the game but I can remember her stories. I could have listened to her all night.

    Posted by catsduck June 26, 08 04:15 PM
  1. My son and I both agree the Red Sox are turning into the Yankees in the way they splash money for a Japanese shooting star, auction off the Monster seats and created the nauseating 'Nation' thing. I don't need a card to know I'm a fan, my grubby old hat and the remarks I get from Yankee fans at Dunn Tire Park when I go to see the Pawtucket boys is enough. We actually don't care if the Sox win again for a while...as long as the Yankees don't make it, I'd like to see the Cubs or the Pirates win the series.

    Posted by John Lent June 26, 08 04:16 PM
  1. Dear Mr. Wilbur,

    Have you taken a look at the Boston Red Sox Ownership/Cheerleader Departme...... err, Boston.com the past couple of years?

    "Celtics win NBA Championship - How Does this Affect The Red Sox?"

    "Patriots in SB Tomorrow Looking for Perfect Season - Will Manny Ramirez' Housekeeper be Rooting for the Giants?"

    "Deval Patrick Becomes First African American Governor in Massachusetts History - Kevin Cash Once Knew Someone Named Deval"

    'The fault, dear Eric, lies not in the stars, but.........."

    Posted by Balty June 26, 08 04:21 PM
  1. Amen, amen, amen! Couldn't have said it better myself. I have been a fan for 41 years and never, ever will pay for a membership to prove it or wear a pink hat!

    Posted by Kathy Munroe June 26, 08 04:24 PM
  1. YOU COULDN'T BE MORE RIGHT. BETWEEN THE PINK HATS, WHO DON'T HAVE A CLUE ABOUT THE GAME, THE CORPORATE YAHOOS WHO THINK THEY SH.. ICECREAM AND THE REDSOX THEMSELVES WHO PROMOTE, OVER PROMOTE AND PROMOTE AGAIN SOME DUMBASS THING I COULD NOT CARE TO GO TO A GAME. BACK WHEN I WOULD GO 10 -15 GAMES A YEAR. NOT NOW. NOT THAT I COULD AFFORD IT.

    Posted by SAM June 26, 08 04:26 PM
  1. Eric, I couldn't agree with you more! You are right on about everything being overexposed, to the point of what I call "ad nauseum of ads."

    Watching a game on NESN has increasingly gotten worse. Last week during a Sox/Phillies game, there was a close play at 2nd base, but rather than showing the replay of it, NESN diverted the viewer attention to "try the new breakfast sandwiches at Dunkin' Donuts" promotion. A few minutes later, after another play worthy of commentary or at least replay, they again had Don and Jerry promoting another product/sponsor.

    It has reached a point where we can now say "I was watching a commercial when a Red Sox game came on"

    Posted by Tony Moy June 26, 08 04:28 PM
  1. NASCAR has no buisness being advertised at the ballpark. A bunch of people taking right turns at high speed? Doesn't make sense to me. I've been to three races and still don't see the appeal except for the beer.

    Posted by JP June 26, 08 04:29 PM
  1. I could not agree more! It is almost painful to watch the NESN broadcasts of the games anymore! Last night's "event" seemed to go over like the proverbial "lead balloon" with the crowd! Zzzzzzzzz.

    As for Remy Day, it was fun - for about 2 minutes.....but having to endure what seemed like countless on-field introductions and video highlights during the pre-game ceremony plus the endless array of broadcast booth moments with celebrities that took place throughout the game (far worse than the 1-celebrity-visit-per-game that now takes place on the "other" station during Monday Night Football) was absolute overkill!

    Posted by Lane June 26, 08 04:32 PM
  1. Thank you Eric. You have validated my reasons for not attending a Red Sox game since 2001.
    Most of these "Red Sox Nation" numbskulls pay $200 for a seat a Fenway not to watch the game, but to tell everyone they know that they WENT to Fenway.

    What is this...f**king L.A?

    I pray for the Sox to tumble into mediocity and get dropped by John (I know how to buy a title) Henry and Co. faster than Britney Spears knocking down tequila shots.

    Maybe then, the "pink hat" crowd will move onto the next trendy bit of nothingness and REAL baseball fans will be able to return to Fenway again....and maybe even take their families too.
    Wow, watching a ball game at Fenway with my kids....what a concept.

    Posted by Dunlop June 26, 08 04:33 PM
  1. You, my friend.. are so right.

    Posted by KMK Foley June 26, 08 04:36 PM
  1. you obviously use the thesaurus option when writing your articles. You are a wanna-be Bill Simmons. Problem is that the sports guy doesn't need to sound like a harvard grad to write well.


    EW:My apologies for being literate. And isn't calling someone a wanna-be Bill Simmons kind of lame at this point? Anyone who touches finger to keyboard gets automatically labeled a poor man's Simmons. Get over it.

    Posted by mj June 26, 08 04:36 PM
  1. Best blog entry I've read on this site in years. Thanks for speaking the cold hard truth, Eric.

    Posted by Matty the D June 26, 08 04:40 PM
  1. unfortunately your comments are not limited to Fenway park, but extend to the American society as whole which has basically sold itself out for a cell phone and text messaging. Geoff Goodwin, Bangor Maine

    Posted by Geoff Goodwin June 26, 08 04:41 PM
  1. I get the Sox through the MLB Extra Innings package here in Virginia, and I used to enjoy it when it the game was a NESN feed. But lately I have become extremely annoyed by the endless selling. Every time Remy breaks into one of those loud sales pitches between batters I have to turn down the volume. Luckily the Extra Innings package cuts out all of the pre and post game promotions.

    Posted by David June 26, 08 04:47 PM
  1. Good for you Eric. Love the management, but they've got to keep the excesses under control. Thought Dr. Charles leaving would help, but it's even worse now.

    Posted by KG June 26, 08 04:48 PM
  1. That's why I abandoned the "big leagues" for the minors nearly twenty years ago. You could sit in Pittsfield, in Burlington, in New Britain and Norwich, still see a baseball game, and actually afford it. If I had a car right now, I'd be seeing the Rox play.

    Posted by Ravenswing June 26, 08 04:49 PM
  1. That's why I abandoned the "big leagues" for the minors nearly twenty years ago. You could sit in Pittsfield, in Burlington, in New Britain and Norwich, still see a baseball game, and actually afford it. If I had a car right now, I'd be seeing the Rox play.

    Posted by Ravenswing June 26, 08 04:49 PM
  1. Thanks Eric, you really nailed the issue with this article. I chalk some of this up to the "price of success." But they clearly go too far and in my view it's embarrassing. The game should always come first. But these guys feel the need to inject extra entertainment value into it, while hocking hot dogs, raffles, membershipo cards and clumps of dirt.

    Posted by Ogie Oglethorpe June 26, 08 04:55 PM
  1. I gotta say, I'm back and forth with you on this one. [Side note to MR. Wilbur, I went to/ski bummed at UVM & if you just crossed the border in your college days to go to Montreal, I'd have to say you went to UVM, St. Mike's, or maybe Champlain College, but anywho...].

    Here's the deal for baseball purists: the histroy of baseball is mostly swaddled in over the top promotions and advertisements. Both in the interest of the ownership and for advertisers (which is the true contrast of your Montreal car promo - and advertiser, and the Sox promo - which is self-promotion really). Only in our lifetimes (read 30-40 yr olds) have stadiums & promotions been so 'clean' (although, the dico demolition night may argue that point).

    [Not directly related, but the only reason roger Hornsby's card is so valuable is that he stopped production because it was issued by a tobacco company].

    Look at minor league parks now -- speaking of Nascar, look at the signage all over the outfield... that used to be in MLB too. Signage everywhere is not new. Ellsbury hocks Owater - Teddy Ballgame pitched Moxie.

    Hey, I'm just not willing to get on a gripe train about 'how commercial' we are. as long as no one is being sacrificed on any altars in the name of advertisers, the price of success is commercial viability.

    We can now watch every single game on TV in high-definition. I'll take it.

    Posted by TH June 26, 08 04:57 PM
  1. I couldn't have said it better!

    Posted by T.C. June 26, 08 04:58 PM
  1. fantastic column, eric. starting with those awful gimmicks known as the monster seats this ownership has relentlessly tried to sell the red sox tradition and fenway's soul for more and more money. From the vulgar gimmicks like neil diamond on the big screen to nascar drivers on the field and absurd ticket prices and concession prices, it only gets worse every year as more saps buy into it and real red sox fans become more alienated and priced out of enjoying their team at fenway. I don't care if the red sox have a high payroll, Henry, Luchino, and co are all millionaires many times over, and only purchased the red sox in order to make even more money, and their profits are soaring considering all the money that nesn and merchandising brings in. It pains me to see what the red sox have become, and often i find myself shaking my head wondering what ever happened to the team's soul.

    Posted by Sam June 26, 08 05:00 PM
  1. Man, take it easy. Just because you don't like Nascar doesn't mean no one does.

    Posted by ugh June 26, 08 05:00 PM
  1. Eric, when did you get so cynical? Honestly, I've been reading regularly for a few years now and I can't think of the last time you wrote incitefully about the game. Your pieces used to give incite that most other sources didn't. Now all I see is anger-filled rants.

    Posted by Nojybles June 26, 08 05:04 PM
  1. Right on, Eric. Anyone who cares about NASCAR is bad enough, but anyone who cares about it enough to cut away from a baseball game needs to be relocated to North Carolina for rehab. As for the pink hats, Nation membership cards, and Sox Appeal, please pass the barf bags.

    Posted by Ken June 26, 08 05:05 PM
  1. Get over it. This is what professional sports has become. It's not about the so-called "true fans" as you might claim to be. It's all about marketing and making money. Why do you think athletes are paid so much? Because sporting giants like the Red Sox take in so many sponsorship dollars. If it bothers you to see this and here it, turn off the tv and listen to the radio.

    Posted by G June 26, 08 05:06 PM
  1. Eric, go away or grow up and be happy that we have ownership who puts effort into being financially successful while putting winning teams on the field. This is so lame that one would suspect that CHB had penned it.

    Posted by Backwoods Dog June 26, 08 05:07 PM
  1. The problem, and this isn't a revelation to anyone, is the ticket prices. I used to spend all of my summers coming up from NJ to my Aunt's house on the Cape. My Uncle would take me to 10-15 games over the summer, with tickets he bought from a coworker. We'd often see a lot of the same people at every game because their tickets were in our section. Now when I go to Fenway, because the average fan can't afford to go to a bunch of games, every game is an event. Forget the NASCAR, Remy day, Alternative hats(although I wore won for the Celtics last Friday, and still stand by my statement that the Sox wear green, so green is the only other hat you can wear), most of these fans savor every moment at the ballpark and really forget the game. How else can you describe the crown getting as excited as they do for "Sweet Caroline" when the team is losing 6-1? It's their only time at the ballpark because taking the family of four to sit in half decent seats is easily a $500 trip. When you only get to go once, the game almost becomes secondary.

    Posted by Eric Discher June 26, 08 05:07 PM
  1. You hit the nail right on the head. Fenway's a great experience, but enough is enough.

    Posted by Dan June 26, 08 05:13 PM
  1. THANK YOU!!!! I think you speak for millions of true Red Sox fans who are sick to death of the band wagon, pink hatters, and beautiful people who only attend games because the Red Sox are "in."

    Posted by Brian F. June 26, 08 05:14 PM
  1. You could not say it any better.I live outside of Richmond Va and actually stopped wearing my Red Sox hat because I was so tired of "fans" questioning my motives if I was a real fan or from New England(which I am)but that's not the issue.It's about baseball not arm candy in pink hats.But I guess it is the price you pay.I don't remember people acting like the sky was falling after a loss,even in 1986.The only thing I remember was the Celtics.I guess they are next.God I hope the bruins keep loosing!

    Posted by Greg Papakostas June 26, 08 05:17 PM
  1. I agree. We don't care about NASCAR (even the 2nd rate Rousch team).
    Lets try to get hits when the bases are loaded by getting back to basic baseball.

    Posted by Andy June 26, 08 05:17 PM
  1. This is the single greatest thing you have ever written Eric. EVER.

    I am at this point, embarrassed to be associated with this team and apalled by the lack of respect this ownership group displays for both the dignity of the franchise (we have none left; last night's NASCAR debacle was the final stake in the heart of it), and the intelligence of the fans (Sox Appeal, shoving NASCAR and every other product under the sun down our throats, talking about Red Sox Nation and it's citizens as if it issues passports, etc. etc.).

    I am officially done. Yes, we have two championships, but the franchise I loved has been whored out and destroyed by the marketers. I sometimes honestly wonder if those championships were worth the price to our collective dignity.

    Posted by Reynolds June 26, 08 05:24 PM
  1. i agree, we do not need remdaug anymore

    Posted by jim jackson June 26, 08 05:24 PM
  1. Well said! The Kid PA announcer needs to go,along with all the silly stuff lets get back to baseball thats what made it fun!!! This stuff may fly in tampa bay but has no place in the hub

    Posted by Mike Snow June 26, 08 05:24 PM
  1. Someone finally said what we have felt for years now (at least since 2005). The pink hat wearing, cell phone yapping, getting up to cross an entire row of seats during the inning "fan" has now taken full strangle hold over Fenway. I guess they all think that for the price of their scalped tickets they can party and act like they do at home during the game. Have another $8 beer.

    The show you so well describe is because the current fan base accepts it.

    WE DO NOT!

    Thanks for speaking out.

    Posted by Lee June 26, 08 05:25 PM
  1. You're not old unless you remember $2.75 bleacher seats at Fenway.

    Posted by mikey June 26, 08 05:26 PM
  1. BRAVO Mr Wilbur... you said what many true Red Sox fans (no card needed here) have been feeling for quite a while now. I travel to Tampa and Baltimore regularly for away games and it is embarrassing as hell to be lumped in and associated with the loudmouth drunken Sox fan who thinks based on 2 championships in 4 years he has the right to bark at the moon. For God's sake grow up before Red Sox fans become the scourge of the league... like Yankee fans!

    Posted by Donald June 26, 08 05:28 PM

  1. Eric. I agree the Sox are turning Fenway into a side show.
    Fenway should be baseball. I agree the new owners have done a wonderfull
    job in improving Fenway to a great ballpark. But trying to cram auto racing
    down the fans troat is to much. The new owners should realize baseball fans
    are not auto racing fans. If you ask the average sox fan if he or she ever went
    to a auto race track, I bet 90 per cent would say no.

    Posted by Terrence Economy June 26, 08 05:41 PM
  1. Thanks for posting this. I was telling my wife last night as we watched the game how sick I'm getting of all this Red Sox branding. I still believe the Red Sox are an institution, but this ownership group seems to think that they have carte blanche in their business dealing because they are sitting on two championships in four years. Fans need to speak up like you have here today.

    Posted by Jay Breen June 26, 08 05:47 PM
  1. In reference to another story on boston.com, this is EXACTLY why we hate the pink hats. They symbolize the larger problem -- we are becoming the Yankees.

    Posted by Denise June 26, 08 05:51 PM
  1. Yep, oh yeah, Hollywood has taken over Fenway (among most other sport venues) It's too bad that you can't just play baseball/ football / hockey / hoop anymore, I guess there is not enough money in that...It's all the "sports" now, er, I mean "entertainment product on the field" , there has to be lights dancing, bikini's music, fireworks...every regular season game has to now incorprate the hype of a super bowl and we keep watching it! Sad indeed.

    Posted by Jay June 26, 08 05:53 PM
  1. Amen brother! Keep preaching the word! It's getting to be tooooo much.

    Posted by Dennis June 26, 08 05:54 PM
  1. Sounds exactly right to me. I live in Texas now and used to follow the Sox through DirecTV's MLB package, but the endless cross-promotionalism and inanities of Jerry Remy and Don Orsillo induced me to cancel that package and simply follow the progress of the Sox online. I also used to manage to get tickets and make the pilgrimage to Fenway once or twice a year every year, but have stopped doing that the last couple of years for the same reasons.

    Posted by Erik Von Handorf June 26, 08 06:09 PM
  1. I had to turn the game off on Remy night with inning after inning of them photographing old-timers talking in the booth. They didn't even show most of the pitches in several innings. If they made a TV show of that circle j*** no-one would watch.. As you watch the away games you realize no other teams use their coverage of the game to show other TV show during the innings. When I turned off the game I watched it on Gameday on MLB.com for a few innings. Around the 8th they started showing the game again.

    Posted by JimS June 26, 08 06:14 PM
  1. You are absolutely right. I couldn't believe Don & Jerry had to interview those race car drivers while the Red Sox were up to bat and had men on base (I forget the inning). If they are going to interview someone in the booth, they should at least keep the camera pointed toward the field. The constant promotion definitely takes away from the enjoyment of watching the game. It's sickening.

    Posted by John T June 26, 08 06:18 PM
  1. EW-

    I think you are being a little tough on the guys. I went to the game on Tuesday for Remy Night and we enjoyed watching the pre-game festivities. We all had a good laugh when they played some of the NESN bloopers from years past on the Jumbotron. In my opinion missing a bit of pre game is a small price to pay to honor a man who has dedicated most of his adult life to this franchise through good times and bad. As far as Roush Fenway, sure it might have been a bit of a shameless production but I think most fans understand and accept that Henry and the Brain Trust need engage in revenue generating partnerships like this in order to put a World Series contender on the field year after year. I can deal with a few Dunkies commercials and Carl Edwards as long as we keep getting pennants and rings.

    Sincerely – JB


    Posted by John June 26, 08 06:19 PM
  1. Eric Wilbur, you speak for the majority of Red Sox fans.

    None of us could have said it better. I totally agree with every single thing you said.

    Hopefully, Red Sox brass will get the message that enough is enough.

    Jerry Remy is supposed to be an analyst, not a shill for millions of dollars in revunue when all is said and done.

    High definition is great but all the commercials in between pitches is getting to be too much.

    I could go on and on but we both know nothing is going to change.

    Nice try, anyway. The gool old Red Sox baseball telecasts are just a memory.

    Keep up the good work. You are now our official spokesman.

    Please run for president of Red Sox Nation next year!

    Posted by Fred Gladu June 26, 08 06:22 PM
  1. I think you agree with my opinion but I want to say it anyway. I really don't like the huge Gulf sign beside the Monster nor do I like the Mass Lottery sign in Center field or any of the other huge obnoxious signs that adorn the lovely Fenway Green of our great park. But our park is still the BEST and it sure beats the heck off that dump in the Bronx. We as Red Sox fans have to understand that Fenway is smaller than a lot of stadiums and we have one of the highest payrolls. If me becoming a card holding member of Red Sox nation will help pay for a tank of gas for Youk to get to the ball park I will gladly do it. Yes sports athletes are over payed but they bring a lot of pleasure to me and my family. We live in Memphis, Tennessee and watch the Red Sox every night on the Extra Innings package by Comcast Cable. And the Red Sox brought my family close together and gave us alot of pride when they won it all.

    Posted by Josh Gray June 26, 08 06:23 PM
  1. Right on Eric!!!!! I have an eight year old boy, it's like going to Disney, once your in you start to bleed major cash. Red Sox nation is bordering on the absurd.
    The game is a sideshow now. NESN is shameless indeed, nothing like the pre-game show brought to you by a ticket broker(scalper) charging 1000% mark up for the underprivileged unable to afford season tickets never mind a single game.

    Posted by Jim June 26, 08 06:24 PM
  1. I couldn't agree more. I don't want to sound like an old crank either, but it seems like there's NEVER an inning in which Remy and Orsillo are just calling the game. I can't stand trying to watch baseball while an endless parade of guests visits the booth. It's ridiculous. I'd rather listen to the radio. On the other hand, there was a NASCAR driver being interviewed yesterday on the radio as well. ENOUGH already.
    MORE BASEBALL, LESS P.R.!!!

    Posted by Jim Donohue June 26, 08 06:30 PM
  1. THANK YOU. Doesn't Remy get enough face time calling the games, having numerous commercials, and selling every damn thing he gets his hands on? Does "the president" (ugh) really need a 40 minute pregame ceremony? No, every night is Jerry Remy night on NESN, and it's not like I don't enjoy his commentary but really that's all I want from Remy, baseball commentating and to correct Orsillo when he gets something wrong. As for the racing bit, I know racing is popular in this country these days, for the life of me I can't understand why, but I understand it. However, again we don't need to have a ceremony before the game and even if you insist on having one we don't need to show them on camera after every pitch and we don't need an interview with them in the booth. Just show the damn game.

    Posted by Nick June 26, 08 06:32 PM
  1. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    It's gotten to the point where these two Sox fans don't even bother to listen to the gawdawful blathering issuing from NESN's pathetic team of shillsters....I can't count the number of times I've screamed at the TV, "FORGET (fill in name of corporate sponsor here) TELL ME WHAT JUST HAPPENED IN THE (fill in appropriate expletive here)GAME!!!!!"
    If they're not selling, they're just blathering...I really don't give a rusty hoot about how hard it is to get to the ballpark in Philly and park, TELL ME WHAT JUST HAPPENED WITH LOWELL'S AT BAT FOR CRYING OUT LOUD.
    I want announcers, not "personalities" or used car salesmen.
    So now we turn on the television, hit the mute button (that button was probably invented by some frustrated MIT grad who was sick of Remdog and Co.) and listen to the radio instead.
    Hey, it's always a half-play ahead of TV (why? why? it's the same game!) AND it's actually semi-oriented toward explaining the game.
    Most of the time.
    In short, I couldn't agree with you more. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    Posted by Downeast June 26, 08 06:34 PM
  1. Amen, brother. The worst part of it all: it just doesn't seem that very many people care. Hopefully I'm wrong about that.

    Posted by derek Curtis June 26, 08 06:35 PM
  1. Right on the money, I can't agree more. I honestly feel bad because poor Eric Wilbur will soon be out of a job, but I agree totally. I was also very annoyed when they spent at least it seemed like 5 minutes DURING THE GAME interviewing these NASCAR hacks whom I honestly don't give a hoot about. No offense to NASCAR or racing fans in general, if the opposite were true (5 minute Big Papi Red Sox interview during the race) I'm sure that sentiment would also be felt. This ownership, with all the great things they've done and in winning the 2 titles, in my opinion is losing that with the over the top marketing and exploitation they've done in the fandom (I'm looking at you, Red Sox nation useless memberships!).

    Posted by Joe June 26, 08 06:42 PM
  1. Perfect! I couldn't agree with you more. The Roush/Nascar debacle nearly put me over the edge.

    Posted by Rick Duggan June 26, 08 06:43 PM
  1. Amen, man. Baseball should always stay the focus, even when the necessary advertising has it's place. But can we keep our Green Monster green, our beer cold, and our fans knowledgeable and passionate?

    That is the true mark of a championship team and championship city.

    Posted by Andrew June 26, 08 06:44 PM
  1. They don't have to force feed me. I love them both!
    I was wishing I was there last night. 800HP at Fenway must of sounded good

    Posted by Tim June 26, 08 06:48 PM
  1. amen to you brother. like many "old" red sox fans i am sick to death of remy's self promotions and those hideous in booth interviews where everyone concerned seems so stiff and are trying , oh so hard, to be funny.
    one evening , one "guest" blathered his way right through a critical sox double play without the slightest reference to the ongoing play. the continuous public service announcements, the constant ads , the wave, the 31/2 hour games, the pre-game show, the post game show, terry's take, the remy report, that silly sox appeal, john henry's booth, on and on and on and on.
    baseball has been taken over by the money grabbers both on and off the field. outrageous ticket prices, watered down beer, poles, poles everywhere.$3.50, water--can you imagine that?

    Posted by homer brently June 26, 08 06:48 PM
  1. I couldn't agree more. Watching the totally Plastic Sox announcers blather about NASCAR while guys like Youkilis are growing ulcers because Bill James just might find numbers justifying their being traded to K.C. is just too much. At least do the theactrics a little better. Really, Remy & Orsillo standing up there like Breshnev avatars! Too, too much.

    Posted by Edgar McGarvey June 26, 08 06:50 PM
  1. Right on ! Most of us want to see baseball and the "other stuff" is creeping in and getting absurd. I love Don and Rem Dawg but their incessant chattering about Sox Appeal is getting nauseus.

    Posted by Wayne E. Blanchard June 26, 08 06:51 PM
  1. great article....i'm in tampa bay and i see this dog and pony show every time i'm at a game down here...i thought that it would be safe when i go back up to fenway to see a game. apparently i need a red sox nation card just for admission. also, i cant forget to get my girlfriend a pink redsox hat and eat a remdawg. how about just enjoying a game without corporate america trying to sell me NASCAR shirts and a wally the green monster shirt?

    Posted by Mike June 26, 08 06:52 PM
  1. In total agreement, not to mention the constant self-promoting drivel out of the mouth of a 60s-70s era second baseman, turned mediocre analyst, who can't hold a candle to most other self-respecting analysts!

    Posted by Bill June 26, 08 06:53 PM
  1. I agree completely; I am kind of embarrassed at Remy Day, Sox Appeal (the worst), Red Sox Nation (complete with an election for president)....everyone at the game seems to be on a cell phone....I wonder if anyone keeps a score card anymore

    Posted by jan June 26, 08 06:55 PM
  1. Nice post. Something that needed to be said, and from the heart.

    Posted by Irish Sean June 26, 08 06:56 PM
  1. Thank you for saying what needed to be said.

    I feel a fan manifesto coming on…

    Can we get a moratorium on Red Sox Nation™? Unfortunately, the term has been appropriated to the extreme. I’m sorry, but there is NO Dunkin’ Donuts Nation™.

    And when will the drunken shenanigans start to wane? I love a beer just as much as the next guy, but let’s take it easy. To all the men in the Red Sox’s beloved 21-35 year-old demo: Relax, it’s just a ballgame. If guzzling brews is all you’re about, save yourself and the rest of us the trouble and stay home. Buy yourself a six-pack of your favorite for the price of one beer at the ballpark. While you’re at it, buy a whole package of Fenway Franks for the price of one and stuff your face. Or, feel free to swear all you want in your living room.

    Does anyone else miss the days when July heat waves would keep people home, leaving so many choice seats available for standing-room-only prospectors? Those were the days.

    As far as I’m concerned, the only way to enjoy a Red Sox game is to listen to it on the radio. Do you remember when that privilege was almost taken from us? Better enjoy it while it lasts. I’m sure someone in Red Sox marketing is cooking up a way to ruin that for us, too.

    Posted by Mark G June 26, 08 07:06 PM
  1. This cross promotion you speak of pays the exorbitant salaries of Manny, JD Drew, Beckett, Dice-K etc. Without them we'd be watching the Expos. Oh wait tey folded due to lack of interest. How can you find fault with the current ownership? They cross promote and do gimmick after gimmick to make money. If it's working, it's called success. Apparently, it is. Let me guess, you only have one Red Sox hat in your closet? Unlikely. We all hate high tickets prices and commercials and such but, hey it pays the bills and allows the Sox to get great athletes. If you don't like all the fanfare the Fenway group does....then watch a small market team and I'm sure their will be no hype. Amazing how Tampa Bay is modeling themselves after the Sox success. And it's paying off for them. The formula the Fenway group is using is genius. Henry isn't rich because he's dumb. And you're not rich because....well...you know.

    Posted by Mike June 26, 08 07:13 PM
  1. I couldn't agree with you more. Even worse is the bandwagon fans doing the wave in a close game while the Sox are rallying. Can't they save that nonsense for blowout games (or other stadiums) rather than blocking my view of a potential game-deciding play?

    A bunch of sheep who are more concerned with amusing themselves than enjoying the game that they paid to see.

    Posted by Jack June 26, 08 07:18 PM
  1. right on, eric.

    Posted by DCHusky June 26, 08 07:26 PM
  1. good lord man...you are so so dead on, its out of control, all of it is out of control, the pink hats, drunken sox fans in every road stadium....corperate gimmicks, its gone, I was born in boston, moved to baltimore as a teen, I miss the old empty days of memorial stadium, and always coming home to be able to get a seat in fenway, I waited such a long time to cross into the promised land, now, I really dont like it....what have we become, drunk, obnoxious, rude, with out baseball knowledge, going to fenway is more of a social event, "the place to be" rather than what it is, a mecca....enough already, these comments are not directed at all, just those who tarnish the sox on the road, those who show up in the 6th, those too drunk by the first pitch....pink hats, camos, even t shirts with the players name and numbers are getting out of hand....we now have nickname shirts...JD TEk, stop it......get back to baseball, not this freak show....thank you

    Posted by redsox1975 June 26, 08 07:44 PM
  1. Eric -

    Think it's bad at Fenway? Try going to a game at Shea Stadium. It's an absolute assault on the senses these days.

    My wife and I just took our three children to Fenway this past Sunday afternoon. We had a thoroughly enjoyable time. This past week was the 30th anniversary of my first trip from NYC to Fenway. The Fenway Park of 2008 is cleaner than the one I first encountered, the staff is FAR more fan-friendly, we love the atmosphere around the ballpark, and the five of us saw an exciting Red Sox comeback.

    Posted by Jim Monaghan June 26, 08 07:44 PM
  1. This is so true! I love the new ownership for bringing us two championships, but they've never seen anything they don't want to sell, and that's irritating. I think when they were selling the "Championship Sod" a few years back, that was the first major red flag.

    Posted by SDLiz June 26, 08 07:47 PM
  1. Couldn't agree more....it's a joke. NESN should visit any sports bar during a telecast to see fan reaction to the numerous broadcast booth interviews.

    Posted by Tom Paquette June 26, 08 07:52 PM
  1. your a fool. Just because YOU do not like NASCAR doesn't mean millions of new englanders don't love it. NHMS doesn't sell out every race because its not popular. This is coming from a life long diehard Boston sports fan.

    Posted by Steve June 26, 08 08:09 PM
  1. I could not bear to watch the Remmy night. For once, I was really turned off by baseball and only turned NESN back on once I realized that they stopped Remy talk

    Posted by David June 26, 08 08:26 PM
  1. ...and as each night comes with another promotion or Dunkin' Donuts special, the decade or so since the current ownership took the reigns has seen never-before-seen success in Red Sox Nation, inclusive to both card-carrying "Pink Hats" and the apparent scorecard-toting baseball zealots for which you are apparently so nostalgic.

    Your tone, Mr. Wilbur, comes across as one longing for the smoke-choked Yankee-dominated days of yore, where the "true" Red Sox fans could congregate in homogeneous obscurity to wallow in year after year of Curse-based failures.

    With success comes widespread popularity. Does that really bother you so much? I'd gladly share Fenway Park with a few racecar drivers in return for WS rings...it seems you may think otherwise.

    Posted by The Time They Are A'Changin' June 26, 08 08:36 PM
  1. Eric,

    You need to get a life. I watched both of the games you are refering to an enjoyed them. You are way to over analytical about how the game is presented. I am not a NASCAR fan but I enjoyed listening to Edwards. I loved REMDAWG Night. I guess I am just a Red Sox fan plan and simple. If you don't like them or don't like the way the game is presented then exercise your right and don't go to the games if they bore you.

    Posted by Jim Sass June 26, 08 08:38 PM
  1. Since our team won trhe World Series twice this sort of stuff doesn't bother me very much; the games here are now "events" rather than just ballgames...that comes with the territory of being successfull in the 21st century...and I do much prefer it to "the dog days" of the early 1990s...

    Posted by JoshyR June 26, 08 08:45 PM
  1. Ohh no poor Eric, the last of the TRUE Red Sox Fans! Boo hoo hoo.

    Not for nothing but I remember the $3 bleacher seats from my college days too, went to one game of every homestand,at Fenway no less. But guess what, I like 2 WS wins in 4 years a lot more than watching ob Deer in RF. Rings cost money. The owners know how to make money. Try not to pay too much attention to all the things that bother you. Enjoy the winning seasons and packed houses. It won't last forever.

    Then you can get back to complaining about baseball. Until then,maybe it's time to re-examine what's important in your life.

    Posted by Eric (who lives in a shoebox in the middle of the road) June 26, 08 09:00 PM
  1. Eric, You are spot on. It's sickening listening to all these visitors to the booth during games. Something that also annoys me are these repeated interviews during the game. Usually if you've watched any part of the pregame, you've seen Francona's comments, yet they are repeated as if new druing the game. It's non stop BS.

    Posted by Jeff June 26, 08 09:06 PM
  1. Well said. I could not agree more.

    Posted by Tom L. June 26, 08 09:11 PM
  1. Amen brother.

    Posted by Tom June 26, 08 09:24 PM
  1. Hey lighten up. I remember Fenway in the mid-80s, it *sucked* compared to today. Today, you have a fun experience every time you visit the park. Concessions are better, Rock music is so much better, the park announcer is better, and yes the crowd is much, much better: hilarious rowdies and if you don't like pink hats you're soft as they provide much to look at between innings.

    Posted by Jimss June 26, 08 09:24 PM
  1. Well put. When I go to games where my small share of season tickets seats lies on the aisle, I'm constantly getting up for other people who are going for food, souveniers, etc. And they get up and go back to their seats at the oddest times--I have to ask them to wait before I stand up--Hey, it's a full count, there's a guy on second, two outs, and we're down by one! For some it's like you have to remind them there's a game going on. I have a friend that used to live in SF who says that stuff never happens at Pac Bell (or whatever they call that these days). Not in SF but at Fenway? Say it ain't so!

    Posted by Doug June 26, 08 09:28 PM
  1. Thank you for saying what needed to be said! If John Henry and Co. need to collect more income, they should find a way to eliminate the 400% markup on ticket resale (a.k.a. StubHub Scalping) -- then they could raise prices and still save us money. When marketing overwhelms baseball, the park begins to smell like a certain disgusting "stadium" in NYC, where everything is brought to you by some corporate sponsor. Is that really who we want to be?

    Posted by Dave in Albany June 26, 08 10:04 PM
  1. Well said. I can't afford to get up to the "lyric little bandbox" from CT these days, but I can imagine this relentless immersion in marketing stuff is irksome beyond measure.

    Posted by Mike O'Brien June 26, 08 10:05 PM
  1. Eric, you are right on...I have never agreed more with a column I've read....yep, I'm an old guy (older than you), actually (honest) remember $1 Upper Bleacher seats the day of the game, not at the "Big O", but at our beloved Fenway. I also remember when there was not only no music (other than the organ) but also no adds (other than the Jimmy Fund Sign). Yep, Fenway is a happy place, but it "isn't the same". Thanks for reminding us......when Fenway breaks the records for most sellouts, us "real" sox fans remember when WE could get good seats, and at a reasonable price. Who knows which is better...but it sure is different....great article.

    Posted by Jim June 26, 08 10:08 PM
  1. Amen!

    Posted by Phillip E. Butler June 26, 08 10:41 PM
  1. Eric hit it "out of the park" with his comments. Sell, sell, sell, raise prices, hawk anything. This ownership group is oversaturated itself tenfold. For goodness sake, just let us watch baseball and shut up with all the extraneous crap!

    Posted by Jay Stone June 26, 08 10:42 PM
  1. Amen, Eric!

    Even though this Red Sox ownership has produced two championships for us while concurrently revamping the organization from top to bottom, the business side of the Red Sox enterprise repeatedly crosses the line with stunts such as Eric describes.

    In the end, I guess those of us in Red Sox should consider ourselves fortunate since some years ago, bland and incompetent Red Sox baseball existed at Fenway with crowds in those low thousands. If this is the price to pay for Red Sox success, I'll pay it yet I will grit my teeth!

    Posted by Peter Nanos June 26, 08 10:55 PM
  1. Well written, sound and logical. Couldn't agree more. I muted the television when the Nascar driver was in the booth, but I like Remy getting a 20th Anniversary Celebration.

    I hope ownership and management is reading and understands that there is a fine line between cross-promotion and manipulation.

    The Boston media has also given the Red Sox organization a free pass because of the record success. Winning means everything, but we still need honest criticism when the team moves in the wrong direction.

    Posted by Ryan Dowdy June 26, 08 11:16 PM
  1. You nailed this one. I grew up in Boston several decades ago and then moved to Maryland back in the 80's. For years I would head out to first Memorial Stadium and now Camden Yards whenever the Sox were in town. I always wore my Boston hat proudly, but not anymore. I still go to see the Red Sox when they come to town, but nothing identifies me as a Boston fan other than my cheers. It's not that I don't love my hometown team, it's that I don't want to be lumped in with boorish bandwagoners that now creep into every ball park across the country. The ones who make it their night's mission to get drunk and start a "Let's go Red Sox" chant every five minutes and then taunt the locals when Boston wins. We Red Sox fans used to be everyone's darlings and now we've surpassed Yankee fans as the most hated. Quite an accomplishment.

    Posted by Bill B. June 26, 08 11:44 PM
  1. in an effort to generate revenue in a "small" ballpark in contrast to the modern ballpark . ( see NEW YANKEE STADIUM DUE 2009), the owners and management are doing everything they can to preserve Fenway Park and improve on it each year. Try going to a game in Miami and let me know what a "bad" experience is after you attend!! It's horrific..
    Yes, you sound antiquated and spoiled... deal with it or don't attend the games at Fenway.. I personally enjoy every moment at Fenway. it is the best baseball experience in the league!! I get chills walking into the park... seeing the field, looking at the monster... hearing the sellout crowd night after night.. you should dwell on the positives.. and enjoy it.. in this day.. in this park with the seating... it is necessary to advertise to put a winning team on the field... Arn't you a sportswriter???

    Posted by Shawn Boyle June 27, 08 12:32 AM
  1. Too true ... I watched the Rouch Racing spectacular on the internet NESN broadcast and it made me nauseous.

    WHO CARES

    The Red Sox are endangering their core business with all of this cross-promotional crap getting in the way.

    Posted by Ottoe June 27, 08 01:56 AM
  1. I am the biggest Sahx fan outside New England, but I think I would throw up if I actually lived there again and had to put up with the Rem Dawg Bullshi* 24-7. It is kind of like the Celtics' Cheerleaders.

    Posted by Peter "Stinky" McStinkstein June 27, 08 05:18 AM
  1. Eric,
    Don't get upset....it's the plain simple fact that the more money is involved the more things get screwed up. Who would have ever believed the Celtics would have cheerleaders? And aside from the cascade of horrifying characters that have been doing MNF of late, I get lost with the unbelievable amount of commercials. I barely last past the first drive. How about the ad's on the boards at the Bruins games? Like you, I feel my age when whistfully remembering the way sports used to be. Now for twenty bucks, we have our coffee and donuts at home.

    Posted by Ken Harrington June 27, 08 05:23 AM
  1. Amen.

    I don't see the need of all the extreme measures to extend fandom to the four corners of the universe or to hock every possible money making enterprise to cash in on the recent upsurge in popularity.

    The Cardnials have just as large and loyal local fan base and a game in St Louis is just a baseball game. It isn't "an event", which is exactly what Fenway has become.

    There has to come a point when the owners will realize that you sausage races, car shows and rock concerts are little more than annoying distractions to what is supposed to be a professional sporting event. Do they want to be the dominant "brand" of the league or the best team in it?

    Stop acting like the El Paso Diablos or the Durham Bulls.

    Posted by Mike June 27, 08 05:29 AM
  1. That was perfect. I sincerely hope Fenway doesn't become another Yankee Stadium, where you are bombarded with nonstop Rock music on the public address system and Ads hawked by Micheal Kay & Co. Sox fans in upstate New York have been busting on Yankees fans for years about this. In fact I know numerous Yankee fans who won't even have the volume turned up during a game.
    It would be sad if the Sox ended up in that direction.
    Great article!

    Posted by Vincent G. Ganley June 27, 08 07:06 AM
  1. Dam! Right and Spot on! I feeling like its the Jordan Funriture Sox or Dunkin DOnuts Soxs half the time. Now NASCAR...Im sure that goes over well with the pink hats who cant even tell you who plays 2nd base..never mind where Lounden New Hampshire is and why all these cars are talking a left for 300 miles

    Posted by Keith Durand June 27, 08 07:28 AM
  1. I cant agree with you more. I can see to a certain degree maybe a billboard here or a commerical on NESN (not a cheap segway in the middle of a inning).

    Not to get off topic but it seems many of the writers are talking about jumping ship from Red Sox Nation becasue of the pink hats and the phrase "yankees suck" getting old. I guess you would have to look at it form both angles, would those same fans buy a "Real" MLB hat? or just the pink ones? As bad as it is, its part of the revenue machine we call "Red Sox Nation". Love it or Hate it,its now part of our history!

    Posted by Brett June 27, 08 07:36 AM
  1. When I saw the race cars and the banner on the green monster, I turned to Movies on Demand and rented "National Treasure" for the evening. It was a bad substitute for baseball but the thought of listening to all the crap about NASCAR for two hours was too much.

    I am not a member of "Red Sox Nation". I've been a loyal fan of the Sox since the early fifties and find the commercialization of the Sox annoying to say the least.

    One more thing. Fenway Park is tauted as the majors most beloved ball park is a bunch of corporate propaganda. Fenway Park should be torn down. It is the most uncomfortable place to see a game in the majors and it's impossible to get tickets.

    Posted by Doug Wall June 27, 08 07:48 AM
  1. Bravo Eric. When I was a kid we always planned to get to the game early to see batting practice. What I remeber is hearing the thwack of batted balls and smelling the popcorn. Today you're assaulted by the blasting music and endless promos. Now that I live in upstate New York I catch the Sox on NESN via MLB Extra Innings. It won't be long before Rem Dawg declares "that was the Boch Used Cars 3 and 1 slider for a strike. Now for the Outback Steakhouse Payoff Pitch." It's nearing unbearable.

    Posted by Al B June 27, 08 07:49 AM
  1. Seriously Eric, please stop hammering the "alternative hats". I enjoy reading your columns, but I have to say that it's a bit annoying when you constantly rip on the alternative hats, particularly the pink ones. My wife was not even a baseball fan when we got together and now she watches nearly every game with me. She also owns a pink hat. She may not have the history that you, or I, have rooting on the hometown team, but that doesn't mean she's any less of a fan and she suffered the immediate heartbreak of 2003. My eight-year-old daughter also owns a pink hat, because that's her favorite color, but she loves her Sox...especially Jacoby. Does it really cause you such angst that little girls, as well as women, are wearing pink Boston hats? Really?! Commercialism runs rampant in every venue in every sport and the Sox are catering to the female fan base by offering them another option to show their support. Why does this bother you so badly? Are you sexist and feel that only men, with their traditional blue and red hats should be allowed to support the Sox, or are you just close-minded to change? In either event, I'll just avoid reading your articles from now on....because that's my choice, just like wearing a pink hat is my daughter's choice. Isn't it wonderful to live in a free world?!!

    Posted by Travis June 27, 08 07:50 AM
  1. I was at the second Phillies game and I must say that most of us wearing the "B" hats (some pink ones too) were well polite guests, which is a smart behaviour modification in the "City of Brotherly Mugs".

    I got into some good baseball chatter wtih some nice Philadelphia fans and had a grand old time watching Rollins leap and snag a liner and saying "I wish he played short for us". Then after Lowell made a stop on a screamer down the line and tossed out a runner at first saying "Wouldn't the Phillies like a thirdbaseman like that."

    Eric, as you said, we can have the nonstop commercialism or channel the ghost of John Kiley up to play "Roll out the Barrels" and have the bench and bullpen of the '78 Sox to torture us.

    It would be interesting to see how Theo or CASHman (how appropriate that the the Steinbrenner's GM is named Cashman) would operate on Beane's budget and less commercial hype. But, no, I have to admit I would rather have the perrenial pennant chasers than the ten year waiting (there about) we had with Yawkey, Harrington, and Larue.

    When th ivy comes down and neon Uno ads go up on the Wrigley walls, then it will be time to pack it in.

    Posted by mark June 27, 08 08:06 AM
  1. I think cutting Nick Carfado's on-air time short is probably a good. What important thing was not said as a result of the decreased air time?

    This ownership has enhanced the Fenway experience for the fan at the game. TV advertising allows them to develope and pay for young players. Do you want to go back to the Harrington/Duquette era when they use to paint the ballpark before opening day and that was "it" for improvements.!?

    I'll take 2 world championships and corporate advertising any day over what use to be here.

    If it means having a racecar circle the field- who cares? The last time I checked, nascar is one of the most popular fan experiences in the US of A.

    Posted by larry silva June 27, 08 08:13 AM
  1. THANK YOU!!!! what a fantastic article. you put into words all the thoughts that have been going through my head watching this stuff, especially the NASCAR garbage. wakefield was absolutely dazzling the other night, and it was all i could do to concentrate on the fluttering knuckleball over those drawls talking about how hard it is to drive around in a circle. of course we want the team to make some $$$$ to pay those big salaries, but lets focus on pure competition when the ball is in play.

    Posted by Idontlike Nascar becausemyparents aren'trelated June 27, 08 08:13 AM
  1. I couldn't agree more with this article. I also enjoyed the attached pink hat story thats linked within this one. To bad I had to click through a corporate ad to read it. Way to drive home a point boston.com

    Posted by Mike B June 27, 08 08:27 AM
  1. I completely agree. The only thing I would add is that the park itself is saturated with advertisements. When I was a kid, I remember some, but very little advertisements around the park. Try this next time when you are at the park: Look in any direction and see if you cannot see an advertisement. It is harder than you think.

    Posted by Paul Peterson June 27, 08 08:28 AM
  1. WHOA ACE...LIGHTEN UP...EASE UP ON THE CAFFEINE MY FRIEND!!

    Posted by SIMON June 27, 08 08:46 AM
  1. This is the best column that I've read in a while about the state of Red Sox fandom. Between the outrageous costs of a game at Fenway, and the circus freak show that the Sox have turned into...its ridiculous. I used to have cable only for NESN...I even gave that up and now I just listen to Castiglione on the radio. I paid my dues from Don Zimmer up to the Jimy Williams years, I don't need a Red Sox Nation card or free Jordans Furniture to tell me that I'm a legitimate fan.
    What's Next, are they going to change Fenway's Name to Fenway-Dunkin Donuts Park. Or maybe cheerleaders like the Celtics?
    What will happen to us the pure New England baseball fan that just wants to see a game!

    Posted by William Vigue June 27, 08 08:48 AM
  1. I must admit I am getting tired of the Jerry Remy self-promotions. Could anyone imagine Curt Gowdy or Ned Martin getting into something like that??!!

    There have been too many time when I have tried to watch a game, only to be subjected to the Don and Jerry silly seatson. When they do their jobs and call the game, they do great. When they try to make the game more about them than the team they are covering, they become an obstacle.

    Don and Jerry, if you are reading this, please wake up!! One of the reasons Red Sox fans are so loyal to their teams is their knowledge and passion for baseball. The Red Sox are a team in every sense. They have a great combination of young talent and experienced veterans that will go far. Yet you two seem more interested in yourselves and your egos than in what is happening around you.

    We are a part of one of the most wonderful stories in the history of Boston sports. Enjoy it! Relish it!! And Don and Jerry, stay out of its way!!!

    Posted by Ken Moore June 27, 08 09:19 AM
  1. What the heck does Rene Russo have to do with baseball!!

    I love hearing Remy gripe about the promos... It's like pop-ups and banner ads in the game.

    ...Awww... Good Ol' Montreal... I remember the beer vendors used to slip us tickets to come back... and Youpi bought us a beer after an unfortunate top of the dug-out sliding insident... The fans(what little there were) did love the game... The Majors are definetly a less colorfull place without it!

    Posted by Daniel June 27, 08 09:27 AM
  1. Thank you for that post! I am pretty tolerant of some of the changes and I full appreciation of the ownership group, but when the NASCAR pre-game came on, I turned it off. When they have drivers in the booth, I hit the mute. Don't care, won't ever care, stop trying to make us care. Baseball is a long season so I don't mind a little diversion now and then but that's just obnoxious. As for the pink hats, it's annoying in that tickets are so hard to get but I'd rather sit next to a cute girl in a pink hat that a drunk guy with no shit on.

    Posted by Matt June 27, 08 09:32 AM
  1. I live up in Maine and listen to the Red Sox on the radio every chance I get. I have been doing this for years and it seems now that there is a gimmick for every inning and they are selling advertizing between every pitch. Let's just talk baseball and enjoy the game!!

    Posted by Leonard June 27, 08 09:34 AM
  1. If doing all that stuff allows the Red Sox continue to sign their young talent to contracts that will keep them in Boston and at the same time allow them to compete on the free-agent market, then I am all for it.

    We are no longer in the days of old-timey baseball. It is a business like anything else and businesses need money to remain competitive.

    Finally, the Red Sox could tear down Fenway & build a 70,000 seat staduim, then they would not need to have all those promotions but I don't think anyone wants to see that. It is simply the lesser of two evils.

    Posted by Joe June 27, 08 09:59 AM
  1. As a former minor leaguer 1950's I can understand promotions ,but not commercial ones. Wer had catchers throwing into a barrel at 2nd base,(prize)?a dinner at a local restaurant. Outfield throwing contests, etc. good fun for the fans AND the players.At times a barnstorming team(House of David) Mexican League All Stars would come through. This was entertainment,not commercialism.

    Posted by dickgallagher June 27, 08 10:01 AM
  1. Like anything else, it's still possible to enjoy the good things in life while ignoring the cacophony of banality around us. I like Jerry Remy; I don't like NASCAR. I tune into one ceremony; I tune out of another. I'm sure some did the exact opposite.

    And I don't understand the acrimony against Pink Hats. If I like chocolate cake all my life. And all of a sudden, everyone likes chocolate cake--even though they don't appreciate it as deeply as I do--does that diminish my love of chocolate cake? Of course not.

    I was born and raised a Red Sox fan. And 47 years later, I can tell you the feeling I have now in 2007 is better than the angst of yesteryear. So if they want to bring Lenny Clark to the booth or roll out a--yawn--NASCAR car for me to ignore--that's OK by me ... as long as it brings in the revenue to keep Fenway viable and the Sox winning.

    At least for the time being. Angst is over-rated. Besides, you want anguish? Stick around. There will be long dry spells. Just ask Celtics fans about that.


    Posted by Lafayette Bonaparte June 27, 08 10:21 AM
  1. Eric ... couldn't agree more....

    Its not about baseball anymore at NESN, they're like the WWE...

    I turn the channel when the usual suspects of buffoons parade through the booth..Lenny Clarke, Roush Fenway, CEO-du jour trying to sell something...its nauseating...don't let the fact that there's a baseball game going on get in the way of the latest advertising push or guest in the booth...

    NESN is shameless

    Posted by Yaz June 27, 08 10:31 AM
  1. Why aren't comments being posted? Did John Henry call the globe or something??


    EW: Sorry. Technical difficulties. Although....

    Posted by BTM June 27, 08 10:39 AM
  1. I agree it has gone to the extreme. But I guess the alternative is a second rate team. Maybe a new bigger Fenway would have been the answer to generating more revenue?

    Posted by Joe June 27, 08 10:41 AM
  1. Well said Eric.

    Having gone to the same litte school in VT as you, as well as currently living in VT, your description of Expos games are perfect. I was always waiting for a hockey game to break out whenever I attended a baseball game there.

    Not having NESN at my house, and being an avid 'Joe' fan on the radio, makes these promotions all the more bizarre. Instead of tuning in to the usual baseball head on the pre-game that I adore, I was left trying to figure out who the heck they were interviewing. It wasn't until Loudon was mentioned from this gent with a thick Southern Drawl, that I associated the guest wth anything. Nascar and Fenway?
    Well, as long as they don't try to sell us 'poutine' in Fenway we should survive the corporate, nightly assault.

    Posted by Dan Sullivan June 27, 08 11:33 AM
  1. I totally agree man.

    I know this money is needed to make this team competitive, but it feels as if we're selling out. The success we have had with this team and their superior growth across the country due to extreme marketing have caused Boston and it's fans to go form being loved to hated.

    Let's tone it doen John Henry - I love baseball and the red sox - these efforts of yours will not get me to turn on a NASCAR event on a Sunday afternoon.

    Posted by Jeff A June 27, 08 11:37 AM
  1. You are right on the money here. The Red Sox know no limits when it comes to milking every dollar they can out of their fans.

    Posted by Mike D. June 27, 08 11:39 AM
  1. Hi Eric,
    I need to express my agreement with your piece. I think we all know the "old school" non-corporatized feel of the Red Sox is never coming back. However, yes, it is disgusting and sad what we are subjected to these days.

    I hate to say it but John Henry had it right when he gave the #1 reason for having Jerry Remy Day: "Because we wanted to create something with Jerry Remy's name on it that wasn't for sale on his website." Ain't that the truth. I'm glad Remy and the Sox aren't in the poor house, but on the other hand it would be nice to be able to get through watching a game on NESN where I didn't feel the need to make the "gag me" sign a dozen or more times.

    Also, on a side note, I went to a few Expos home games in my day, too. It was definitely something else; all the insanity and sideshows of a hockey game, but with baseball in the center ring. Thanks for writing this.

    Posted by John S June 27, 08 12:23 PM
  1. I've had the Extra Innings package ever since I moved from Worcester to Virginia in early 2004 (bad time to leave, Sox-wise...). For the first few years I was always happy to see the NESN feed rather than the opponent's feed (the feed from the White Sox is the worst). This year though, all the ads and promos are really starting to grate on me. I like Don and Jerry, and even liked Remy Day to a point, but man. When we last played the Jays, the NESN feed suddenly cut out during the game, but the Jays' feed was unaffected, so I switched over to that. I found myself rather amazed at how few in-game ads/promos there were -- no Tim Hortons Pitch Zone, no Labatt's Is The Official ****ty Beer Of The Blue Jays, no... well, I've run out of Canada jokes, but you get the idea. I almost preferred it to NESN.

    I haven't been to Fenway since 2003, so I can't speak too much to that. I will say even if it's as bad as you all are describing, most other parks are that way too. For all those saying you sort of hope the Sox start losing and all the fans go away, well... there are ads all over the place at the new Nationals Park, and a ton of distractions going on throughout the game too. So having a terrible team with no fans doesn't stop it. It's part of the modern sports landscape.

    Posted by KR June 27, 08 12:43 PM
  1. This is a terrific article. Fenway has become an obnoxious place to watch a game. A place that I cannot even get my father to join me at, a baseball fan of 60 years. I remember watching the depressing late 90s/early2000s Sox teams. While they certainly lacked talent, those experiences were certainly authentic. Today, I watch games on TV and mute out the monotonous constant sales pitch that has become of Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy.

    This problem has progessively gotten worse, however, for me the problem reached its ultimate pinnacle before game 7 of the 2007 ALCS. I was seated in the bleachers. The national anthem had just played. And then, the Dropkick Murphys came out and played three or four songs. Tessie was one of them. I hate Tessie. They had little girls who do Irish stepdancing, dancing around the outfield. It had the feel of Appollo Creed's entrance in Rocky IV. Late in the game, up one run, the crowd began to do the wave. The whole experience disgusted me.

    Thank you for writing this article, Mr. Wilbur. This is a necessary point to make, but unfortunately, there are far too many morons and phonies out there for this traditionalist mindset to ever catch on.

    Posted by Ben June 27, 08 12:49 PM
  1. Those who have concerns or interests about this topic might checkout

    _Sports--Commerce--Culture: Essays on Sport in Late-Capitalist America_
    by David L. Andrews

    Matt and others might find some answers to he rhetorical questions they hurl at EW.


    Posted by Leon June 27, 08 12:55 PM
  1. Please stop the sox appeal garbage, I just want to watch the game.

    Posted by DJO June 27, 08 12:55 PM
  1. All you crybabies should jump ship and go root for the Royals. Their owner has no stake in NASCAR and I bet the announcer (JIm Lefebvre's kid, not Jim, it's his frickin' kid) does not get his own day.

    If the owners need to cross promote to get more rings, it's okay with me.

    And if my 3 year old girl wants a pink hat, cuz she likes tyhe Red Sox and the color pink, why does that ruin your experience?

    Posted by Doug Griffin 2B June 27, 08 01:02 PM
  1. I'm with you. I just want good ol' baseball. I've been watching since Teddy Ballgame played left field. All the extra stuff is just that...extra. We used to walk to Fenway after school and get let in free to sit in the bleachers after the stretch. It's a shame the way it's gone. Nascar and Baseball just don't seem to fit on the same playing field. They ought to stay focused on the game. That's why the fans are there or watching the tube.

    Posted by Garfield June 27, 08 01:18 PM
  1. Why is it that everyone acts as though the "pink hat is such a terrible thing. Who cares if everyone doesn't wear a blue hat with the red B. Most of you act as though if someone wears a hat other than blue, the person must be there for something other than the game. You act as though you have to have a blue hat that is 30 years old to be a true fan. Get over yourselves.
    I was at a game recently and talked to a lady wearing a pink hat. She was in her late 30's and has been going to games at Fenway and road games with her family since she was 5 years old. I'd be willing to put her true fan status up against all of you who look at a hat to determine if someone is a fan or not.
    As I said, get over yourselves. No one is looking at your blue hat and saying, "now there's a true fan"

    Posted by Tom Ferguson June 27, 08 01:40 PM
  1. I'm not that old, just 38, but the idea that Red Sox Nation was born in 2004 is idiocy. I lived in Texas in the mid-1990s and the Rangers Park was PACKED with Red Sox fans for every game they played there. I moved to DC in 2000, and found Camden Yards was PACKED with Red Sox fans every game they played. Oh yeah....and there are plenty of drunk Orioles and Rangers fans at those games, too. I find it frustrating that people "in the know" actually think that Red Sox fans didn't show up in other parks until recently and think that fans in other cities are sober and sinless in every way. As for the advertising/gimmicks....I too miss the "advertiseless" days, and the organ between innings, but actually believe that my kids don't notice them.....just like I didn't notice how "cramped and crappy" Fenway was when I was growning up. What we are longing for is not "what is was", but "what we remember", which, as a kid, was divine.

    Posted by Ben June 27, 08 01:42 PM
  1. Like many people here have mentioned, my biggest pet peeve is the booth interviews during the game. Do they absolutely HAVE to show the people in the booth and not the action on the field? I know they have to rake in the $$$ to support a winning team, but two nights in a row of constant booth interviews and reduced game commentary was just too much. I wish NESN would save the interviews for the pre and post game shows and leave game time alone.

    Posted by Kris June 27, 08 01:49 PM
  1. Eric,

    It's called a DVR. Forward past what disinterests you if you will not pony up for the price of a seat. Welcome to the 21'st Century and quit your whining.

    Posted by Bill Munroe June 27, 08 02:10 PM
  1. Thanks for a great article. We live in Virginia now and watch the Sox on MLB Extra Innings. We would really appreciate it if the NESN announcers would focus more on baseball and less on themselves and visitors to the booth. In particular, the cameras should show the game, not Remy and Orsillo.

    On June 25 we watched the Sox game on ESPN2, and the announcers were excellent, especially Showalter. The cameras also showed us the game, even when an interview was on, with a split screen.

    Before we had Extra Innings, we liked to listen to Joe Castiglione, who talks about baseball (we put up with the commercials)! We still do listen sometimes, when we get fed up with NESN's irrelevant stuff - but we love to watch baseball.

    Old Red Sox fans in Virginia

    Posted by Patricia Barry June 27, 08 02:21 PM
  1. Why don't you cry some more? It seems like when you can't complain about the team you have to find something else to be a baby about. There's a reason this team has won 2 championships in 4 years. They can afford to pay top-tier players. Now I know all about how the young farm talent helped win it all last year. But the truth is this team has to pay Josh Beckett, Manny Ramirez, David Ortiz, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Mike Lowell, J.D. Drew, and oh yeah, I believe Curt Schilling had a hand in last years championship. If I'm not mistaken, these players were not "developed" by the Red Sox. They are being paid by the revenue from these "force-fed" promotions. The Red Sox are in first place. Do you care about that? Try writing about it for once.

    Posted by Carl Edwards June 27, 08 02:42 PM
  1. Jesus, now I know why everyone else hates Sox fans - what a bunch of sissy-ass cry babies...this much complaining when we FINALLY have a premier franchise and ownership that gives a damn about the long term???

    And you're upset that there's some marketing/advertising used to raise the $ needed to maintain this franchise? F me you people are HOPELESS...

    Posted by Chris June 27, 08 03:51 PM
  1. Did anyone else notice those two NASCAR drivers, whose names I never knew and will never know, each basically were a foot shorter and 50 pounds lighter than Heidi Watney. What a couple of pencil arm geek midget racers they were.

    Posted by John Glass June 27, 08 04:00 PM
  1. Boo Boo
    Yo have every right to not like NASCAR, but don't it for more polution than other sports. A 500-mile race burns less fuel than a coast-to-coast charter team flight. I'm not going to even mention flights to Japan. Yes, race fans drive to the track, but the last time I looked I think baseball fans do too, 81 times per home team compared to 32 NASCAR races.
    I'm glad Jerry Remy Day comes only once every 20 years, too.

    Posted by An old Sox fan June 27, 08 05:44 PM
  1. I'm glad other people agree with me on How bad Jery Remy has become. He should go the way of Joe Theisman and exit the booth. The Red Sox & it's loyal fans would be so much better off.

    Posted by art grunden June 27, 08 05:51 PM
  1. The fault of all of this is due to a fan group that likes to call itself a "nation" when in fact its a cult of Jim Jones proportion .The owners were put in a position by their fanbase(cult) that they had to keep the dump that is Fenway Park. They think of different money making ventures to offset the losses they incur by being stuck with Fenway Park instead of going into a new stadium like our friends in NY. This Nation(cult) can't have it both ways. If Fenway is what you want to keep than deal with the circus it creates. BTW, why is it that you can knock down the stadium that players like Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle played in without so much as a peep from the fanbase but the roach motel that is Fenway Park must stay up? Give me a break.

    Posted by Shawnie Mac June 27, 08 06:08 PM
  1. Okay. Good point. Like you said,

    If you want to enjoy a winner year-in, year-out, then you're going to have to
    endure those who also want to attach themselves to a winner.

    But, we get to enjoy a winner! And behind all this nonsense, under all the senseless fodder, are THE Boston Red Sox. Our Red Sox. Oh what a wonderful thing it is. July, August, September, and thankfully October these days, we get to enjoy one of the simple pleasures of life. So grab your cold LaBatt's, and enjoy the long, hot, humid summer nights with the local 9. Enough complaining.

    Posted by Travis June 27, 08 06:21 PM
  1. Enough already! You talk as if baseball were never a commercial venture. I hope the Sox owners continue making money because they've earned it. They have completely changed things here in Boston for the better, and they deserve a good return on their investment. I'm thrilled to see the Red Sox fielding a competitive team every year now and to see them have one of the most productive farm systems in the majors. I don't like having to pay hundreds of dollars to go to Fenway anymore, but I accept it. If not, I go check out the PawSox at McCoy for a good old fashioned baseball fix without the steep price tag. No problem. You all need a serious prescription of Chill Pills.

    Posted by Matt June 27, 08 06:31 PM
  1. Good, sharp words, Eric...how soon after your post did the boss tap you on the shoulder (or text you, or e-mail you, as the case may be) and say, "I need to talk to you in my office?"

    I think it had to be said and judging by the tone of many of the comments, you spoke on behalf of a lot of fed-up Red Sox fans.

    No doubt, the "new" (when do they lose that sobriquet?) ownership delivered on their promise --- twice. Nobody's happier than me about that. After years of swallowing the foul spew of Yankees' fans, the opportunity to turn the tables has been sweet. The owners have every right to recoup their investment, but surely they must acknowledge that enough is enough. They have to look no further than south on 95 to Pawtucket --- their Triple A franchise is wildly successful but have never crossed the line. Ben Mondor and his team serve up baseball with a dash of traditonal minor-league promotion. The games are heavily attended by families who come because it's affordable and fun and the game is always the centerpiece.

    John Henry needs to throttle back (ahem) and re-discover the game. The game is what brought us here but it has been overwhelmed by the seemingly insatiable need to pile on the profits.

    By the way, I love the broadcasts and think Orsillo and Remy do a fine job of mixing play-by-play and analysis and having a ball while doing it. It IS television, after all and it should entertain us. The Red Sox on-field success should be entertainment enough, I grant you, but this is the world we live in.

    Keep biting the hand that feeds you, Eric. Scary, to be sure, but what the hell, right? There are other jobs!

    Posted by Mark June 27, 08 11:14 PM
  1. Amen Eric.

    Someone has to say it. And coming from the land of the 17 percent-ers, makes it that much more damning.

    Without a doubt, I absolutely cherish the on field success the Sox have enjoyed over the last 4 years, but sadly, there is a part of me that wishes that things harken back to the dark days of the Scott Cooper/Butch Hobson era when people went to games to see the game and nothing more; A time when the idea of "real fans" having to defend their loyalty was unheard of.

    It is my hope that your article continues the groundswell of support to supress the pink-hat movement and the unabashed whoring of the Red Sox brand for monetary gain.

    Posted by Jon S. June 27, 08 11:40 PM
  1. This is a complete joke. For years, Sox fans have had to endure the "curse of the babe" and chants of "[fill in the blank] years" in reference to the number of years since the sox won the title. Sox fans have complained about the money the yankees have spent and how depleted the farm organization is. John Henry et al ushered in a new era. Although saturated with corporate promotion, they have used this corporate vehicle to finance a top notch organization that is competitive for a world series trophy year in and year out. Isn't this what's most important? Eric and other spoiled red sox fans, you're telling me that you would trade the world series trophies to put an end to the endless promotion? Please stop complaining about this and embrace the ownership. Embrace how good the sox organization has become. Embrace the fact that we root for a top 5 team in baseball every year. If you can't accept the corporate necessity of professional sports then get season tickets to pawtucket or the lowell spinners. I, for one, will continue to sit on my jordan's furniture couch, drink my dunkin donuts coffee and watch cheer for the red sox all the way through october.

    Posted by TG June 28, 08 12:47 AM
  1. I just want to agree with everyone else here - you need to get over yourself.

    Posted by Pilgrim June 28, 08 07:38 AM
  1. Well, it's official.

    Eric Wilber is a TRUE Red Sox/New England sports fan.

    The team wins 2 WS is 4 years. Fenway Park has been COMPLETELY restored (I remember my first game a bunch of years ago and Fenway was, to put it nicely, a dump). The games are sold out. The team plays the game right. And yet there's always something to complain about.

    The only reason the Sox do all the promotion is because...they can. And frankly, they have to. Whereas, I am a baseball purist, my wife and kids aren't. That means 75% of my household can't wait for the "wave" to start or is glad that there is a "pink" Red Sox hat. My wife will only watch part of a game if it's on t.v. (and it has nothing to do with cross promotion), but she still asks me "Did the Sox win?".

    It is the cost of success. I would much rather laugh at RemDawg as he talks about some loser on Sox Appeal, then have him wonder out loud why there are so many more Tampa Bay Ray fans at Fenway than Red Sox fans. (How much would that stink if Fenway transformed into a "home" game for the visiting team, like Sox away games have become for the home team? Now THAT would be something to complain about).

    So, the Sox are trying to build a larger, bigger fan base by "selling out" or "cross promoting". Might irritate some (or a lot) along the way. Guess what? They'd probably be irritated about something anyway.

    Posted by johnnywho June 28, 08 08:59 AM
  1. LMAO. Geeze, I can’t believe that the collective petty hissy fit over PINK HATS comes up even in THIS discussion! And the stereotyping about them, too.

    Didn’t Mister Rogers ever get through to you with his “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” that girls are people, too? Cripes; no wonder Boston was the last to integrate its team. Nothing has really changed here, has it? It’s JUST a hat color… don’t worry… their blood is still red. Burkas and older fashioned hats don’t work for everyone, including cancer survivors and gays. Lighten up! No, wait… force your daughter to wear the hat of your stodgy preference no matter how much she cries. It’s sooo manly to act like this.

    It all sounds like the makings of a geeky old Star Trek episode--

    Crew: “Captain! We must fight! We can’t let anyone share our universe if their hat is pink; even if Scotty wants us to pay more attention to the fact that the sewage is backing up into the food supply!”

    Kirk: “Losers! Didn’t you learn anything from that half black faced/half white faced guys episode?”

    Spock: “Humans are hella macho stupid.”

    Kirk: Sigh. “Alright, MR. Zulu… we’ll let them spin their training wheels some more. BACKWARD, warp 7!”

    Posted by I June 28, 08 09:16 AM
  1. The Yankees have been fielding a winning team for decades and have never resorted to such crap. One can go see Johan Santana pitch for the Mets for 5 to 10 bucks a head. Boston fans have always been obnoxious though. I caught a Sox game in Seattle where a drunken frat boy asked me and a friend where we were from. To find out if we were "true fans." My pal told him Dorchester. The frat boy said "where the hell is that?" This kid must a been in diapers when the ball went through Billy Bucks legs. Boston should build a new stadium so tickets can become affordable again. Safeco is a great field, not a bad seat in the house. As for watching games.....I rarely do......the radio is much better.

    Posted by JLG June 28, 08 09:31 AM
  1. Eric,

    Kudos, my good man. Unlike you, I threw up my hands three years ago and have not paid for a Fenway Park ticket since. We went last year and got to sit in the Dennis Drinkwater Section, but that was because my boss at Gate City Electric hooked us up with the tickets. I just refuse to be part of that Freak Show anymore. Like you said, I just want to watch baseball, and not watch three or four people throw out the "first pitch". NESN is getting worse by the minute. Just watch Jerry Remy squrim with disgust every time another "guest" is brought into the booth.
    Still, the Sox have the best team in the majors right now, so you have to deal with it

    Sti

    Posted by bob walton June 28, 08 10:10 AM
  1. Yes. I liked it when there were no billboards except for the Jimmy Fund, when John Kiley played the only music and we were all there for a ballgame. I express shock that in 2008 the American League team in New York still feels the need to have its organist play a threatening note or two before a pitch is thrown to a home town hitter (an ancient, truly bush league, tradition).

    But I have been going to Fenway Park since 1958, fifty years ago and i thas never been more beautiful And I am so much happier with two world championships. I live in the NYC area now, and seeing all the Red Sox hats, whatever their color, make me smile.

    Posted by Ed Saslaw June 28, 08 10:54 AM
  1. Great Job Eric!!!!!!!!!! I have been a Sox fan since 1949 and the activities at the park were truly nauseating.
    Having to watch Nascar pregame was bad enough but having to have drivers hyping it in booth while trying to watch a game was beyond irritating.
    As for a day for Remy,that is sheer lunacy.He is a moneygrubber who will sell anything for the beloved dollar.From his overpriced Remdawgs to his ridiculous scorecards,his greed is being fed everyday by sycophant suckers.I fast forward through his Sovereign Bank commercials and to give him a new car isw sheer lunacy.Heis the only reason I refuse to join RSN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Posted by Larry Williams June 28, 08 11:45 AM
  1. Completely agreed...(except, you know, Remy's all right, when he says what he thinks, which is often enough)....

    1. ...about Montreal baseball -- but you left out the part about the POUTINE. Plate of soggy french fries soaked in molten Cheez Whiz. OTOH, in their death throes, the team hosted a "Bring Your Dog to the Game" day.

    2. ...about the scene at Fenway. And: $110 for Standing Room "Monster" ticket, which you've waited 8 hours online to get, when you could be outside playing ball. And don't think for a minute that the ticket purchase limits imposed on you are deterring massive overseas scalping operations. As far as I'm concerned the older the Red Sox hat, the better. When I was in college, they had the same cheap and plentiful bleacher tickets that you described at Montreal. And they also had almost no Ladies rooms, so the more desperate women would be convoyed into the Mens room, past the -- don't forget this: the urinal trough in the Mens room. Those days are looooong gone! Now we've got designer beer and overpriced watered down margaritas.

    But, if they'd let me bring my Irish Wolfhound into Fenway Park, like they did in Montreal, I'd forgive everything!

    Posted by Kaiopect8 June 28, 08 12:15 PM
  1. Cry me a freaking river. The notion that there's anything holy or pure about baseball went out the window with the strike. Remember that, when the millionaire players decided they were getting a raw deal? Baseball is a business far more than it is a game. I hate to burst your bubble.

    Posted by Pete June 29, 08 06:23 AM
  1. While I agree with some of your points, I think we are also dealing with cold, hard reality. The Sox play in the smallest park in MLB, have the highest payroll, and are determined to spare no expense to bring contending teams to the field each year. The money has to come from somewhere and now that the Red Sox are a bona fide "brand" name with a brand-loyal customer base, the Henry group will squeeze every dollar out of it. I don't always like it but at the same time, I can't argue with 2 championships in 3 years after 40 years of futility.

    Some people here, though, need a history lesson. First of all, professional baseball has ALWAYS been associated with commercialism because commercialism PAYS THE BILLS! Fenway Park has always been plastered with advertising. Check out pictures of the park from its opening in 1912; you'll see.

    Secondly, drunk and boorish Sox fans are nothing new. The bleachers were a war zone back in the 70s and 80s. The fact that the Sox are winning is just another reason for these people to get stupid. And in this electronic age, they have more toys to get stupid with.

    For the supposed "fan" who said that Jerry Remy was a "no one" when he played here, please check your facts. Remy was a very good defensive second baseman. He was also a base-stealing threat who was adept at the small ball game. His career was cut short by knee injuries that affected his speed and range and he was forced to retire as a player at a relatively young age.

    Finally, in the grand scheme of things, if the color of a hat is what bothers you most today, you are probably doing better than 90% of the people out there.

    Posted by Del June 29, 08 08:41 AM
  1. Come on people, seriously?? Is this really that big of an issue. If you are at the park or watching it on TV learn to ignore it. What matters is the product on the field (which is pretty damn good) not the nonsense that goes on around it. If it does interfere with a game broadcast I'll admit that is a bit much, unless it is is for a good cause. Shut up and enjoy the game and stop being such a petulant,cynical New Englander.
    -Proud non-card carrying Red Sox fan since 7/81.

    Posted by Erik Thomsen June 29, 08 10:08 AM
  1. Thank you. I couldn't agree more. between the insipid Sox Appeal and the manufactured nightly "events" (not to mention rip offs like "Christmas at Fenway") and the breathtaking idiocy of the burgeoning pseudo-nation, Sox baseball on a night-to-night basis is becoming far less fun to watch than it was

    Posted by Lisa K. June 29, 08 11:11 AM
  1. Well put, Wilbur. Even if I don't agree with every point, I applaud your willingness to write a column like this. The Globe is the third leg in the Red Sox-NESN-Globe corporate synergy machine, and writing an article like this won't endear you to a Globe management team that is deeply invested in pumping the hype machine just as hard as NESN and the Sox. Having done so, you probably won't receive a premium columnist spot in the Globe any time soon, but you certainly have my respect.

    Posted by owenz June 29, 08 04:35 PM
  1. Maybe it's because I follow the Sox primarily via XM (and therefore hardly ever get to see the games, much less hear Orsillo and Remy), but the problems in regards to promotions and the quality of the play-by-play seem to be more than a bit exaggerated. Other than the Sox, you've got maybe 4 or 5 teams (the Phillies, the Brewers, the A's, the Mariners, and maybe the Reds and Twins) whose teams have great radio crews with few annoying reads and/or promotions, and a whole lot of crummy crews (with the Yankees and the Rays leading the pack). You'll be amazed at how many radio crews try to spin the crowds as being for the home team, only for the "Youk!" chant (which many teams *cough*Toronto*cough* misinterpret) to sound almost as loud as it does at Fenway, if not louder (the D-Rays radio guys were kings of this before this year-now they've just resorted to insulting Sox fans now that their team doesn't stink for once). But some of the promotions and reads are just painful, and let's not forget that Joe Angel (who calls for the O's) sounds almost exactly like Jon Miller (who used to call games for the O's). I could go on and on, but the point is: Sox fans have it a lot better than most other fans.

    Posted by Garrett Aja June 29, 08 11:17 PM
  1. I'm afraid most games in the majors are filled with promotions. But so is the world we live in. At home I can turn down the sound or let the DVR run and return every two or three innings after doing something useful bypassing the in betweens. At the park it's best to have an interesting companion to chat with in between innings.What's really frustrating is being the best team in baseball. There isn't anything good to complain about anymore.

    Posted by bob tichell June 30, 08 07:42 AM
  1. My favorite is the AMICA "Strike Zone." (Can someone please explain to me the connection between baseball and auto/homeowners insurance?)

    Hi, neighbor ... have a 'Gansett.

    Posted by Bill B. June 30, 08 01:21 PM
  1. I hope YANKEES left there DRUGS back in NY everyone know the Yankees are known for the Steriod use THAT IS HOW THEY WIN ALWAYS A CHEATER

    Posted by Paula July 25, 08 09:21 PM
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