Bethesda. Red Sox hotbed.
Dan Steinberg of the always entertaining DC Sports Bog points out that the Red Sox have taken advantage of their popularity in the Washington D.C. area by launching one of their youth summer camps in Bethesda, Md. Camps also take place in Belmont, Brookline, Southborough, Newton and Cambridge, which, you know, are a little closer to Boston.
And Bethesda. As in Maryland.
Steinberg points out that it is believed to be the first team-branded MLB camp outside of a team's home market. And it sold out. At a cost of $525 per camper.
Naturally, that speaks to the unquestionable popularity of the franchise, but it's still somewhat surprising the Red Sox are able to do this under Major League Baseball regulations. It's one thing to see fans pack the stands of rival ballparks, it something else entirely for a franchise to market its brand in a region where there is not one, but two other teams in the Orioles and Nationals struggling for relevance. Think Buck Showalter will be pleased when he sees that a group of D.C. area kids are headed to Camden Yards tonight to meet Dustin Pedroia, all clad in Red Sox jerseys while he's trying to bring his dead franchise back to life?
"This is not something we're trying to do in the face of the Nats," Brendan Sullivan, the co-founder and executive director of Red Sox Camps told Steinberg. "I'm a Nats fan, I go all the time. For us, this is something that every Major League team, especially those that are trying to grow a fan base, should do."
Today Bethesda, tomorrow...Anaheim? Tampa? New York?