It’s July 20 in Boston and the Red Sox are the best team in major league baseball. Yet for some reason, there is no hype or excitement coming from the majority of fans in this “baseball town.” Instead, the sports fans in the New England area seem to be either practicing pessimism or indifference towards the local nine.
Baseball’s problems have been well documented, but you’d think that winning would cure all of that. Though the television ratings for the Red Sox are up from last year, they still are a far cry away from where they were in years like 2007 or 2013.
So what’s going on? Why don’t people gravitate toward the Red Sox the same way that they used to?
The downfall of baseball has something to with it. So many former passionate fans have something to say about what is wrong with the sport. The younger generation finds it too slow and monotonous while the older generation will pick apart how the game is changing. At 24 years old, I’m an outlier among my friends because I actually love watching baseball. The game does have it’s share of issues, but I believe the complaints that get thrown around are starting to get excessive.
Another obstacle for baseball is the attention that goes to teams like the Patriots and the Celtics. Even in what seems like a dark time for the football team from Foxborough, people are invested and anxiously awaiting training camp. With the C’s, there is just so much optimism and hope for the future that is driving people to pine for the new season.
The Red Sox have always been, and will always be, a team that people love to complain about. Some of the players on the current roster are contributing to that, just as the last two postseason exits are. Take a walk down Jersey Street before a game and ask three people how this season will end and I’d pretty much guarantee you get at least two negative answers. Listen to sports talk radio, or really any bar conversation, and you’ll hear something resembling the pre-2004 attitude. “Yea, they’re great now but in Octobah the Yankees will sweep ‘em.” That’s just how it is, Sox fans have gone back to the doom and gloom mentality for reasons that I can’t quite comprehend.
Meanwhile, Boston has won 10 straight and sits at 37 games over .500 for the first time since 1949. Any other market would kill to have this type of success, but we’re spoiled and can always nitpick something. Obviously the postseason is what matters, but pay attention if you aren’t already. The Red Sox are making the summer extremely fun.