The first two weeks of the Major League Baseball season have been nightmarish for the Boston Red Sox. But the news isn’t all bad for fans who want to head to Fenway Park and catch the shockingly slumping Sox.
The Red Sox’ awful start — they opened 0-6 before taking two of three from the New York Yankees last weekend and their 2-9 record through Wednesday, April 13 is the worst in baseball and tied for the worst 11-game start in the franchise’s 110-year history — has resulted in drastically lower prices and far greater availability for Sox home games on the resale market.
As of this morning, Thursday, April 14, StubHub.com had 6,698 tickets available to the Sox’ four-game series this weekend against the Toronto Blue Jays. There were $31 bleacher seats available for both Friday, April 15 and Sunday, April 17. Bleacher seats purchased through the Red Sox cost between $12 (for upper bleachers) and $28.
“There’s obviously a price adjustment down for games coming up over the next couple weeks and some real values out there for customers to be able to get,” Jim Holzman, the CEO of Ace Ticket, told TicketNews. Ace Ticket is the official ticket partner of the Sox.
The Sox’ stumbling start has put the club’s record-setting sellout streak — which started in May 2003 and is now at 636 — in a bit of jeopardy, though the Sox probably avoided their best (or worst) shot this month at drawing a less-than-capacity crowd when their game against the Tampa Bay Rays was rained out Wednesday night. The Sox lost the first two games of the series to the Rays, who entered the week as the only team in baseball with a worse record than the Sox.
“Tonight may have been a close one,” Holzman said late Wednesday afternoon, after the Sox had already called the game.
Drawing sellout crowds should not be a problem this weekend as Boston greets thousands of visitors for the Boston Marathon (the finale against the Blue Jays starts at 11 am Monday, shortly after the start of the Marathon). The Sox embark on a nine-game road trip Tuesday, April 19 and won’t return home until Friday, April 29, when they should again play to capacity for a three-game series against the Seattle Mariners.
But if the Sox are still stumbling as the calendar flips to May…
“I think the streak is safe through May 2,” Holzman said. “Because they play a Friday-Saturday-Sunday-Monday, then they come back on a Friday-Saturday-Sunday, they’ll be OK. It’s May 2nd through the 5th [when the Sox host the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim] — I would say if the streak is going to end, that’s going to be most likely the end.”
“However, between now and then, there’s 14 games. So if we go 10-4, no worries. They go 9-5, no worries. They’ve got to play at least .500 ball.”
While Boston fans have an impatient and fatalistic reputation, Holzman said he and his fellow Sox devotees are remaining upbeat. The Sox were overwhelming favorites to at least reach the World Series after they added Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford to an already imposing lineup, Holzman said confidence is still high among the Beantown faithful.
“The thing that’s actually somewhat of a pleasant surprise is [Tuesday’s] TV rating was tremendous,” Holzman said. “What happened is after they played the Yankees, there was some optimism in the air and people are just waiting for something good to happen. People have not abandoned ship yet.
“I think everybody’s in shock over the start. Nobody can really believe that this is happening. Everybody’s just waiting for them to break out and things to be A-OK.”
While history is not on the side of teams that start off as badly as the Sox, their long-term forecast grew a little less cloudy once they actually won a couple games. No American League team has ever opened the season 0-6 and made the playoffs, but according to the Elias Sports Bureau, six teams have reached the playoffs after starting 2-9 and three won the World Series, most recently the Minnesota Twins in 1991.
“They don’t play [Wednesday], they don’t play [today] — maybe we need a couple days to catch our breath and hit the ground running Friday,” Holzman said. “I think Friday is a whole new world and I remain optimistic. The team is just too good for this to be happening. They’re too good.
“If I was in Vegas, I’d be putting a lot of money [on the Sox] — you could get great odds on them,” Holzman said. “They’re going to be fine.”