Why Boston Red Sox Fans are Embarrassed to Root for Their Own Team in 2023
Yes, this is a radio station based in New York, but no, I am not a fan of either the New York Yankees, or the New York Mets.
Yes, I am a fan of the Boston Red Sox, something I have been quite proud of since I first learned what it meant to be a sports fan. Growing up, every summer night that I wasn't playing in a baseball game, I was watching or listening to a Red Sox game. The sounds of Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy, or the great Joe Castiglione, served as the soundtrack to the summer every summer.
My love of the Red Sox is a large reason why I wanted to get into sports broadcasting, and as such, why I'm here.
I'm extremely proud of my fandom, and it's that pride that has led me to be as upset as I am right now. Here's the short version of the story: I am livid with the Boston Red Sox, as are hundreds of thousands of fans like me.
This is why.
The Red Sox are a Disgrace Right Now, and Fans are Not Happy About It
It's October 28, 2018. I'm a junior in college at Quinnipiac University, and my voice is just about as hoarse as its ever been. That's because me, and my friends, have been screaming at the television all night, all week, and all fall, rooting on the Boston Red Sox as they charged through the 2018 MLB Playoffs, and into the World Series.
It was Game 5, and the Red Sox had just won the World Series for the fourth time in my life.
As the Commissioner's Trophy was presented, players began their celebration. Mookie Betts hugged his outfielder counterpart in Jackie Bradley Jr.; veteran JD Martinez hugged Andrew Benintendi; shortstop Xander Bogaerts was seen smiling alongside catcher Christian Vazquez.
It was such a great memory, so why, in 2022, does it feel like I'm remembering a horror movie?
That's because every single player I just named is no longer a member of the Boston Red Sox.
Less than one year after that night, General Manager Dave Dombrowski was fired, on September 9, 2019. To be fair, the Red Sox had taken a step back, and seemed to be headed in a bad direction. Their bullpen was thin, their farm system was depleted, and their starting rotation was beginning to show its age.
There was still hope, however, as the homegrown stars mentioned above would anchor the team's lineup for quite some time. Right?
Just over month later, on October 25, 2019, the Red Sox hired 36-year-old Chaim Bloom as Chief Baseball Officer, and Brian O'Halloran as its General Manager. The duo was tasked with maintaining the team's competitive status, while replenishing the farm system with prospects, as Bloom had done with the Tampa Bay Rays.
They've held up one-half of their end of the bargain. The competitive status, however, is slim-to-none, and slim just walked out the ballpark door.
Per Twitter user @Mike_Dyer13, Bloom inherited generational talent in Betts (27 years old at the time), Bogaerts (27), Benintendi (25) and Devers (23), as well as free agent signing-turned-franchise cornerstone, JD Martinez.
Those players have turned into:
- Alex Verdugo (serviceable MLB outfielder)
- Jeter Downs (DFA'd last week)
- Connor Wong (yet to be a regular MLB player)
- Franchy Cordero (Triple-A player, has since left town)
- Josh Winckowski (5.89 ERA this year)
- Grant Gambrell, Luis De La Rosa, Freddy Valdez (still in the Minors)
Yes, that doesn't include recently-signed Justin Turner, nor does it include last year's acquisition, Trevor Story. He's found diamond-in-the-rough players like Christian Arroyo, and the farm system, in general, is in much better shape.
But, that also doesn't include catcher Christian Vazquez, who was shipped out of town, WANTED TO RETURN, but was told that the team wasn't interested in having him.
Here's what I'm trying to explain: the front office leadership of the Boston Red Sox, as a group, has flipped the proverbial middle finger to fans of the team time-and-time again this offseason, and the fanbase is getting very sick of it. They've treated stars and fan-favorites as if they're dime-a-dozen ballplayers again and again, and seemed poised to do it yet again with the lone remaining superstar, Rafael Devers.
I have no interest, whatsoever, in going to watch the Boston Red Sox play a game this year. It's always an imposition finding time to drive to Boston, watch a three-hour game, and drive back with the schedule I have, but I've made it work in past years because I love the team.
This year? Not a chance. Not worth my time.
Does that make me a fair-weather fan? You can argue that if you want, but you're wrong. If these front office lunatics are going to dismantle one of the best homegrown cores of talent the Red Sox have ever had right in front of my face, and then do nothing to replace said talent, why should I reward that behavior by paying for a ticket, hot dog and overpriced beer?
I may just be one person writing words onto a computer screen, but believe me, there are thousands upon thousands of fans of the Red Sox who feel the way I do. This front office group, and ownership group, better be extremely careful with how they proceed.
Otherwise, it's going to be a very quiet, bleak summer at Fenway Park, and before long, most of them will be out of jobs.