Analyzing the 2010 Sox Pax

John Henry and every other red-blooded market capitalist will tell you that purchasing commodities in bulk well in advance of their expected maturity in value is the perfect way to maximize riches in a down economy. Along that vein, Fenway Pastoral is here to analyze the latest ten-fecta of Sox Pax ticket packages, which go on sale this Saturday, December 12 online, over the phone and at the team’s Christmas at Fenway Event.

(The organization cautions that refunds will not be issued if Marco Scutaro winds up as the Red Sox’ marquee offseason acquisition.)

Sox Pack 1 is an “Opening Day” collection that guarantees a ticket to Boston’s very first game of the season, which is against the New York Yankees. Fans cannot go wrong with this selection for their Sox Pack purchase, despite the inclusion of clunker games against the Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles. Meanwhile, the May 12 game against the Blue Jays scheduled for 1:35 p.m. will have a certain slap-in-the-face feeling for those who already played hooky or skipped work six weeks earlier to see Opening Day. The Bottom Line: You’re going to Opening Day against the hated Yankees, which means you can toss verbal barbs at CC Sabathia or Roy Halladay from the grandstand.

Sox Pack 2, “Patriots Day,” also guarantees an early April ticket for a Yankees game as well as a ducat for the coveted Marathon Monday matchup against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Fenway Pastoral took a glance at the schedule and projects David Price to be on the mound for the D-Rays that day. Payback for the 2008 postseason will never feel so sweet as it will 10 beers deep at 11:30 in the morning. Meanwhile, fans wearing old Alex Gonzalez No. 10 Boston jerseys to the Toronto game must remember to X-out the former Red Sox shortstop’s last name after his defection to the Canadian enemies up north. (Bob Ryan has already filed his column telling fans whether they should or shouldn’t boo A-Gonz in his return to Fenway.)

Pack 3 is the TGIF “Thank Goodness It’s Friday” set. Twenty years ago, this package would not have sold very well due to stiff competition from ABC’s enormously popular TGIF television sitcom lineup that included classics such as Full House, Family Matters and Perfect Strangers. Tivo, DVR and Hulu have rendered appointment viewing an artifact of the 20th Century that no one will be able to seriously acknowledge in 50 years without snickering. In short, ABC’s TGIF phenomenon will make about as much sense as Derek Jeter’s Gold Gloves.

Who do the Red Sox think they’re kidding with their “Saturday Special” and “Sunday Special” Sox Packs (#s 4 and 5)? All game times are listed as TBA and both include two September games. Fans purchasing either of these packs will need to clear their schedules for two full weekend days that are more than nine months away. All Home Depot and Bed, Bath & Beyond jokes aside, solidified weekend schedules are a must when constructing large signs with clever four-word combinations for the NESN or ESPN acronyms. Making last-minute signs using a Sharpie and the flimsy cardboard from a Busch Light 30-pack just doesn’t have the same effect.

The selling points for the “Yankee Pack” and “Pinstripe Pack” (#s 6 and 7) center on the possibility that the final regular season games of the year, three home games against the Yankees, will serve as de facto playoff games. It could happen, but it’s just as likely that several of the games wind up with someone like Jeremy Hermida hitting cleanup.

On the flip side, the September 8 matchup against the Devil Rays is likely to have strong playoff implications. Meanwhile, Pack No. 7’s September 20 game against Baltimore could be one of those playoff spot clinchers, which can be especially fun for those fans interested in witnessing (or joining) drunken revelry in person.

The No. 8 “Yaz Pack” also features a Yankees game during the final weekend of the season. The bonus here is a complimentary 12-month prescription to the birth control pill that shares a nickname with the immortal No. 8. This ticket package is solid, especially so for sexually active female fans between the ages of 15 and 50. These types of cross-promotions would never have been offered on John Harrington or Tom Yawkey’s watch.

Sox Pack #9 is a “Splendid Splinter” collection featuring three important AL East divisional dust-ups as well as a ticket to see the perennially underrated Minnesota Twins. Sure, AL MVP Joe Mauer is likely to remain one of the best players in the league next season, but this Sox Pack does seem to lack a certain punch. Fenway Pastoral gets the feeling these are the types of games in which ownership will heroically give up John Henry’s dugout seats to some charitable foundation rather than waste Ben Affleck’s time. But seriously, these Packs make great stocking stuffers.

In trying economic times, deals such as the No. 10 “Extra Inning” Pack really cannot be trumped. The organization has pinpointed four games throughout the 2010 season that will go into extra innings, giving fans added value at no additional price. In 2009, the club was 4-6 overall (1-2 at home) in extra innings affairs. If sample sizes are your cup of tea, Boston was 1-0 in extra innings games played against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park in 2009.

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