Grumblings over the relevance of the Boston Red Sox continue to grow louder and louder this season. Attendance at Fenway Park has been steady but demand for tickets is extremely light compared to the salad days of the mid-to-late aughts. The conclusion of the Boston Celtics’ playoff run and the return of star players such as Jacoby Ellsbury and Carl Crawford have so far done surprisingly little to allay the trend over the last six weeks.
The downturn even amidst the team’s modest success since the end of April suggests that baseball is no longer a mainstream spectator sport in New England.
It ain’t 2009 anymore. And, in fact, most experts agree: the situation will get worse.
By 2014, the Boston Red Sox fan base is projected to consist solely of hipsters.
That’s right: After half a century of stupidly high levels of popularity and rabid fan enthusiasm on a nearly worldwide level, the Boston Red Sox are no longer worth following, says pretty much everybody.
Soon, even the least astute losers of society are likely to catch on.
Pioneering stringers for cutting-edge news outlets such as the Boston Globe newspaper are already reporting on the trend.
For example, in an article entitled the “Ups, downs of fandom” from Wednesday’s Globe, a local restaurateur (or two, maybe!) were quoted as surprised by how little rush patrons seem to be to get to the ballpark in time for the opening pitch. It would seem the team’s last few lingering fans would rather finish their buffalo wings than waste their hard-earned dough on team ‘merch’ like player jerseys.
Says one analyst, “Within the next 12 to 18 months, the only people following the team will be society’s outliers, the people who do things different for the sake of being different.”
Major League Baseball has already taken note of the potential impact that a shift in the Red Sox fan base may have. For one, merchandising prospects for a team supported by hipsters are grim, to say the least.
“Penetrating the second- and third-hand thrift store marketplace with official Red Sox licensed products could be challenging. Then again, we’ve pulled off the seemingly impossible in the past by convincing approximately seven fans to purchase John Lackey game replica jerseys,” says one Sox spokeman.
Just to be safe, the organization has already hiked up prices for “throwback” jerseys and customized jersey tees for players that played in the late-1990s and early 2000s, when most of today’s hipsters were at peak impressionability.
“Wearing a John Wasdin or Carl Everett jersey makes a certain anti-everything type of statement that hipsters really dig,” said one team marketing guru. “It just kind of speaks for itself. These people will turn conventional fandom on its head.”
Meanwhile, the team is in negotiations with the MBTA to increase the frequency of game-day bus routes to Kenmore Square from enclaves such as Lower Allston, Davis Square and Central Square.
Once this niche fanbase is transported en masse to the areas around Fenway Park, enticing them to actually purchase tickets will prove the least of the team’s worries.
“It’s simple, really – the outfield concessions pavillion will be transformed into a farmer’s market and the center field bleachers will be gutted and turned into a stage on which musical acts will perform while either wearing funny hats or sporting unconventional facial hair — or both at the same time depending on what’s, you know, cool at any given time. We can also act very swiftly to any bumps in market demand for ear studs with the BoSox logo or sudden changes in the ideals for cut and fit of a licensed Red Sox T-shirt.”
Boasted another team marketing exec, “We’re so ahead of the curve on this one. I can’t wait to brag to the jerks who join this department in the next five years how fricken awesome it felt to be in on the ground floor for this. It’s going to be so epic.”