The Field of Schemes: A Look at the Current State of the Boston Red Sox

There are few places that can capture your spirit, but when you are in one, you can feel it. You can feel it in the pit of your stomach, the rush of excitement. Places like that can provide you with some of your fondest memories, and for me, one of those places has always been Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. It’s a stadium with a crowd of 30,000 people and yet you can’t help but feel like one huge dysfunctional family. The smell, the look, the feelings you get in the park, any Sox fan would know what I’m referring to, which makes the recent drama going on behind the scenes of the team surprising and frustrating.

Fenway Park is a name that evokes a team and a sport that have become more synonymous with a city’s identity than any stadium or arena in the country. However, since last September, the Boston Red Sox have been more synonymous with drama, both on and off the field. From the collapse to Theo Epstein to Terry Francona to Bobby Valentine to Kevin Youkilis to Adrian Gonzalez, Dustin Pedroia, John Henry to and the exhausting list goes on. 

As much as any Sox fan would like to ignore all of this because the Red Sox are a marquee franchise that has won two World Series in the past decade, there has been one major issue that has arisen. The latest is the Boston media questioning if this drama will adversely affect the Red Sox’s ability to obtain future free agents. “I don’t know,” Jon Lester told the Boston Herald. “It’s always been a demanding place to play, but until the last two years, it always was about baseball. Now we’ve got things written and said about guys’ personal stuff as human beings, as people. Now you’re starting to question people’s manhoods. That’s where it gets hard.”

Then of course there was a statement from the All-Star designated hitter David Ortiz who seemed fed up with the situation as well. He said, “I’m just tired of dealing with the drama here,” said Ortiz ( “This is baseball, man. It seems like everything that goes on around here is like one of those Congress decisions that will affect the whole nation. It ain’t like that, man. This is baseball. We’re supposed to have fun, to have our performance out there at the highest level. Every day is something new, some drama, some more (expletive). I’m tired of that, man. I’m here to play baseball, man.”

When Kevin Youkilis was asked about his life after the Red Sox he said, “I would say there’s less drama, all-around. No offense to you (media), but there’s always a story. With us, you come about the game, you play, it’s over with. You get a question, there’s no drama or questions all the time. It’s just fun. We’re also second-fiddle to the Cubs, so it’s great. It’s easy.” In light of these quotes, it’s worth wondering if future free agents are going to look at what’s gone down in Boston this past 12 months and decline to sign with the Red Sox. These are two of the team leaders openly opining to the media about how difficult it is to enjoy playing a game for 9 or 10 figures a year. Although despite all of this, I’m guessing that money will carry the day in the end, meaning that the highest offer will be signed most of the time by major-league free agents.

From the snap of the bat, to the remarkable catches, to the homeruns you see glide over the Green Monster, Fenway and the Boston Red Sox represent a part of history that has shaped America’s pastime. Yet in a short span of 12 months, the once lovable losers have become, well, just losers that are not so lovable. The 2012 season is nearing an end, and it’s fair to say the dream has turned into a nightmare both on and off the field. Off the field, the club has been consumed with finger-pointing and back-biting, mostly directed at Valentine—and though their PR team maintains that it has sold out 755 consecutive games, there have been plenty of empty seats at Fenway Park. To say interest in the team has waned would be a huge understatement which is so unfortunate. When involved in public relations you are responsible for responding to media and public information requests. Often times in sports this means positioning difficult or sensitive news stories relating to teams or players in the most positive light. As of late, the Red Sox don’t seem to be doing a great job of that. What are your thoughts? Have you been keeping up with the situation? How would you handle the teams recent drama?

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