Games 67 through 70 - Red Sox
Braves 8, Red Sox 2
Red Sox 3, Braves 0
Red Sox 6, Braves 5
Red Sox 11, Nationals 3
The Red Sox keep on keeping on, mixing a terrific start by Josh Beckett, some luck and a Nick Green walk-off, and some more luck and a bad Nationals bullpen into a tidy little 3-game winning streak. But we come here not to praise the Bostons. Rather, we come to this place today to bash our local team. More to the point, to hammer their management.
Dan Steinberg brings word this morning of the Nationals' ownership generating revenue by selling Red Sox merchandise at Nationals Park, the first time the Nats' have sold visiting team gear. In the abstract capitalist sense, I have no particular problem with this: professional sports franchises exist to make profits, and plenty of professional clubs sell their opponents' apparel. Were I a Nationals fan, though, in the midst of a dreadful season and already questioning the priorities of my team's ownership, the timing and symbolism of this decision would have me sputtering.
The Nats have done everything short of erecting a 37-foot wall in leftfield to make Red Sox fans feel at home in Washington this week. And as a Sox fan, I guess I appreciate it. As a baseball fan, a lover of competition, and someone who hopes that the Washington franchise succeeds, I think it sucks. It's one more off note in a series of tone deaf managerial moves by Team Lerner. The Nats have exacerbated their abysmal talent evaluation and development with an Angelosian mangling of their relationship with the community, failing abjectly in their stewardship of the public trust required to build a loyal (read: repeat customers) fanbase. It's no mystery that last night's game marked the largest attendance in the history of Washington's new stadium. Locals are tuning the team out in droves, and that's a shame.
I'll be attending Thursday's Sox/Nats game with TJ, and looking forward to seeing John Smoltz' debut for the Olde Towne team. I'm also eager to experience Nationals Park for the first time. Shame it's gonna feel like Fenway.