The Red Sox made headlines yesterday with the unveiling of some exciting plans for the first month of this season. According to a press release, for every April game at Fenway: Kids under 14 will eat for free (before the third inning), Fenway Franks are two-for-one and — here’s the kicker — the price of beer has been reduced from $8.50 to five dollars flat.
The move is an attempt to improve upon dwindling ticket sales and win back many of the fans the Sox have lost over the last few years, and naturally, it’s been met with loads of skepticism and mockery.
Why? Because it’s just too easy. Because even if the campaign does sell a few more tickets, the truth is that the fans who have been alienated by this franchise aren’t the fans who respond to two-for-ones and cheaper beer.
The alienated Red Sox fan would go to games if the beers cost $500, as long it came with the opportunity to support a legitimate team, with likable players, an honest, agenda-free business model and owners that didn’t treat informed and intelligent human beings like pigeons.
But unfortunately, that’s not the case. Not yet at least. In the meantime, here are five more ideas the Sox might consider in the name bringing fans back to Fenway (while ultimately changing nothing but their bottom line).
LARRY LUCCHINO DUNK TANK
Bonus points if Larry’s willing to show up in an old-timey one-piece bathing suit but either way, Red Sox Nation will be inspired by the opportunity to send Lucchino swimming.
If you want to cross-promote, let the fans throw bricks instead of baseballs — but make sure the protective netting is secure.
STORY TIME WITH ALFREDO ACEVES
Before and after every home game, fans are invited to gather at the mound, as Alfredo Aceves (sitting in a rocking chair/smoking a peyote pipe) recounts tales from his life on the road and his childhood in Sonora, Mexico.
At the end of every session, Aceves selects one lucky fan to take part in a staring contest. First one to cry loses.
If the team insists on sticking with “Sweet Caroline” (and I’m sure that’s the case), the least they can do is spice things up a little.
For one, and this is obvious, only play the song when the Sox are winning. The mere prospect of sitting through Sweet Caroline with Boston down 9-3 in the eighth is reason enough to stay away from the park.
But beyond that, it’s time to modify the presentation.
You don’t need the words up on the big screen. I promise: Every one knows the words by now. Instead, why not have some fun? And not downhome, hunky dory fun like everything else at Fenway. I’m talking about weird, edgy fun. Like what the Celtics found with Gino. Something that might create a buzz and finally bring the in-game experience into the 21st century.
Maybe you create a character named “Sweet Caroline,” but instead of a rosy-cheeked coed, she’s a whacked out old lady? And instead of rolling the lyrics, you roll short videos of Sweet Caroline dancing around Boston and freaking out strangers?
I don’t know. I’m just spit balling. What I’d really recommend is a meeting with whoever’s responsible for the Bruins Bear commercials. They’ll lead you in the right direction.
YOU READ THE X-RAY!
If you’ve been to a Celtics game recently, you know there’s a nightly Jumbotron bit where they choose three “Fan of the Game” nominees and let audience applause determine the winner. “You Read The X-Ray!” is similar but the stakes are much, much higher.
The way it works: A player is injured, and he’s sent off for an x-ray or an MRI; the same way they’ve always done it. But now, instead of the results being evaluated by the Sox medical staff, they’re simply projected onto the centerfield scoreboard and audience applause determines the diagnosis.
The game will captivate Red Sox Nation, and who knows, it may even lead to improved rehab methods and recovery time. I can see it now . . .
PA Announcer: “Oooooh! OK, folks. This is a close one! So let me hear it one more time: Who thinks it’s a . . . Lisfraaaaanc injury?!?”
FIFTH INNING LIE DETECTOR
A warm-up for the seventh inning stretch, the Sox celebrate the moment every home game becomes official by directing cameras into the owner’s box, where Lucchino, John Henry and Tom Werner will be hooked up to polygraphs.
Every game, they each answer one question, as chosen by a board of Red Sox fans (voted in by Red Sox fans).
Questions can be submitted via Twitter, using the hashtag #FILDsox
And that’s a wrap.
We’ll see you at Fenway!
The Patriots took the field for their first training camp practice on Thursday morning. Players, and Tom Brady in particular, were met by an energized crowd of more than 10,000 fans.