Bobby Valentine, manager of the Boston Red Sox, announced last week that alcohol will be banned in the team’s clubhouse for the upcoming season. The ban comes after last season’s historic collapse in which they blew a 9-game lead over Tampa Bay in the Wild Card race in the final month of the season. Pitchers openly admitted to consuming alcohol in the clubhouse during games in which they were not playing. Although this is seeming harmless, Red Sox Nation (their fan base) was livid that the players seemingly cared so little about their team.
The announcement was very strategic for the Red Sox office to make. Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox, has been sold out for over 700 consecutive games. Although that streak doesn’t appear to be in jeopardy, the front office needs to keep the fans interest in knowing that this team is not screwing around. If the team continued down the path taken in 2011, the streak would inevitably end this season while the team sunk into a sullen state of losing.
Wholesale changes were made around the Red Sox organization in the off-season. They changed managers from Terry Francona to Bobby Valentine, and they hired a new General Manager to replace Theo Epstein, the man given credit for the Red Sox breaking the curse of the Bambino. This announcement was important simply for keeping Red Sox fans faithful to the team.
Financially, the Red Sox can’t afford for fans to lose interest in their team. Forbes ranked the team as the second most valuable baseball franchise. They have the third highest payroll in all of baseball at $161,407,476 annually. Losing fans in the seats would put a large burden on the front office, and that is why it is necessary for the front office to set the tone that this team will be different than last year’s team.