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Red Sox Are Bleeding Season Ticket Sales and I've Never Been Prouder of My People

Boston.comSeven years ago, Rick Auerbach’s wife put his name on the waiting list for Red Sox season tickets. She waited patiently, never revealing the secret, until the Sox called before the 2012 season. They were in. Except there was a problem. The secondary ticket market had collapsed. Seats were selling for pennies or going empty. Interest in the team had waned so badly that Auerbach, who lives in Connecticut, couldn’t find anyone to take September Yankees tickets off his hands at even three-quarters of the price. So, after one not-so-glorious year as a season ticket-holder, Auerbach is relinquishing the seats…[S]aid Phil Ferraguto, a season ticket-holder since 1986, “They dropped the ball in the last couple of years, with the way the team was run. It just seemed like they stopped caring about the fans.”…

The love affair with the Red Sox reached its zenith in the magical, world championship 2004 season and the following year, when people would do just about anything to make it into Fenway Park. That has ended, with rising ticket prices and falling performances. And so, many people — even longtime season ticket-holders – are getting out. The reasons vary, from the product on the field to the collapse of the secondary ticket market to the value of the experience…

All that, though, boils down to the team — a team that frustrated and angered fans, a team that lost its way and its playoff spot and its manager, all in historic fashion. “September of 2011 really soured me,” said Joe Simeone, who shared a full-season package with three others. “To watch that team fall apart killed me. It killed me. It wasn’t watching them fall apart, it was watching them almost not try.” …Ferraguto loved being there in the good years, and even in the lean years. “You felt like you were a part of the community,” he said. But after 2011, after the firing of manager Terry Francona, and certainly after 2012, things have changed… “It was disappointing in that it’s like the end of an era,” said Simeone, 67, who had the tickets since 2004. “I’ve been a baseball fan since I was 3 years old. I have four grandchildren, and I thought often about passing it down, but it just didn’t mean as much to me to do it anymore after ’11 and ’12.”

I apologize for the long excerpt, but there’s so much good stuff in here every cut felt like I was cutting bone instead of fat.  I mean, God bless each and every one of these people for renewing my faith in my fellow Massholes.  I didn’t think we still had it in us.  For the last couple of years I’ve been convinced there were no serious fans left in Fenway.  That there were nothing but 37,000 tourists and poseurs, people on their corporate tickets and Ivy Leaguers who read Doris Kearns Goodwin books and stand for pictures in front of the “World’s Most Beloved Ballpark” sign.  Pink Hats who were there for no reason other than to Instagram and split for Remy’s as soon as “Sweet Caroline” was over.  And as long as the Sheeple kept spinning the turnstiles and buying $200 bricks and keeping the fiction of the fake sellout streak alive, we had no shot – none – of ever righting this ship.

But this gives me hope. If the season ticket holders start a mutiny and the scalpers and ticket agents are afraid to buy the place out and more and more people come dressed as empty seats, there’s room for optimism.  Hope that ownership will stop worrying about soccer and racecars and keeping their trophy wives happy and give us a reason to care again.  So well done, you 10% of season ticket holders who gave up your seats this year.  Just when I think you possibly be any dumber, you go and do something like this… and totally redeem yourself.  @JerryThornton1