Sox fans of an earlier generation would have found much to cheer over the past decade, including two World Series titles, and the emergence of the team and its home ballpark, as bona-fide national treasures. Much of the credit for this rightly goes to the current ownership regime, which has been shrewd, and, most importantly, has fielded great teams. But Sox fans of the past might also notice some unsettling developments at Fenway Park. There are crowds decked out in hundreds of dollars worth of team gear, squeezed into expensive seats, and straining, against the good sense that this is just a baseball game, to make every moment of the “experience” count. The same owners who brought victory also created the concept of Red Sox Nation, a kind of corporationopolis that united money, merchandise, regionalism, nostalgia, family, and self-identity into the stew we currently get served every year between April and October. It’s the green of the grass and the red of the dirt and the white of the uniforms, sure. But it’s also Jordan’s Furniture, and Giant Glass, and pink hats, and “Sweet Caroline,” and Ford trucks, and W. B. Mason. Red Sox Nation is a savvy marketing operation, not a functional civic enterprise.
- Ian Crouch, The New Yorker
Read the rest: “Red Sox Nation in Crisis”
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