Reporting Jon Keller
BOSTON (CBS) – According to Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino, the team’s major league record 793-game sellout streak at Fenway Park is about to come to an end.
Listen to Jon’s commentary:
“Ticket sales are more challenging this year,” Lucchino told the press down at spring training Thursday, and no wonder. The team stank last year, and you can buy a used car for about what it costs to take the family to Fenway.
Lucchino predicted the difficulty of drawing fans out to cold-weather games in April will finally end the streak, which he termed “an extraordinary accomplishment.”
But the truth is, the sellout streak is a myth.
As the Globe documented last year, there are often plenty of unsold seats available at the box office. But the Sox, as other teams do, count the complimentary tickets they give away toward the alleged sellout total.
Hence, the non-sellout sellouts that have contributed to the non-record record.
Perhaps you’re wondering: who cares? I agree, as little white lies go, this is not especially important.
But the fact that the Sox have so aggressively promoted this fantasy speaks to broader problems with their organizational culture, an emphasis on status over substance, that have been manifest on the field and which they are now, commendably, devoted to reversing.
And the phenomenon of exaggerated self-importance and claimed accomplishments that turn out to be less than advertised is something to take seriously.
We certainly see it in politics, so persistently that it becomes frighteningly obvious our leaders are believing their own self-hype.
We’re suffering right now through an awards season in the music and movie industries where mediocrity is too often celebrated, and creative failure is touted as supreme achievement.
I don’t know why the Red Sox chose to cling to the mythical sellout streak for so long. By any measure they’re been very successful, and have done a great job of marketing and improving the Fenway experience.
But I’m glad the fakery is ending.
We need less of that in our lives, not more.
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