At this hour, your Boston Red Sox enjoy a friendlier environment than almost any of the 30 teams in baseball. The Sox have a chance to finish in last place for the second time in three years, win a playoff game in only one of six seasons, and still be perceived by their fans as “perennial contenders.’’ The Sox can play nine games under .500 for the first 95 games and still have a Nation of believers thinking they can win the division, or compete for the phony second wild card. Sox owners can pare payroll ($72.5 million scheduled to come off the books for next year), stay well below the coveted luxury tax threshold, and listen to regional applause while fans pay the highest ticket prices in baseball. The Sox can get folks to buy into the notion that it’s foolish to compete in the open market for the services of their best pitcher. Sox tickets and merchandise are hotter than they were at this time last summer and Pat Moscaritolo, president of a Boston tourist group, says, “For the past 10 years that I’ve been tracking visitor spending and the economic impact of the Red Sox, it’s almost unaffected by the team’s performance.’’The rest of the column is the typical picked up pieces fare; semi-interesting tidbits and enough stupidity (74 year old Joe Torre a 'terrific choice' for baseball commissioner?) to make you want to line your birdcage with it.
UPDATE, 7/21/2014 at 6:20 PM - Bruce Allen at Boston Sports Media Watch piles on. We will respectfully disagree with one point - Bruce says Shank forgets about the 2013 World Series win by the Red Sox. We are far less charitable here. We believe that Shank is indeed pissed that his little cottage industry of 'The Curse' has been toppled, and that it's more logical to assume that Shank deliberately ignores the success of the Red Sox (and that of other local teams, for that matter) in order to continue taking that Bud Light fueled piss on anything successful by local professional sports teams in the New England area. Just wait until the New England Patriots get revved up in a week or two as Exhibit 1,652.