Is 500 Consecutive Sellouts Really As Impressive As It Sounds?

Bob MilesCorrespondent IJune 18, 2009

13 Jul 1999:  A general view of Fenway Park during the 1999 All-Star game in Boston, Massachusetts. Mandatory Credit: Al Bello/ALLSPORT

I had touched on this topic last summer when the Red Sox surpassed the Cleveland Indians previous record of 455 consecutive sellouts and I am quite sure that being a Yankee fan I will be accused of being a Red Sox hater and biased in my writing.  

To be truthful, I do hate the Red Sox. But you can see in my previous articles that I also give credit where credit is due.  Deep down, as a fan of baseball, there are certain things that are true regardless of my opinion and I do not have issue with admitting and/or debating these things.

I am also sure I will receive comments pertaining to the many empty seats at the much ballyhooed Yankee Stadium in the Bronx as well as the atmosphere, the history, and all of the other intangibles of Fenway Park.  

I have attended games at Fenway Park and enjoyed the games as well as the atmosphere inside the ball park.  I even sat atop the Green Monster and took in the views of what can arguably be called the “best seat in baseball.”   

Even with my Yankee hat on I was treated with respect and some good natured ribbing. I enjoyed the banter with the Red Sox fans in my area and even video taped the traditional singing of “Sweet Caroline” because I thought it was a fun moment that I wanted to share with others

With that said, last night the Red Sox celebrated their 500th consecutive sellout at the historic Fenway Park and I find myself asking, “is this truly the achievement Red Sox management and MLB are laying claim to or is it more indicative of the need for a bigger ball park?” 

The consecutive sellout record of 455 games was previously held by the Cleveland Indians and was surpassed by the Boston Red Sox on September 8, 2008.  In this span of 455 sellout games, the Cleveland Indians had 2,988,056 more fans through the gate than the Boston Red Sox.  This is an average of 6,567 more fans per game in Cleveland.

Stepping back even further, over the course of the record which started on May 15, 2003, the Red Sox have never ranked higher than eighth in average attendance and are an average of 13,841 fans per game behind the league leader.

Currently, Fenway Park has the smallest seating capacity in MLB.  Seating in Fenway Park is awkward in spots and although some would lay claim to the “charm” of the stadium, others would be quick to point out it's less than desirable quirks.

Boston, as I have witnessed first hand on multiple occasions, is a city that is passionate for their sports teams, especially the Red Sox.

Red Sox management often voices its desire to make decisions driven by the fans’ needs. Not having more seating available is a disservice to those same fans that are forced to either miss the opportunity to cheer on the team they love or pay ridiculous prices to make their way into the stadium.

Either way, laying claim to a sellout/attendance record while ranking tenth in average attendance seems like a contradiction that should be addressed.