Tuning in to the World Series as a viewer without a true rooting interest, I was struck at how undeniably likeable both teams were.
Both were remarkable stories. When the Giants were splashing each other with champagne, it was hard not to feel genuinely happy for them.
The Giants were an easy-to-root-for collection of talented role players and standout personalities.
Contrast that with coverage of the Red Sox last week that featured comments from Tom Werner, in response to a supposed lack of interest. The comments essentially claimed the Sox and their staff did a poor job of "portraying" their players as interesting for most of last season.
It's pretty simple, Tom.
I've already written in this very space about how the Sox could use an injection of character. So I won't go there again, other than to re-iterate that it would be ideal to land either Carl Crawford or Jayson Werth, both tempting hybrids of flat-out ability and personality.
What I do intend to question, though, is where the "ownership team" is looking to take the Red Sox. Somewhere along the path to rejuvenating the franchise, the group turned a dangerous corner, one that threatens to alienate its loyal fanbase.
Fenway Park was in need of serious repair when John Henry, Larry Lucchino and Werner came on board. Now, nearly 10 years later, the park is in the best shape it's ever been, and appears ready to host baseball games for decades to come.
That work is downright impressive, and should be lauded as such.
But I'm beginning to question the kind of experience being crammed into Friendly Fenway. A group that engaged a rabid fanbase with an unquenchable quest to deliver a winner on the field accomplished that goal—and then seemed to switch gears.
Now it's all about race cars and soccer teams and concerts on the outfield and business ventures. The Sox brass has turned a baseball franchise into a global enterprise, which is good for the bottom line.
But not for the loyal fan.
I liked it better when they just cared about winning baseball games.
That's not to put all the blame for the past few seasons on ownership. There have been mistakes in the front office, players who failed to deliver and—especially this year—rashes of injuries that would derail even the best-laid plans.
But ownership gets at least a slice of the blame pie. There's no way it's a coincidence the team has won zero championships and threatened for the same amount during the span that the owners started spending more time on "other ventures."
Most recently, that included a protracted and public battle to purchase an international soccer team.
Which helps the Red Sox how?
The owners of the Red Sox are businessmen. I get it.
And they are certainly allowed to have other irons in the fire.
But the Red Sox—and by that I mean the players on the field—used to be first in line. And if Henry and Co. want to return to World Series glory, they'll have to become a priority again.
So if the ownership group can find time between kicking a soccer ball and calculating how many laps one can get on a set of tires, it would be nice to consult with Theo Epstein on ways to improve the product that takes the field they've so fervently beautified.
The 2003 and 2004 teams, very much like the Giants this year, were fun, entertaining and successful. And so was the ballpark experience.
But it's hard to attend a game now as a long-term fan and not feel like you're at a carnival instead of a baseball game.
Atmosphere is everything.
That starts with the players on the field and in the clubhouse, and extends to seats that line the ballpark. This ownership group used to have a firm handle on that.
It would be good to see it again.
Because you know what's really good for business?
World Series trophies.
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