This weekend, the Red Sox are allowing their season ticket holders to take batting practice at Fenway Park as a way of saying thank you for their support. I think that’s a great idea. It’s a fabulous gesture from the team to the fans that support them the most.
Yes, I know what you’re thinking. They’re just trying to distract everyone from the horrible season. They just had a bunch of food left over since nobody went to games in September, so they’re trying to get rid of it. Those statements may be completely true. But the fact remains that they didn’t have to do it. The fact that they cared enough to put together the event tells a lot, I think.
Besides, this isn’t one of those “bribe” giveaways. I’m sure that nobody bought their season tickets hoping they’d be able to take batting practice. Nobody is going to keep their season tickets next year just in case they can do it again. This isn’t a bobblehead giveaway where the team gets you to buy a ticket by offering something you want more. These are season ticket holders. They’ve already taken the bait. But, the Red Sox have always felt it was worth giving them just a little bit more.
Take a look on eBay, and you can see examples of all kinds of surprise giveaways from the Red Sox to their season ticket holders. There are baseballs commemorating their milestone sellouts. There are Christmas ornaments. There are posters. There’s no direct benefit to the Sox from these presents. Nobody is thinking to themselves, “I wasn’t going to drop a couple thousand dollars on season tickets…but they give away $20 baseballs…so I’m in.” That would be crazy. But, the Sox are just giving a little bit of a good feeling. A simple, “That was nice of them” is all they’re really gaining. But, they consider it worth the effort.
They do it for non-season ticket holders too. They often have presents for people attending games. Again, these aren’t bribes. They often aren’t even announced. A quick look at the Red Sox pocket schedule only lists one giveaway day in 2012. A magnet schedule on Opening Day. That’s their only bribe of the year. (Although, I doubt they’re selling any extra tickets to the home opener just so people can get a magnet schedule.) The rest are surprises to simply spread goodwill. They might give away cotton candy. Or baseballs. Nothing earth shattering, but a nice gesture nonetheless. It shows that the organization at least cares a little about their fans. (And before you say it, don’t give me the “If they cared as much about having a good team as they did about giveaways…” line. We all know they are completely different people with different funding.) They also know that if a simple thing like giving away cotton candy makes me tell people I had fun at a game, that’s good for them too.
This also isn’t something new. They had the same surprises when they were defending champs as they do now when they finished in the basement. It is an example of a long relationship with the fans. It’s really one of the reasons they bought the team in the first place. They saw a loyal fan base that was basically being spit on by the previous owners. They knew that if they treated the fans decently, things would get even better. They were right.
I'm sure it's been appreciated.