The Red Sox announced that about 81 percent of existing ticket prices would remain unchanged for the 2007 season. I'm sure that relieves many of our anxieties that tickets could actually get expensive.
"America's Most Beloved Ballpark" already had the highest price tag for a family outing of four, currently only requiring a second mortgage, a downgrade to regular from high test, turning the heat down to 60 at night, and buying only generic turkey hot dogs for weeks.
If I can find my Game 1 ticket stub from the bleachers in 1975, I think it will show $4.75 for attending a World Series opener. Now that's almost the price for a bottle of water. Well, water is the commodity of the 21st Century, and I'm sure that Mr. Henry will confirm that, although a lot of other commodities haven't treated him so well in the recent past.
Of course, that also means that 19 percent of ticket prices will rise. I guess I'd like to sit in the Monster Seats someday, and that'll probably only cost me about an arm and a leg as they say. As for sitting in the newer roof boxes or a luxury box, that would be great, but not at the cost of getting a chance to sit atop the 37 foot wall.
Now that the World Series is over (thank goodness), we can talk baseball again. The 1968 Series had more intriguing characters with Gibson, McLain, Lolich, and so on, and I don't remember it raining all the time. Of course, that was quite awhile ago, when they played World Series games during the day. Do the Sox try to get younger and more athletic (excepting Ortiz and Ramirez), or do they bring in overaged, overpaid, over-the-hill veterans looking to pay up to the luxury tax.
As currently constituted, we can't say the Sox can't compete for a championship, because we don't really know what team will be on the field next season. The Sox tried to go pitching and defense last year, and ended up with solid infield defense, bad pitching (stats don't lie), and anemic offense. Meatloaf never wrote a song "One out of Three Ain't Bad", because frankly, that doesn't work.
Schilling and Wakefield are old. Wily veterans or accidents about to happen? Beckett has to adjust to the Hitters' League, Papelbon (we hope) should be fine, and Sox fans everywhere wish Jon Lester well, but can't expect him to play next season. The Sox now have no reliable closer, unless Keith Foulke is habituating Golds' Gym or Lourdes, and as for Mike Timlin, see Schilling and Wakefield. Delcarmen, Hansen, Edgar Martinez, Breslow, and the rest could work out, or not. Jamie Moyer could get over 10 million dollars from Philly (as long as he doesn't belong to AARP), so any pitching won't come cheap.
Offensively, the Sox don't compete with the Yankees, Indians, White Sox, and some of the better AL offenses. Mike Lowell and Kevin Youkilis were barely adequate for corner infielders offensively. Coco Crisp gets a pass for playing hurt, and we don't know about Wily Mo. The Yankees have apparently signed Sheffield, so he's not the answer, and forget about Barry Bonds. Carlos Lee?
The Sox front office must have moved past its dysfunctional self from last winter, so we can anticipate a more coordinated approach. As they say, "money can't play", but the charge for the Baseball Ops side is to find guys who can, and money's just a tool.
Farewell to Trot Nixon, who played hard and sometimes hurt. The bases clearing double in the World Series will be his signature Red Sox moment.
This offseason determines the future direction for the Red Sox, who have to get better on both sides of the ball, get younger, and ultimately more productive from the farm. But don't cry for the business side, because they're raking it in.