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RED SOX AND ENNUI

Some sports column topics are of broader interest than others. Not everyone cares about mascots or women’s basketball or the 1936 Olympic rowing team.

Still, there’s always the Red Sox. Most all area sports fans track the Red Sox to some extent.

So here we go.

After a promising start the BoSox quickly fell back to around .500. The team is not creating much of a sports stir. Of course, it’s still April. And the Celtics and the Bruins finished at the top of their respective leagues as their playoffs got underway and those teams are absorbing much of New England’s sports attention.

But the Red Sox Nation baseball energy is still lacking. Really lacking.

“Ennui” is a great word for it.

“A feeling of weariness and dissatisfaction. Boredom.”

The BoSox finished last in 2023 and 2024 doesn’t look to be any better.

Fenway Park is still relatively full for home games, despite the highest prices in baseball. But apparel sales are down. NESN’s TV ratings have cratered in recent years. Admittedly, if the team surprises and is in a pennant race this August and September, then some energy will return. Bandwagon jumpers are always out there. Or if Raphael Devers went on a 57-game hitting streak, then interest would spike. But don’t count on anything like that.

Ennui.

How to overcome it?

Fresh faces.

Not only on the field, but in the dugout and in the front office.

I’ve been saying manager Alex Cora needs to go for a long time. That old dictum is true about firing a manager because you can’t fire the whole team. That Cora is a cheater who served a season suspension for bad behavior just “poisoned the well” for many of us.

But how do you fire an owner?

I’m talking about the principal owner John William Henry II. He’s also the principal owner of the Liverpool Football (English soccer) Club, the Boston Globe, and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Among other things he’s a co-owner of RFK Racing. So, he’s spread pretty thin. The conventional wisdom is that he’s no longer “emotionally invested” in the BoSox and that he should move on from Fenway.

It wasn’t always so.

Along with Tom Werner and the late Larry Lucchino, Henry purchased the Red Sox in 2002. Two years later the team broke the “Curse of the Bambino” and won a World Series. Henry was “toast of the town.” Another title followed in 2007. And yet another a wonderful championship came about in 2013, sandwiched between three last place finishes. As recently as 2018 the Red Sox were World Series Champions, setting a victory mark during that special season.

Author with Larry Lucchino, the former president and CEO of the Boston Red Sox

But that was then, and this is now.

That Henry is a woke, preening, virtue-signaling liberal annoys many of us. He changed the name of Yawkey Way to Jersey Street because longtime BoSox owner Tom Yawkey was not as morally enlightened as Henry. But at least the beloved Yawkey was a constant presence with the team.

Bill Belichick led the Patriots to ten Super Bowls, but he’s gone from Foxboro because the team floundered. One generally can’t live on one’s laurels forever.

Prime Minister Charles DeGaulle was probably the greatest Frenchman since Napoleon. But he was rejected by the French electorate in 1969. He died the next year. And British voters famously dumped Winston Churchill as prime minister two months after he’d led his nation to victory over Hitler’s Nazi Germany in 1945. Fate is fickle. But DeGaulle and Churchill didn’t “own” their countries like Henry owns the BoSox.

Heck, consider that the Yankees fired Yogi Berra after his first season as manager in 1964 even though Berra’s Bronx Bombers won 99 games before losing the World Series to the Cardinals in seven games.

So, change is way overdue at Fenway. New manager and new owner, please!

Enough “ennui” already!

Sports Quiz

Has there ever been an MLB “dual no-hitter,” i.e. simultaneous no-hitters in the same nine-inning game? (Answer follows)

Born Today

That is to say, sports standouts born on April 25 include sportscaster Joe Buck (1969) and NBA star Tim Duncan (1976).

Sports Quote

“All literary men are Red Sox fans. To be a Yankee fan in a literate society is to endanger your life.” – American novelist John Cheever

Sports Quiz Answer

On May 2, 1917, Hippo Vaughn of the Chicago Cubs and Fred Toney of the Cincinnati Red threw dual no-hitters. Vaughn gave up a hit and a run in the top of the tenth. Toney then completed his ten-inning no-hitter for the win.

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State Representative Mike Moffett was a Sports Management Professor for Plymouth State University and NHTI-Concord. He co-authored the award-winning “FAHIM SPEAKS: A Warrior-Actor’s Odyssey from Afghanistan to Hollywood and Back” which is available on Amazon.com. His e-mail address is mimoffett@comcast.net.

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