Just Watch The Game

NESN, the cable network that broadcasts the Red Sox games, will toss a change up after tomorrow night’s contest with the Baltimore Orioles — airing a reality/dating show called “Sox Appeal.” It basically turns Fenway Park into its alter ego, Boston’s best outdoor bar. It also highlights a personal gripe of mine, are you going to see the game or are you going to be seen?

Sox Appeal” is just another in a long line of clones spawned by “The Dating Game.” The Fenway version will undoubtedly provide a decent level of pseudo entertainment, but it also pushes the Red Sox brand in a sketchy direction. Like it or not by sanctioning a dating show the team ties itself to the attention freaks that take part. If the big question is, can people who share a passion for the Red Sox also find passion in their personal lives? — my answer is, who cares.

After finally winning the World Series after an 86 year drought in 2004, Red Sox Nation exploded into an international sensation. You’ll see the Red Sox “B” on caps and t-shirts just about everywhere — with the possible exception of the Bronx. Fenway Park is pretty much sold out for every game, and that has brought an unwelcome brand of entitlement to a significant portion of the fandom. Just look at the yahoos behind home plate during any game. There’s always someone on a cellphone or preening for the camera. You think these people are baseball fans? “Sox Appeal” is a direct result of this kind of narcissism.

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a game at Fenway, but I watch plenty of games on NESN. I won’t be watching “Sox Appeal” though. Forgive me for only caring about the club and whether they’re living up to their lofty expectations and not the sideshow. The Sox are my team, not my lifestyle gurus. I like to think that I have something else to talk about after the last out is recorded. It’s great if your significant other shares your love of baseball, but if that’s all you’ve got — you’re going to be thrown out at the plate.

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