Because they were too busy making Fenway attractive to the average five-year-old.
For real. We’ve got the new kids’ gate, Gate K, which leads to the new kids’ concourse and the new kids’ clubhouse. Who needs an ace when you’ve got eighteen fucking Wally statues? Sox fans don’t want to see Cole Hamels striking out fools; they want tiny slides for their fucking babies. And for sure no one will notice Wade Miley’s 108.56 ERA if their hearts have been warmed by Gary Striewski’s movie star smile and a whole hoard of adorable ragamuffins on NESN’s Sunday kids show.
I guarantee you this was ownership’s master money-making plan for this season. There is no other logical way to reconcile the crappy pitching with the renewed push to bring in a younger audience. Why spend money on Jeff Samardzija when you can get Wally on a bench, Wally on a bike, and Wally taking a giant dump all over the team for the same price? What about Jon Lester, Max Scherzer, or James Shields? Nah, son, we got a room with blocks and a playground.
And here’s the thing: I don’t begrudge ownership for making the park more family friendly or doing everything they can to bring people into the game and the sport, but man, their priorities just seem fucked. Every time I watch one of their supposed starters give up five runs in an inning that ends with the game’s umpteenth advertisement for the kids’ concourse I get that much closer to full-time Nationals fandom. All this crap just comes off as disingenuous, pandering, and desperate. It ain’t like good teams have historically packed their stadiums or sold buttloads of merch, right?
But I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. The team’s presentation has been spiraling in this shitty direction for a while now. We’re talking about a team who’s primary broadcast duo is a pair of chuckleheads more concerned with Joseph Abboud than what’s happening on the field. Walking around and into Fenway, you’re bombarded by imagery and language reminding you that you’re not just going to a baseball game–you’re making memories! You know what I’m going to remember about this season? Clay Suckholz making “WHY WON’T SHE GO OUT WITH ME?!?!?!” face while he walks the bases loaded for the third time in a week.
Gyah. As always, kids, the moral of the story is: cut the shit and focus on the baseball and everything will be ok.