Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Red Sox Selling Pieces of Tarp

The subject line of the email reads "Own a piece of Red Sox history." Intrigued, I opened the email and what I saw made me laugh out loud. The Red Sox are selling tote bags that are made from pieces of the infield tarp used during the 2010 and 2011 seasons.

A piece of Red Sox history? Really?

So the giant sheet of canvas that was rained on for two seasons is now considered a piece of history? It's not even an old tarp. And it was used during two of the most forgettable Sox seasons this side of 2002.

The "Fenway Boat & Tote" costs $59.95. There was a limited edition of 2,012 available. And they're already sold out online. Anyone dumb enough to pay $60 for this deserves, well, a tote bag made out of used canvas.

I hate tote bags anyway. Any bag that can't be closed is a useless item.

But this is the latest example of the absurd lengths the Sox have gone to monetize the team and turn Fenway into a brand-name. This is getting silly, and a little bit embarrassing. The Sox are actually selling infield tarp as tote bags.

When the Sox sold Red Sox Nation Membership Cards, I got one. It gave me access to buying a pair of Monster Seats (when they were only a year old and very highly sought after), a free subscription to MLB radio on the internet (I lived in Ithaca, NY at the time and this allowed me to listen to Sox games), and discounts on merchandise. I felt silly being a "card-carrying" RSN member, but it paid for itself and then some.

Then they redid seats in Fenway, and are selling the old seats they removed. The price is steep (this pair on costs $1,600, marked down from $2,300), but I could see such a thing as an eccentric piece of furniture in a living room or on a porch. An actual part of Fenway Park in your own home. Sounds okay.

Then they sold bricks. The silliness was increasing. Then again, you could buy a brick to dedicate to your grandfather or one that your future grandchildren could look at 50 years from now. Not for me, but I understood the appeal to some.

Now this. A piece of tarp from 2010. "A piece of Red Sox history." Remember those historic rain delays? That torrential summer storm of August 24, 2010. Then in 2011, the tarp really became historic. Rainouts on April 10, May 17, and September 23. There was even that Tropical Storm that forced the Red Sox to move a game up from Sunday to Saturday. The tarp has seen it all, been there in the biggest weather delays the last two seasons.

This tarp was truly a big part of Red Sox history. And 2,012 people paid $60 to own part of it, and stuff it full with that shirt they just bought which says "Liverpool" in the Red Sox font, that brand new Sox hat that's been artificially faded so it looks worn, a collection of Mike Barnacle books, a lock of Dan Shaughnessey's hair, and this completely blank 1918 throwback jersey which costs over $100:

There is no number on the back. It's a completely blank jersey.

I'm sure these tote bags will also carry books like this one, an essential part of the Pink Hat Collection:

So what can the Red Sox sell next? I'm thinking game-worn ground's crew polos. These are the guys that actually handle the historic tarp that covers the field. They tend to the grass, they keep the warning track clear, they moisten the infield to reduce dust. And now you can buy their used shirts that are soaked in the perspiration that keeps Fenway beautiful.

Or how about taking burnt out spark plugs from the ground's crew's lawnmowers and turning them into Christmas ornaments? They can even be used as candles in a Menorah. These are the spark plugs that run the engine that mows the grass that the tarp covers.

Maybe the Sox can take the troughs that were once in the bathrooms, slice them up, and turn them into wheel barrows. You can tend to your garden with the scrap metal that thousands of drunk Sox fans have left their mark on. It's a part of Red Sox history.

I can't complain too much about the Sox trying to make money. It's working. People bought these tote bags. They paid twice as much as they would have for a normal LL Bean tote bag.

However, it's still embarrassing that this is what the Franchise is focused on doing. It's a marketing firm, using Fenway Park as a brand-name (Roush-Fenway Racing, Fenway Sports Group, Fenway Sports Management).

They've turned Fenway Park from a Field of Dreams to a field of revenue streams.

If you brand it, they will buy.


  1. Anonymous12:36 AM

    Seen what the tote bags are selling for in the ebay aftermarket?

  2. Holy shit.

    Thanks for pointing that out to me.