The Boston Red Sox knew it was coming, and now it's official. The 794 game sellout streak at Fenway Park — 820 when postseason games are included — ended on Wednesday night as the team's second home game against the Baltimore Orioles — which they dropped 8-5 — drew an announced crowd of 30,862. That's nearly 7,000 short of Fenway's current capacity of 37,499.
The streak began on May 15, 2003, and ultimately surpassed the Cleveland Indians 455 consecutive sellouts from 1995-2001 to become the longest sellout streak in Major League Baseball history. As Matt Snyder of Eye on Baseball notes, when including the postseason games, it becomes the longest sellout streak in professional sports, passing the Portland Trailblazers mark set at 814.
Pretty remarkable numbers, and a record the Red Sox organization and their fans should be proud of. And it appears they are. Here's what a few of the important figures within the organization had to say in statements released on Wednesday.
Owner John Henry:
“The streak is a reflection of a phenomenal period of baseball in Boston and of America's greatest ballpark. But more than that, it is a testament to the baseball passion of New England fans. As we close the book on this incredible era, we look forward to another with a renewed certainty that the next couple of generations of Red Sox fans will also be enjoying baseball at the ever magical Fenway Park.”
Team President Larry Luchino:
“We are proud of this historic achievement. Over the past ten years, more than 30 million, many among the most sophisticated baseball fans in America, have purchased tickets to see games at Fenway Park. Never in that period was there a crowd less than 32,000. No other club in Major League Baseball can make that statement. That speaks volumes about the constancy and dedication of New England baseball fans.”
General Manager Ben Cherington:
“We know that part of the reason it’s over is because we failed last year. So we take that on us and take responsibility for that. Hopefully the focus of this is a remarkable run for our team and our fans. I remember a lot of pretty miserable, cold April rainy nights everyone sat through. For it to last as long as it did is amazing. So it’s on us to make sure the place is filled and start a new one at some point.”
The Red Sox reached the postseason six times and earned two world championship during the streak, so obviously there was plenty of motivation for fans to continue attending. The challenge now for Cherington is to regroup and rebuild so that another streak can begin and be sustained. It certainly won't be easy in the ultra competitive American League East, but it's a challenge he's seems ready to face.
In the here and now, though, we take our hats off to the Red Sox for sustaining excellence for nearly a decade and congratulate their fans for being a part of history.