Well, the sports news in New England wasn't completely bad today. Tonight, the Boston Red Sox set a MLB record with their 456th consecutive sellout crowd at Fenway Park. The Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-0. They scored all their runs in the 1st inning and the pitching did the rest. Jon Lester and Jonathan Papelbon combined on a seven-hit shutout. They have won six of their last seven games as the Rays have lost seven of their last eight. The Sox are now only half a game behind the Rays for the first place in the AL East.
The Red Sox have sold out every home game since May 15, 2003. Aside from the Sox winning two World Series, Fenway Park is a far more attractive than it was at the beginning of this decade. When I arrived here in 2000, the previous ownership group wanted to build a new ballpark. Thankfully, even liberal Massachusetts taxpayers didn't want to be taken for that ride. So it never came to fruition. The John Henry-Tom Werner ownership group has not only added seats on top of the Green Monster, the right field pavilion, Conigliaro's Corner but have made the concourse far brighter and more accessible. Prior to 2003, the concourse looked like a wet basement.
Prior to tonight, the MLB record had been held by the Cleveland Indians who sold out 455 consecutive games at Jacobs Field (now known as Progressive Field) from 1995 through 2001. While the Sox hold the MLB record for consecutive sellouts but several NBA franchises are ahead of the Red Sox. The Chicago Bulls had 515 consecutive sellouts and the Boston Celtics had 567. Given their championship runs that's not a huge surprise. But the team with the most sellouts is the Portland Trailblazers with 744. Well, I guess basketball is the only game in town in Oregon.
The Red Sox could pass the Trailblazers mark sometime in 2012. That happens to be Fenway Park's centennial year. Assuming the Sox are still in top form that will be a big, big party.