There has been a gradual change at Fenway Park over the past few years. It goes beyond the preponderance of pink hats: there are the outrageous actions of Manny Ramirez cutely being dismissed as “Manny Being Manny,” fans more intent on batting a beachball than watching a baseball game, and fans for whom the high point of the night is the singing of “Sweet Caroline” and doing “The Wave.” One Boston writer dubbed Red Sox Nation “Nitwit Nation,” and others have questioned whether Red Sox fans are really as erudite as they are often credited.
“I hope they aren't,” said a playful Larry Lucchino with a mischievous wink. “When we took over the Red Sox, we knew that if we were going to continue get people to come to pay ridiculous prices for seats, parking, souvenirs, and refreshments, we were going to have to reach out to what we very candidly refer to as the 'stupid segment' of our market. It only makes sense.”
Lucchino goes on to explain that they have done extensive research to support this marketing strategy. “Let me say unequivocally that the stupid fan is very important to us,” he says earnestly. “We’ve done focus groups with hundreds of stupid fans to really get into their mindset and see what drives them. For instance, we found that they’ll pay almost anything for a beer as long as there is no limit to how many they are served. That’s why our policy is that no matter how drunk a fan is, if they can somehow manage to stagger their way to the concession stand—we’ll keep selling them beer.” Lucchino said that research indicates that stupid fans don’t mind not having any recollection of the game. “Hey, I love watching baseball, but who am I to tell someone what constitutes a fun time at the game?”
Lucchino was asked if he has any regrets about phasing out the more learned fans, those who truly love the game, and not those who attend games just to make a fool out themselves. “I just feel the stupid fan has been ignored for far too long,” Lucchino said, eyes misty and his voice quivering with emotion just a bit. “To accommodate them, we will continue to raise ticket prices, let the alcohol flow, and keep those pink hats coming. Hell, I’ll even throw down a few beachballs from my luxury box.”