Membership has its Privileges

As it stands, I don’t have any tickets for any Red Sox games for 2011.

I hadn’t given it much thought before today.  Usually, by this time, I have tickets for a couple if not a handful of games.  This year I need to be more practical, so the games I attend will be fewer than they were last year.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as I enjoy Don and Jerry and there are many benefits to watching at home (not fighting the crowd after the game and saving money from not taking a taxi home are just two that come to  mind).

So what do I do this morning?  I re-up my Red Sox Nation membership.  Keep with me, there’s a reason for sharing this.

Now I never bought into the whole idea that you have to sign up for a Red Sox Nation membership to be a real fan.  That’s just ridiculous.  But I do think that some of the benefits of being an official member (listed here) are pretty damn cool.   I use GameDay Audio an awful lot so having it packaged into my membership is a plus.  But my favorite benefit is being allowed into Fenway early.  I’ve been able to take advantage of that benefit a few times and the only drawback is that you’re confined to the Green Monster, but getting into Fenway a half an hour earlier than roughly 35,000 other people is a tremendous kick.  (Sitting on the Green Monster for a half an hour watching batting practice, especially if your seats aren’t on the Green Monster for the game, is more fun than I can articulate – while also being slightly terrifying if you’re afraid of heights.)

While I realize I sound like an advertisement for Red Sox Nation, I feel like the program gets a really bad rap because some people bristle at the idea of the team trying to make money off of the fans.  I’ve stated it before and I will continue to do so…I’m THRILLED that this ownership gets that there are many ways to entice the fans while also making a few dollars for the team.  They know their audience and they cater to that.  Given the benefits that come with membership (and that memberships begin as inexpensively as $14.95 a year), this is a win-win for both the fans and the team.  I can’t complain about that.

I write this because I received an email this morning from a baseball fan (team allegiance unknown) who felt compelled to tell me that the Red Sox were greedy, cared nothing about the fans, and were “worse than the Yankees” while specifically citing the Red Sox Nation program as one of the reasons “the rest of baseball hates you”.  He went on to write that he was certain that I was an official member of Red Sox Nation because the fan base was full of “bandwagon fans” who only cared about having something like an identification card to prove they were a real fan of the team.

This email was sent (and read) much too early.  It was no way to start off my day.  So I decided to turn a negative into a positive.  I know there are plenty of Red Sox Nation detractors.  And if  you don’t think the benefits are worthy of paying for, I can understand why you would have no use for a membership.  But to me, the benefits are a long time coming.  The opportunities they offer are some that no other team does and instead of assuming the team is trying to take advantage of the fans, I prefer to think of it as a way the team is showing appreciation to us.

So, yes, I am a card-carrying member of Red Sox Nation (and have been since the program began) and I’m proud of it.  My team finds new and creative ways each year to show me they appreciate the fact that I support them and instead of questioning the motives, I choose to be thankful that I support such a team.

Only 35 days until Truck Day!

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