Red Sox officials said Tuesday that unless something unusual happened, the team’s sellout streak at Fenway Park would come to an end Wednesday.
The vaunted streak reached 794 games (820 counting the postseason) when the Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles, 3-1, in their home opener Monday. But a crowd of around 30,000 — about 7,000 short of capacity — is expected Wednesday.
Team president Larry Lucchino predicted in February that the streak would end early in the season and repeated that last week.
The streak is the longest in baseball history. The record for a major league sports team in the United States is 814 by the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers from 1977-95.
The Sox last failed to sell out a home game on May 14, 2003, when a crowd of 32,485 saw a victory against the Rangers. Outside of David Ortiz, every active Red Sox player has played only before sellout crowds at Fenway.
Several factors will contribute to the demise of the streak. The Sox were 69-93 last season, finishing in last place in the American League East. That led to less interest in the team and cut down on advance ticket sales during the winter months.
The Sox also are scheduled to play 17 home games in April, nine of them at night. This is traditionally a difficult month to sell tickets because of fickle weather and children being in school.
The Sox also have sold fewer season tickets than in previous seasons.
The issue of what constituted a sellout arose in recent seasons, when hundreds of empty seats were apparent at games.
The Sox said last year that they base their attendance on the number of tickets distributed, not actual attendance. That number includes 800 complimentary tickets donated to charities or given to others. Standing room tickets also are counted. This is common practice around baseball.
Ortiz plays again
Ortiz played in an extended spring training game for a second consecutive day in Fort Myers, Fla., and was 2 for 4 with two singles. Ortiz is expected to play in a third game Wednesday before starting an injury rehabilitation assignment with Triple A Pawtucket Thursday. He started the season on the disabled list recovering from an injured right Achilles’ tendon. Ortiz is expected to need at least 5-7 games with the PawSox before joining the Red Sox.
Roster move due
The Red Sox are expected to make at least one roster move today when shortstop Stephen Drew is activated off the seven-day concussion disabled list. Drew was 2 for 13 with a home run in four games for Double A Portland. Jose Iglesias, who made the team because Drew was injured, could be optioned to Pawtucket . . . Matt Barnes, one of the organization’s top pitching prospects, made his Double A debut Monday and pitched only one inning. He allowed two runs on two hits with a walk and three strikeouts. Because he threw 33 pitches in that one inning, Barnes was taken out of the game because of an organizational rule designed to protect young pitchers from injury. “This time of year, we’re going to err on the side of caution,” manager Kevin Boles told the Portland Press Herald.