Another curse has enveloped the Boston Red Sox this season.
A curse word that's been around for hundreds of years.
Last year's Red Sox season was defined by one, clear "f-bomb," dropped by David Ortiz in front of the world.
It ended with a World Championship.
The 2014 season has been punctuated by millions of "f-bombs," propelled from the seats at Fenway Park, muttered behind the steering wheels of thousands of cars stuck in traffic headed to the Cape, or interjected by citizens of Red Sox Nation on couches from Claremont, N.H., to Clermont, Fla.
This season cannot end soon enough.
Sunday's Boston Globe included a terrific package about how many "bleeping dents" there are in the Green Monster. Using some high-tech gizmos and a "two-man telescopic boom lift" the paper came up with 211,044 dents on Fenway's left-field wall.
Impressive stuff for sure.
Well, that got us here thinking (which is a major accomplishment in itself), how many "F-bombs" have been dropped by Red Sox fans this season?
The answer is a friggin' "bleep"-load.
The team lost its 74th game of the season Sunday, a tormenting 4-hour, 8-minute affair. It ended with Kelly Johnson, acquired for Stephen Drew, striking out with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth in an 8-6 loss. Fernando Rodney then fired his invisible arrows. It was the eighth-straight defeat for the Local Nine, all at Fenway Park, and the first time in the history of the Seattle Mariners that they swept a series at Fenway Park.
There's at least cause for three "f-bombs" per person in that last sentence alone. This OBF column did not have access to any "two-man telescopic boom lifts" or "multiple algorithms to detect density, radius, size, and depth" of the "f-bombs" dropped while watching or listening to the Red Sox crumble this season on TV, listening them collapse on the WEEI Radio Red Sox Network or watching the horror unfold in person at Fenway Park.
Sadly, we are not able to drop in on every fan throughout New England/Red Sox Nation to check on the utterances of profanity via one of those boom lifts or the NSA's best technology.
For this exercise, we limited our "count" to verbal "f-bombs" and those with a negative sentiment. That's one of the amazing things about "f-bombs." They can express anger, joy, excitement, fear, happiness or despair.
We estimated that the total Red Sox audience for each game, multiplied it by one "f-bomb" for each loss, then multiplied that figure by 64 percent, which is the number of adults who admit to using "f-bombs" in the most-recent reliable survey.*1
We then added bonus "f-bombs" for several "special" occurrences on and off the field, including things like each Clay Buchholz loss, the first Stephen Drew deal, John Lackey opening his mouth in St. Louis, the aggregate total of injuries and a few other gems.
First, we have to determine the audience size. Let's begin.
During this year's All-Star break, Boston.com sports writer and media columnist Chad Finn noted the team was a averaging a 5.2 rating, down 24 percent from the same point last year, and 29 percent from that final number.
One rating point equals one percent of the 2.44 million homes in the Boston/Manchester, N.H. market. A 5.2 rating means an average of 126,880 homes are watching the Red Sox each time they play on NESN. We know there are Red Sox fans watching nationwide, but there are no numbers available for that audience.
There's the radio audience. WEEI has averaged a 3.3 Neilsen radio rating overall since April. Based on Boston's market size, that translates into 136,814 people.*2
We'll use that number to add to the NESN TV numbers. There are radio network affiliates, but the overall ratings numbers for the station includes times when more people are listening than they would be during ball games. Another offset.
There are 2.61 people her household in the U.S., according to the Census. Not everyone is home for each game, so we rounded it off to two people watching per each NESN household to make the math easier.
That gives us 253,760 NESN viewers - 126,880 households times two - and another 136,814 tuned in on average at any given time via WEEI. Thus, our radio and TV base number for NESN telecasts is 390,574.
Of that figure, we stipulate that 64 percent, or 249,967, use the "f-word."
That rounds off nicely 250,000 potential "f-bomb" droppers watching and listening each time the Red Sox air on NESN. The Red Sox are 51-70 on the year in games aired on NESN.
Using the above formula, we've got 17.5 million "f-bombs" generated during losses aired on NESN.
Of course, there are those games on ESPN and Fox. The Red Sox have appeared on ESPN's Sunday Night baseball five times this season, going 2-3. The Red Sox are 3-1 on Fox. The three losses on ESPN (two to the Yankees and one to the Tigers) brought in about 6 million viewers nationwide. Figuring the ESPN audience is split, that would add another 3 million Red Sox-centric viewers who watched those losses. The Red Sox lone loss on Fox to the Tigers on June 7 had 2.18 million viewers, or an estimated 1.09 million Red Sox fans.
The Red Sox-centric audience from the losses on Fox and ESPN of 4.09 million, multiplied by the 64 percent of admitted "f-bomb" droppers, adds 2.617 million "f-bombs" to the pile. That brings our total to a whopping 20.117 million
Then there are the in-person "f-bombs."
The Red Sox have averaged 36,509 fans over their first 68 home games this season, or 23,365 (64 percent) potential "f-bomb" droppers for each game. Factor in 39 home losses, and we get another 911,325 "f-bombs" dropped from Fenway. There are plenty of non-Red Sox fans at each home game these days, but there are also plenty of Red Sox fans when the team plays on the road. For the sake of brevity, we'll let those two zero each other out.
Now, we all know some fans, like certain siblings I have, probably drop 20 or 30 "f-bombs" every time Clay Buchholz pitches. Given the way this season has regressed, we're going to add in another "f-bomb" for each of his eight losses, one of which occurred during an ESPN game in April.
The Buchholz "F-Bomb" Bonus includes 2.896 million TV viewers and radio listeners, plus another 116,828 fired from fans at Fenway.
Our new total is, drum roll please, 25,791,153.
But wait, there's more. Much more.
There have been multiple notable Red Sox "f-bomb"-inducing events this season. These figures are complete wild-guesses. The list includes:
1,412,056 - Re-signing Stephen Drew
967,491 - The Jon Lester trade
789,253 - David Ortiz getting plunked by David Price
560,254 - Chris Archer crying about Ortiz' post-HR bat flip
387,612 - Various questionable managerial moves by John Farrell
2,271,447 - Jenny Dell's engagement to Will Middlebrooks.
642,372 - John Lackey's complaints after leaving Boston
439,157 - Multiple injury reports
110,822 - Rally-killing double-plays
218,491 - Blown saves and extra-inning defeats
Another 7,799,170 added to the freaking pile.
Our grand total, thus, stands at 33,590,323 "f-bombs" generated by the Red Sox this season.
Yes, it's an exact number. But our survey carries a margin of error of plus or minus 100 percent.
There is one thing that is 100 percent certain. There have been far too many "f-bombs" dropped this year throughout Red Sox Nation.
As we all learned in 2013, the magic number for "f-bombs" is only one.
The OBF column is written by award-winning journalist and Bay State native Bill Speros. Hit up Bill on his Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page, on Twitter @realOBF or at his
Obnoxious Boston Fan Email Address. Thanks always for reading.
*1 - An Associated Press poll from back in 2006 found that 64 percent of adults admit to using the "f-word" on a regular basis. It was the most-recent reliable survey available. Since this is still Boston we're talking about, we're going to extrapolate that 64 percent across all age brackets. Let's not kid ourselves people. If you think your 12-year-old is NOT dropping "f-bombs" under his breath whenever Koji gets lit up, I suggest you do NOT check the internet search history on his smart phone.
*2 -This Nielsen rating means that during any given 15-minute period between 6 a.m. and midnight, 3.3 percent of the Boston audience on average is listening to the station. The Boston radio market's total number of listeners over 12 is 4.1954 million.
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