BOSTON (AP) — A home sellout streak of 820 games ended last night for the Boston Red Sox.
The team confirmed before the game against the Baltimore Orioles that it was not a sellout at Fenway Park, ending the longest streak in major pro sports history.
The run of 820 games includes the postseason, and broke the record of 814 set by the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers. Boston’s streak of 794 regular season sellouts also is the longest in major pro sports history. The previous longest regular-season streak in major league baseball history was 455 set by the Cleveland Indians from 1995-2001.
The sellout streak began on May 15, 2003, when the Red Sox beat the Texas Rangers 12-3 and continued through Monday’s home opener, a 3-1 win over the Orioles.
Speaking before the game against the Orioles, general manager Ben Cherington commented on the news.
“We know that part of the reason it’s over is because we failed last year. So we take that on us and take responsibility for that,” said Cherington of the run, which dated back to May 15, 2003, and lasted 794 regular-season games (820 including the postseason).
“Hopefully the focus of this is a remarkable run for our team and our fans. I remember a lot of pretty miserable, cold April rainy nights everyone sat through. For it to last as long as it did is amazing. So it’s on us to make sure the place is filled and start a new one at some point.”
When asked if the run might have been helped with an offseason of acquiring more high-priced players, Cherington referenced the ‘03 team that kicked off the streak.
“When the fans really started showing up and selling out the place, I guess we had some star level players, but it was really about the team winning as a collection of personalities,” he said. “If we put together a good team, a team that plays the right way and wins, the place will be full. It’s too good a baseball town. People care about the team. We’ve tested their faith the last 1½ years or so. As we said before, it’s on us to earn it back. Hopefully we earn that slowly but surely, knowing we still have some more work to do.”
Cherington also took time to reflect on what made the streak possible, and how a new one might be some day built again.
“At the end what we’re trying to do is put together a team people want to see. Of course it’s reflection of work by the entire organization,” the GM said. “It’s partly the team’s success. It’s partly what ownership has done in the ballpark, what Larry and others have done in terms of services fans get. It’s really a collective effort that resulted in that run of sellouts. And ultimately credit to the fans themselves, showing up day after day like that is amazing. Hopefully we’ll start a new one. I know the work that needed to be done to start a new one has started. It ends tonight and it was a great run.”