Valentine’s Day is Over


red soxIt’s almost my favorite time of year again. Time to put on my hat and jersey, walk down Lansdowne Street and Yawkey Way and arrive at one of my favorite places on Earth. Fenway Park. There is something about being there for the first time of the season. It happens the same way every season for me. As I make my way underground, I take in all the familiar smells, hot dogs, popcorn and beer. I fight through the foot traffic frantically trying to find the entrance to my section, bumping the shoulders of other excited fans. Then it happens, the moment I’ve been waiting for, I walk up that hill and get my first glimpse of the field. Goosebumps.

It’s truly amazing how brand strength supports a troubled product, and nowhere is this easier to see than in sports.  The nostalgia, the association with (or hope for) victory, and the constant connection with history and a city make us forget transgressions every Spring.

The Red Sox certainly stepped up their branding game this winter.  After the debacle of Bobby Valentine and a failure in spirit and in the standings, the announcement of a new manager was followed by almost weekly interviews, town hall meetings, and a barrage of media exposure meant to make John Farrell the symbol of serenity for the franchise.

It was over the top, but it wasn’t a wasted effort.  The gesture put new images in our minds — new brand associations that would slowly override the painful failures of 2011 and 2012.

Of course, let’s face it: the Red Sox could survive with even less effort.  Fenway Park holds 37,495 people and even more memories for me. It’s where my Dad would take me as a kid. Where we would easily be the loudest cheering fans every time Nomar Garciaparra hit a homerun. It’s where I had my first date with my husband and where we took our engagement photos years later. Fenway Park has become a second home for me, even when the Sox are below a .500 average for the season and have lost their fifth straight game, I always seem to have a bit of extra faith when I’m sitting in those extra tiny seats.

As a fan, I personally can’t wait for the season to start, so that – yet again – we have a chance at a fresh start. To my dear Red Sox, we all have our hopes up. We are all watching your every move and listening to your every word. Please don’t take advantage of this fresh start! 2013 could be our year… no pressure.



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