EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

March 31, 2013

Time to embrace new-look Red Sox

After last year's disaster, Boston headed in right direction

The small-market Tampa Bay Rays have won 90 or more games four of the past five seasons because they have applied a simple principle.

A principle the Red Sox should implement, too.

“We’re tasked with operating with one eye on the present and one eye on the future,” Rays vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman told The Eagle-Tribune last season. “There are times that you would prefer to shift both eyes to the present. But I think had we done that in years past, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”

With a new batch of players and a commitment from GM Ben Cherington to develop the farm system first and foremost, it is essential now more than ever that Boston apply Tampa’s principle.

And Boston fans should do the same.

Red Sox fans seem disinterested after last year’s team went 69-93 and finished last in the AL East. So much so that ownership, in an attempt to sell tickets, lowered concession prices for April, including beer for $5 and Fenway Franks at a two-for-one rate.

I’m not here to encourage fans to buy tickets or watch every game on NESN. I’m not CEO Larry Lucchino.

I am here to encourage fans to keep a close eye on the Sox’ development and growth. Enjoy this team for what it is right now. This isn’t a superstar-laden squad favored to win a World Series. In my opinion, Boston is an 85-87 win team with some likable new players and some talented youngsters in the big leagues and minors. It’s a team that can contend for one of the two AL Wild Cards.

This team can be entertaining for fans if they accept it for what it is and what it can be in a year or two. Like management, keep the mindset of both the present and future.

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