So there I was, merrily barreling through Tony Massarotti’s Jan. 17 column “Giving us the business,” about Terry Francona’s new book, when I came to the part about the Red Sox-commissioned marketing study concluding that women are “more drawn to the ‘soap-opera’ and ‘reality TV’ aspects” of professional baseball, a conclusion Massarotti described as a “sky-is-blue observation.” Whoa there, battered blue hat-wearer.
Aside from the obvious point — that many (I’d say, most) women watch baseball for the same reasons men do: as an excuse to drink beer in the afternoon while jeering athletes over plays we’d never have a chance of making, no matter how many checks to the gym we write — the study’s conclusion (and Massarotti’s apparent agreement) are flawed on the face of it.
If the Sox were so interested in attracting female viewers, Mike Lowell would still be playing third base. And if anyone thinks that Major League Baseball is the best venue in which to enjoy a combination of soap opera and baseball, I have two words: “Bull Durham.”
However, I do agree with Massarotti’s view that the marketing study was $100,000 that was not well spent. (When I told my 21-year-old daughter about the Sox researching why the team’s TV ratings had dropped, her immediate response was: “Well, because they stunk,” though that wasn’t the exact word she used.)
I know a lot of women who are loyal Sox fans and do not even wear pink hats. That piece of information is free.