98.5 The Sports Hub staff report
The Boston Red Sox have decided to pull the plug on 7:30 p.m. start times at Fenway Park, reverting back to the usual 7:10 p.m. start times for home games, the team confirmed via Major League Baseball’s schedule release.
A one-year experiment from the Red Sox, the move to 7:30 p.m. starts in 2020 was made with the hopes of the team looking to capture its largest audience possible, especially with fans unable to attend games due to the still-ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
But the late starts and finishes failed to captivate the audience, and a dreadful 24-36 season didn’t help, with Red Sox ratings plummeting down nearly 60 percent from 2019 to 2020.
With Alex Cora back in the fold as the team’s manager after stepping away and serving a suspension in 2020, and after a slew of moves including the signing of Kiké Hernandez and trading of Andrew Benintendi, Chaim Bloom and the Red Sox are hoping that this slow build will bring about an uptick in the team’s success in 2021.
And that fans will be back at America’s most beloved ballpark.
“Well, we’d love to host fans if the health and safety experts up here and our government officials say it’s okay,” Red Sox president and CEO Sam Kennedy said last week. “We have a plan in place to host fans in a socially distanced environment, with all sorts of requirements for masks and hand sanitizing and things like that, and we’ve seen it around the country work successfully at different venues.”
The Red Sox are scheduled to begin the 2021 season at Fenway Park on Thursday, April 1 against the Baltimore Orioles.