Still in a holding pattern on the Xander Bogaerts front with even less progress to report in extension talks with Rafael Devers, Red Sox fans are beginning to get restless, wondering what exactly Chaim Bloom’s plan is ahead of next week’s Winter Meetings in San Diego. While the Astros introduced their newest signing Jose Abreu (who had apparently been high on Boston’s offseason wish list), the Red Sox held a press conference Wednesday at Fenway Park, where the team debuted new uniforms featuring a jersey patch in recognition of its “signature partner,” MassMutual.
This marks the first time in club history the Red Sox have advertised on their uniforms, a development that was predictably met with mixed reactions on social media. Though it’s not as fun to talk about as Justin Verlander’s recent sit-down with the Dodgers or the latest Aaron Judge speculation, corporate sponsorship is a necessary evil that, loath as we are to admit it, drives all sports commerce. Ad patches were inevitable, but why did the Red Sox have to make theirs such an eyesore?
MassMutual, which paid a hefty sum ($17 million a year) to have its logo plastered on uniforms while also replacing the iconic John Hancock sign above the center-field scoreboard, didn’t leave much to the imagination, taking up precious real estate on the right sleeve. If you’re curious what players think of the patches, look no further than Kiké Hernandez, who weighed in with the following sarcastic tweet.
Baseball, like all sports, is a business, one that lends itself to compromises that occasionally taint the game’s integrity. Once the initial shock wears off, fans and players will barely notice the patches, reserving their collective outrage for something more pressing. But with the Red Sox sleepwalking through what is shaping up to be another disappointing offseason, the Twitter mob, seeking red meat as restitution for the team’s continued shortcomings, will sink its teeth into just about anything, even if it’s a two-by-four-inch insurance logo they’ll forget about by Opening Day.