The Boston Red Sox’s record sellout streak at Fenway Park came to an end after 820 games over nearly 10 years before last night’s 8-5 loss to the Baltimore Orioles.
The run of full houses began on May 15, 2003, a year before the Red Sox ended an 86-year championship drought with the first of two World Series titles in four seasons. The club averaged 36,605 tickets sold per game during the streak, which totaled 794 regular-season games and another 26 in the postseason, the Red Sox said in an e-mailed news release.
Attendance for Boston’s second home game this season was 30,862, which was 6,638 below the 37,500-seat capacity.
“The streak is a reflection of a phenomenal period of baseball in Boston,” Red Sox owner John W. Henry said in the release. “It’s a testament to the baseball passion of New England fans.”
Red Sox President Larry Lucchino said in February that the streak probably would end early this season, based on ticket sales projections after the club went 69-93 in 2012 -- its worst record since 1965 -- and two years after blowing a nine-game September lead for a wild-card playoff berth.
“We are proud of this historic achievement,” Lucchino said in yesterday’s statement. “Over the past 10 years, more than 30 million -- many among the most sophisticated baseball fans in America -- have purchased tickets to see games at Fenway Park.”
Sam Kennedy, the team’s chief operating officer, said as the season began that the streak would “rest in peace.” The Red Sox are offering discounted beer and two-for-one hot dogs for adults and free food for children under 15 throughout April as a way to say thank you to fans, Kennedy said.
Fenway Park is Major League Baseball’s oldest stadium, opening on April 20, 1912. During the run of sellouts, the Red Sox spent about $285 million on renovations, the team said in its statement.
The Cleveland Indians hold MLB’s second-longest sellout streak at 455 games from 1995 to 2001. The National Basketball Association’s Portland Trail Blazers rank second for the longest streak among U.S. major professional sports clubs, selling out 814 home games in a row, including postseason, from 1977 to 1995.
The San Francisco Giants, who won the World Series in 2010 and 2012, now have the longest active regular-season home sellout streak. The Giants, who beat the Colorado Rockies 10-0 last night at AT&T Park, have sold out 171 straight since Oct. 1, 2010.
The Fenway Park streak ends with the Red Sox (5-3) leading the American League East by one game over the Orioles.
Boston led 5-3 last night going into the ninth before Chris Davis led off the final inning with a solo home run. Boston reliever Joel Hanrahan then walked two batters to load the bases before throwing a wild pitch that brought pinch runner Alexi Casilla home to tie it at 5-5.
Manny Machado hit the next pitch over the Green Monster to score Chris Dickerson and Nate McLouth before Jim Johnson earned his third save for Baltimore (4-4). The two teams play again tonight.