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The Boston Red Sox took in nearly $3.5 million this year, one of the most profitable seasons in the history of the American League. Now Red Sox management has decided that $3.5 million is not enough. Beginning next year all 7,369 bleacher seats will be sold on a reserved basis, and instead of being $2 per seat they will be $3.50 for a season-ticket holder, $3 if bought in advance and $2 if bought on game day.
No more, as long as the Sox stay hot, will a fan be able to decide on the spur of the moment that watching the Sox beat up on the Yankees, say, even if it means standing in a long line, would be a nice way to spend a summer night.
Claims Fenway ticket manager Arthur Muscato, "There were good reasons for this change in policy. One is that it will not require fans to wait four or five hours for rush bleacher seats. And it would help with crowd control. Some people waiting for tickets would go through a six-pack of beer, at least. And then those tanked-up fans would go into the park and drink more beer."
From now on some of Boston's most loyal fans are going to be tanking up in front of a TV set, and when the time comes—as it will sooner or later—that the Red Sox have a run of poor seasons and the level of interest falls and attendance drops off, management may find itself wondering what ever happened to all those people who used to fill Fenway's bleachers.
Television's bottom line does not always dictate a happy ending for sports fans, but CBS has seen the light. After it turned the Heisman Trophy presentation into one of those tawdry Emmy-Grammy-Tony carnivals last year and consequently flopped in the marketplace, the network declined to try again.
The Downtown Athletic Club of New York, which has been giving away its highly prized bronze statuette of a running back for 43 years and should have known better than to sell it for a mess of TV pottage, will return to the traditional format. The winner will be announced at a news conference on Nov. 28, and a black-tie dinner at a Manhattan hotel will follow on Dec. 7. Replacing last year's "entertainment"—Leslie Uggams, Connie Stevens, George Plimpton, Phyllis George, Elliott Gould, Robert Klein and a dozen or so hoofers—will be Congressman Jack Kemp, a former Occidental (and pro) quarterback.
The spotlight will not be quite so bright this year, but at least it will be trained in the right direction.