Minor League Franchises Court Red Sox Fans
Apr 11, 2011
Courtesy Paul Edwards, Society for American Baseball Research
Major League Baseball’s Opening Day is a festive event in New England. Proud of their storied franchise, the residents of Red Sox Nation often arrange their spring and summer activities around the upcoming season’s schedule. The Boston Red Sox represent ground zero for all things baseball in Massachusetts and across New England.
In the following days and weeks, minor league franchises across New England will open their seasons, as well. Keenly aware of how important the Red Sox are to their fans, minor league franchises will search for ways to tug on the heartstrings of Red Sox Nation. In Brockton, Massachusetts, the independent Can-Am League entry, the Brockton Rox, is no exception.
Entering their tenth season in Brockton, the Rox have embraced their niche in a baseball-rich landscape defined by the Boston Red Sox. Over the past few years, the team has responded by bringing back fabled Red Sox stars such as Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd, as well as an assortment of former Red Sox farmhands.
Last season, the Rox signed 63-year-old Bill “The Spaceman” Lee to a one-day contract to pitch in a game against the Worcester Tornadoes. Lee delivered a win with a crafty and masterful performance in front of a packed house. This season, the Rox have brought in another legendary Red Sox alum, Bill Buckner, to manage the club. Still, the Rox have also forged their own identity, adding flavor and character to the region’s rich baseball landscape.
Assistant General Manager Hoffman Wolff is proud of how the Rox have carved out a role for the team in the Brockton community.
“The Rox have also developed their own traditions,” Wolff said. “As an independent club, the Rox are able to control their product on the field. The team is proud of its winning legacy and the long-term connections that fans make with players.”
The past few years have been rough for many independent franchises. The Brockton Rox have faced and overcome serious financial setbacks and challenges. In a city known for its champions, however, Brockton has stood tall.
The Rox open their 2011 season on May 26 with a 7:05 p.m. game against the Worcester Tornadoes in Brockton.
Check out the Society for American Baseball Research at http://www.sabr.org.