The #RedSox are asking the city of Boston to change the name of Yawkey Way back to its original name, Jersey Street, saying the move is intended to send a message of inclusion. https://t.co/F1NJOxfIzf pic.twitter.com/c0dKYDAZBa
— The Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) February 28, 2018
I’ve never typed “4 Yawkey Way” into my phone for directions to Fenway Park. I’ve never texted a friend or tweeted “Heading to Yawkey Way!” before going to a Red Sox game. The Red Sox desire to change the name of Yawkey Way back to Jersey Street has zero impact on my life, and it will not affect how many Red Sox games I buy tickets to or watch on NESN.
I generally don’t get too worked up over people, places or things getting renamed, and this situation is no different. I think that the free market usually does a pretty good job of figuring these things out on its own. If the Red Sox believe this change will allow them to sell more tickets, more NESN subscriptions and more hats, more power to them. It feels a bit like virtue signaling from John Henry and Tom Werner, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad move.
Debates over Tom Yawkey’s racist image aside, from just a pure baseball standpoint he doesn’t deserve to have the street named after him. Yawkey owned the Red Sox for 43 years, from 1933 until his death in 1976. In that time the Red Sox won three pennants but not one World Series. His Hall of Fame plaque mentions the pennants his teams “narrowly missed” in 1948, 1949 and 1972. If the Hall of Fame has to mention your “narrow misses” on your plaque, it’s a good indication that you probably don’t deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. Wayne Huizenga won more rings than Tom Yawkey.
The Yawkey Foundation is not taking this news well and issued its own scathing response. They point to the foundation’s philanthropic endeavors across the region over the last 40 years. Perhaps a compromise could have been to rededicate Yawkey Way to the Yawkey Foundation, as opposed to Tom. Nuance doesn’t do well, though, in the age of the internet.
I think my response to this whole situation can be summed up in one word. Deep down, I think most Red Sox fans will agree.