This Version of the Boston Red Sox Getting First MLB 'Hard Knocks' Treatment is a Damn Shame

Boston Red Sox v Chicago White Sox
Boston Red Sox v Chicago White Sox / Quinn Harris/GettyImages

On Wednesday Netflix announced the 2024 Boston Red Sox would be the subject of the first-ever Hard Knocks-style coverage for an MLB team. In theory it is exciting news for baseball fans everywhere. If the level of inside access granted to camera crews during NFL training camp is any indication then the audience will be enjoying some awesome views from behind the scenes that we've never gotten before. In fact it's reasonable to hope for even more access than we're accustomed to, given that football teams fancy themselves covert government agencies and tend to operate as such. Baseball teams take everything less seriously and should allow Netflix to broadcast footage from deep within the clubhouse.

However, this is not as exciting as it should be. And not just because this is something out of a Bill Simmons fantasyland. It stinks that the Red Sox are going to be the subject of this landmark moment because the team next year is going to be average. Uninteresting. All at the directive of ownership. And that's a damn shame.

I mean, where are the storylines here other than "it's Boston"? The Sox have no shot in the AL East, arguably the most competitive division in baseball. The New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, and Baltimore Orioles all made big moves to improve their rosters this offseason. Juan Soto is in pinstripes and Corbin Burnes will be dealing at Camden Yards. The Red Sox's big moves for the winter? Getting rid of Chris Sale and Alex Verdugo. Otherwise all moves were made around the margins as John Henry and the Fenway Sports Group attempt to keep the team as far under the luxury tax threshold as possible without facing a full-on revolt from the fanbase.

There's nothing interesting about this team. They lack starpower outside of Rafael Devers, who is one guy. Their intriguing young prospects are still too far down in the minors to potentially make an impact for the big league club in 2024. There are obviously plenty of "underdog" angles to play, in theory, given how far from contention the Sox are in comparison to their counterparts, but who's gonna buy that with a Boston team? It's been 20 years since the Red Sox were underdogs. There's no plucky upstart energy here. It's like making a documentary about a Fortune 500 company that just laid off half its staff trying to break even after decades in the black. There is no good guy to root for.

So, to recap, this Red Sox team has: no superstar personalities, no hope at winning a title, and no reason for neutral fans to root for them. That means the documentary is just going to be a love letter to Boston fans, and not only are there plenty of those out there already, most fans are too mad about the direction the team is going in to give their full-hearted support.

And so we come back around to the original point-- it's a travesty this is going to be the first MLB Hard Knocks ever made. There are teams that deserve it more. More than that, approximately 20 of the 29 other teams were definitively more interesting options.

There will still be plenty of cool things and maybe the 2024 Red Sox end up a fascinating story. But that is quite the longshot. The likelier future is that the documentary will follow a mediocre, boring team throughout a 162-game slog. And that stinks because it could have been so much better.