By Jordan Frias
A great year for the Red Sox means a great year for business, according to Bobby D’Angelo, owner of the Red Sox Team Store on Yawkey Way.
D’Angelo is hoping to cash in on the retirement announcement of David Ortiz and the addition of Tessie the Green Monster to the Red Sox’s starting lineup when the Sox return to Fenway in April for the start of the baseball season.
“Win or lose, Big Papi will be dominating the year,” D’Angelo said, in terms of merchandize sales associated with Ortiz’s retirement.
The store has already received multiple items with the “David Ortiz 34 Final Season” icon on them, and has seen an uptick in sales following the start of spring training in mid-February.
“As soon as spring training begins, fans are enthusiastic about baseball, especially New England, which loves the Red Sox,” he said.
However, last year’s losing season for the Sox did take a toll on sales, D’Angelo said, until fans began to notice newcomers Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts, two rookies who have made a name for themselves since debuting for the Red Sox years prior.
“Bogaerts and Betts are two guys that the fans love; they’re young guys, they’re hot and they speak well so the fans can connect with them and they’re great at interviews,” D’Angelo said, calling them “a saving grace” when sales were down.
“Our business is basically pretty flat but steady,” he said. “I think the fans are ready to see how well the Red Sox play.”
Fans of all ages will also be noticing another Green Monster beside Wally, the team’s beloved mascot, with the debut of Tessie the Green Monster, his younger sister, on Fenway Park’s Opening Day.
Most of the Tessie merchandise is expected to arrive when the Red Sox take on the Baltimore Orioles during the home opener on April 11, but Tessie t-shirts are already on the shelves.
The highly anticipated Tessie item for fans will be the stuffed animal in her likeness, which is being crafted overseas, D’Angelo said. Social media accounts describe her as Wally’s younger, smarter and wittier sister.
“Tessie means a ton,” D’Angelo said. “[She] adds a kid’s flair, a female flair that almost magnifies Wally at the same time for our retail.”
D’Angelo said it was fortunate that the Sox did not lose any dominant players during the offseason and is excited to see how new pitchers David Price and Craig Kimbrel perform on the field.
“Pitchers don’t sell as well as players do, but they’re great additions,” he said, in terms of merchandise, “as long as they help the Red Sox win games that’s ultimately the most important thing.