BOSTON -- The Red Sox played in front of their 700th consecutive home sellout crowd at Fenway Park on Friday night against the Rangers, a milestone no other baseball franchise has come close to reaching.
On Sept. 8, 2008, the Sox broke a Major League record with their 456th straight sellout.
"I actually think it's really cool," said manager Terry Francona. "Maybe more cool than most people. I've been in places where there's been apathy, and there's nothing worse than that. You come here on a Sunday day game after a Saturday night game and the place is always full. I kid a lot about the hot dog race and all that stuff. We don't do that here.
"Baseball is good enough, and I really like that. I think that's one of the truly special things about being here, is I hope this streak goes on for a while. It's really cool."
The sellout streak started on May 15, 2003.
"Reaching 700 consecutive sell-outs is a lesson for us all to never underestimate what the passion of Red Sox Nation can achieve," said principal owner John Henry. "Our fans have demonstrated unwavering loyalty and support from the stands at Fenway Park every day of the regular season for more than eight years, and everyone in the organization is grateful for their steadfast dedication."
The Red Sox players and coaches recognized fans for their significant accomplishment during the fifth inning by coming out of the dugout and tipping their caps to the crowd.
"It is a number that at one time might have been considered unattainable, but our fans proved that 700 sell-outs was a possible milestone to reach. It is a testament to the dedication they have for the game, for the team and for the ballpark," said chairman Tom Werner. "As stewards of this franchise, we will continue to work hard to earn the support of our fan base, which is something we will never take for granted."
Each fan received a special 700th game commemorative baseball as they exited the ballpark after Boston's 1-0 loss. The team also gave fans commemorative baseballs when they reached the 500th consecutive sell-out mark on June 17, 2009, and the 600th consecutive sell-out mark on July 18, 2010.
"Red Sox Nation gives our players and coaches a distinct competitive advantage in home games by creating a sell-out atmosphere unmatched in any other ballpark," said president/CEO Larry Lucchino. "We are grateful for their knowledge, their passion and their love of the Red Sox and for the game of baseball."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.