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How are the Red Sox going to enforce a lifetime ban anyway?

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Last week the Red Sox made news by issuing a lifetime ban to a fan who used racial slurs at Fenway Park. The most common question I’ve heard about asking about that is how, exactly, does a baseball team enforce a lifetime ban?

Teams don’t check IDs at the gate. There are facial recognition systems and cameras in place at some sporting events around the world, but that technology is (a) in its infancy; and (b) primarily aimed at dealing with criminal and terrorist threats, not individual fan bans over relatively mundane matters like general jackwagonry. In light of that, is a lifetime ban more of a symbolic gesture than anything?

Alex Reimer of WEEI.com spoke to the club about that. There’s a bit more to it than merely hoping someone rats out the guy who got banned if he shows up, but not much more to it. They’ve flagged his credit card so he can’t purchase tickets directly from the Red Sox with that card, but he could use StubHub or have a friend buy him tickets, so it’s not exactly airtight.

Mostly it’s just the honor system and the threat of a trespassing beef if he’s caught in Fenway. The spokesman:

“We know this isn’t a perfect or infallible system. And we recognize that enforcing it will be a difficult thing to do. But if the person is willing to take a risk and come back to the ballpark, there are actions that can be taken if they’re caught.”

Not much else you can do, really. But then again, my view of this is that the idea here isn’t specifically about keeping this one fan out of Fenway Park. It’s about the organization signaling to fans what it considers to be inappropriate behavior at the ballpark and using this guy’s ban as an example. Even if it lacks the sharpest teeth, I suspect people will be a bit more careful about displaying their jackwagonry while taking in a Sox game.

The Red Sox start is ridiculous

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The red-hot Red Sox completed a sweep of the previously red-hot Angels last night, outscoring them 27-3 in their three-game series. Last night’s game was, relatively speaking, a close one, with the Sox winning “only” by six runs. They did manage to strike out Shohei Ohtani three times, though, so some style points help make up for the “squeaker.” Also worth noting that they held Mike Trout of all people to a 3-for-11 line in their three-game series. He did not score a single time and drove in no runs.

That series win puts the Sox at 16-2 on the year. They dropped their Opening Day game to the Rays, but then won their next six games against Tampa Bay, which I’d say makes up for it. In between those two series they swept a two-game series from the Marlins and afterwards they took two of three from the Yankees and three in a row from the Orioles. The only thing that even threatened to slow this juggernaut down is the weather, resulting in a postponement of Monday morning’s Patriot’s Day game. Somewhere in here we should notice that they’re doing this with their starting shortstop and starting second baseman on the disabled list.

As we’ve noted many times, their 16-2 record is the best start in the Red Sox’ 118-year history. It’s also the best start for any team since the 1987 Milwaukee Brewers began 17-1 (let us just forget, for the time being, that those Brewers lost 18 of 20 in May of that year). They are the fourth team since 1961 to win 16 of its first 18 games.

The Sox aren’t simply getting lucky here. They’ve scored 116 runs and have allowed only 50, which is a Pythagorean record of 15-3. They lead all of baseball in offense, scoring 6.44 runs a game, leading individually in average, on-base percentage and slugging. They are only three one hundredths of a run behind the Astros from leading all of baseball in pitching, allowing only 2.78 runs a game. They’re winning all of these games because, in the early going, they’ve simply been that dang much better than everyone they’ve played.

No, the Sox are not going to go 144-18, as they are currently on pace to do. Yes, they are going to find a lot more trouble in their schedule once they play the Orioles, Rays and Marlins less, play a healthier Yankees team more and face off against the Astros, the Blue Jays, the Indians, the Twins and some tougher interleague opponents. This is baseball, obviously, and no one makes it through a season without rough patches, long, short and numerous.

Still: this has been one whale of a start for Boston. Those wins are in the bank. It’s been quite the thing to see.