Civil Society and the Boston Red Sox

Community is a word often invoked. Its usage, however, has so many subtexts its meaning is frequently puzzling; it’s become a coin of the realm word, but the value of its coinage is devalued; its unspecific nature confounds the public’s understanding.

To be sure community is a wholly valid word. The Latin of its origin denotes its honorable lineage. But its application in today’s society is so common that one wonders what specifically does it mean? When one says “community” to what “community” does one refer? There is an African-American community, Hispanic community, Asian community, business community, education community, arts community, faith community – but there is no one specific community unless otherwise designated.

Community has thus become a self-limiting word. Its overuse leading to its misuse.

There is a better expression, an all-encompassing phrase – “civil society.” That phrase speaks to interests beyond one group, reminding us America’s greatness is indivisible from participation by all its communities, for only by coming together in behalf of one great civil society are the interests of all served – and the life of our nation strengthened.

The ownership group of the Boston Red Sox believes profoundly in civil society; which is to say the owners believe that companies and corporations have a duty to engage in civic and charitable affairs. The Red Sox Foundation, the largest in baseball, is the most visible and significant expression of that core belief, but the commitment extends beyond the admirable work of the Foundation.

The Great Fenway Park Writers Series and the annual birthday tribute to the life and memory of Jackie Robinson are two examples of the Red Sox’s civic ethic, of the owners’ deeply held belief in civil society. To affirm in observable ways that while success on the field of play must be the organization’s highest priority, there are other obligations no less significant – obligations which fully embrace the ownership’s commitment to civil society.

The organization seeks, therefore, to be an important and contributing partner in the civic life of Boston, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the New England States, and Red Sox Nation.