The Boston Red Sox, in the mind of one of their owners, didn’t have a likability problem in 2017.

And as the club prepares to enter the 2018 season with an almost identical team, the issue remains relevant.

“First of all, I think we were enormously likable,” said Tom Werner, the Red Sox chairman, in defense of the team last weekend. “Our attendance is strong.”

The Red Sox sold 2,917,678 tickets in 2017, down 1.3 percent from 2016 and their third-lowest total since 2006. Their attendance ranked ninth in the majors despite a stadium with a capacity smaller than most.

That tickets were available for home playoff games just hours before the first pitch last October wasn’t an encouraging sign, but Werner was optimistic.

“I guess it’s an empirical thing,” Werner said. “I feel anecdotally that there are a lot of fun, exciting, accessible players. Obviously we miss having David Ortiz in the lineup, but I think Mookie Betts is one of the great players in baseball. I think we have a good team and most importantly, a competitive, winning team.”

Ratings for game broadcasts on the team-owned network NESN were down 15 percent from the year before, quite the contrast from the New York Yankees, who saw ratings jump 56 percent during an unexpected playoff season, according to Forbes magazine.

In Boston, lower numbers, critical fan reaction on social media and similar reaction from the opinion pages of local newspapers and sports talk radio painted a broader picture that the Red Sox didn’t present the most likable product in 2017.

“I would dispute that,” Werner said. “I think we had a very entertaining team.”

Fans told the Sox otherwise this winter. While they sold out the Winter Weekend event at Foxwoods Casino again, season ticket sales are down 6 percent, according to the team president, Sam Kennedy.

Single-game tickets went on sale Friday at 10 a.m., but the Sox lack any new players to spark interest the way ace left-hander Chris Sale did last year.

The fan base isn’t going to disappear and remains strong compared to others around baseball, but it’s clearly not energized the way it’s been in recent years.

So here are three ideas to help the Red Sox connect better:

Make friends, not enemies

The list of unlikable events in 2017 included using Apple Watches by team personnel to relay stolen signs to the dugout; throwing fastballs at the heads of opponents; and cursing Hall of Famers for commentary on a TV broadcast as analyst.

And the Red Sox were hardly unified in their bickering. Some players clearly made an effort to back David Price in his war against Dennis Eckersley and the media, while others continued to foster good relationships with reporters and broadcasters. Matt Barnes threw at Manny Machado’s head and Dustin Pedroia was quick to yell from the dugout, “It’s not me.” The trainers took the hit for the Apple Watch scandal but nobody would say who put them up to it.

Be honest with fans

When a pitcher has an ERA above 5.00, it’s a bit odd to have the manager go into postgame press conferences, look into the camera and tell the fans the pitcher had great stuff.

The fluffing of facts happens often with injury diagnosis, playing time forecasts and performance expectations.

Dave Dombrowski, the president of baseball operations who has less than three years as a Boston resident, has brought two 93-win seasons and continues to float that number as a barometer for success, perhaps unaware that in this town, 93 wins doesn’t mean the same as it might in other cities. Especially if the team gets bounced in the first round of the playoffs in both years under him.

Encourage players to express themselves

Think about the most lovable players in recent years. They were guys who were willing to show their personality, speak their mind and engage with fans. They weren’t running away from the spotlight, they embraced it. They showed themselves. They did the same thing with their teammates.

Stiffness isn’t good for anybody. It must be difficult to feel comfortable being yourself on the field when you can’t do the same off it.