It's a bit early for baseball, you say? No Way! The Sox are at Fort Myers for training camp - signalling that it is time to prepare for the official start of the Regular Season. There are jerseys and tee shirts to buy, new players to investigate, stats to read... plenty to do until April 6th!
For the first time since 2002, the season opener is not an away game. The 6th of April is Opening Day, right here at Fenway! The Sox are playing the Tampa Bay Rays. Revenge?
The Evil Empire comes to town on April 24th. I'm sure the Fenway Faithful will give them the same welcome as always - mocking the Yanks' off season issues (and there were big ones... again!) and welcoming A-Roid and his buddies back to town. However, the Yankees are still respected - you have to respect a team with a record like theirs. I'm curious to see how the New Yankee Stadium fares as a playing field - the Yanks won't have much of a home field advantage this year.
I've had the pleasure of witnessing a Sox vs. Yankees game at Fenway in person. It is one heck of an experience! It of course didn't hurt that the Sox won in extra innings, either. The collective sigh when Papi strikes out, Sweet Caroline, the cheering, the beers and the raucous screaming and hugging when the last run is scored - it is a close to religious experience. I hope to again get the chance to see the Sox play.
Early last season was interesting for the Sox - with the Flu epidemic that ran through the clubhouse. There was a lot of improvisation on the field, with player shuffled to different positions. Thankfully the Sox have a wonderful Farm program to pick from. They called up several players, including Justin Masterson - who made his Major League Pitching debut at Fenway on April 24th 2008. He did a great job, allowing only two hits and one run in six innings - not bad for a 23 year old kid who plays for the double A Portland SeaDogs in Maine, especially since he only had 24 hours notice! Now Masterson is a core player on the team.
The new players are looking pretty sound, and I'm interested in seeing how Ramon Ramirez and Takashi Saito fit in with the Sox Bullpen. Lets hope this Ramirez brings less drama than the last. Thankfully Mike Lowell and Jason Varitek stayed with the Sox. I love Tek.
My little man, Connor is learning words left and right - so I've got a list of words he should learn for baseball season! Tek, Go Sox, Baseball, Red Sox, Yankees Yuck, Home Run, Go Papi... We'll expand from there.