It’s a cold January morning, and I am sitting at my computer thinking of my team in newly pressed and cleaned uniforms on a sunny, warm field in Florida. A new season will begin soon for baseball, and specifically for the Boston Red Sox. Many new faces will be at the full squad workout on February 24th down in the Fort Myers training facility this year, and they will be welcomed by fans with great enthusiasm and also with great scrutiny. Welcome to Boston sports Mr. Cameron, Mr. Hall, Mr. Beltre, and Mr. Lackey.
Gone are several Red Sox players from the 2009 Roster too. Thank you for your service Mr. Smoltz, Mr. Penny, Mr. Saito, Mr. Bay, Mr. Gonzalez, Mr. Lopez, Mr. Wagner, Mr. Masterson (weep) Mr. Kotchman, Mr. Lugo and Mr. Baldelli. (Will not mention the fiasco with 3B Mike Lowell/Texas Rangers)
Welcome back to our hometown crew: Mr. Beckett, Mr. Lester, Mr. Matsuzaka, Mr. Wakefield, Mr. Buchholz, Mr. Ramirez, Mr. Bard Mr. DelCarmen, Mr. Okajima, Mr. Papelbon, Mr. Martinez, Mr. Varitek, Mr. Youkilis, Mr. Pedroia, Mr. Lowell, Mr. Drew, Mr. Ellsbury and Mr. Ortiz. It will be a pleasure to watch you all begin your training regimen under Mr. Francona’s watchful eye.
This is about the time that the players start to get “antsy” to get out there, and from what I see and hear, the coaches and media have similar feelings on the approaching days ahead.
Soon it will be Truck Day (February 12th), then it will be the reporting date for pitchers & catchers, the meetings, and training begins on February 20th, Full-Squad training begins on February 24th. then (& before) the sports media will converge for press conferences,etc. and photo day, practice games, then the Spring Training Games begin !! City Of Palms Park will be alive with spectators, players, media…and that annoying guy who sells hot dogs while shouting up and down the stands like a crazed banshee. The fun begins shortly after with the Mayor’s Cup competition with cross-town “rivals” the Minnesota Twins, and the silly green uniforms worn on St.Patrick’s Day (& Earth Day at Fenway), but this year there will be no Spring Training games with MLB rivals the New York Yankees. We must save that intensity for Opening Day at Fenway Park in Beantown with a 3-game series beginning on April 4th (Sunday at 8pm). Take lots of photos if you’re going down to Fort Myers to watch the Sox play….I want to see them when you get back (and I hear they’re building a new ballpark down in Lee County for our boys).
Almost everywhere you go down in lovely Fort Myers – you will see fellow New Englanders hungry for baseball and the warm Florida sunshine. Stop into Stevie Tomatoes’ Sports Page or the Hideaway Bar and hang-out with the hometown crowd if you get homesick.
As the start to Spring Training get closer and closer by the day, I look forward to seeing more and more baseball talk on TV, as well as Facebook and Twitter….the anticipation is mounting! Glad to have you all back boys, now get in those cages and hit those balls…
– fenway fruitgirl 2010 (below: my dugout server lady and my bodyguard/security guy)*
Back to the cold March days in New England.It seemed like yesterday that the hot sun was on me and I was watching the Boys of Summer while sipping an ice cold lemonade and cheering my heart out from my dugout seats at City of Palms Park.It was yesterday!!
Arrived in sunny Florida on the 1st day of spring (Vernal Equinox) and scored an upgrade in my car rental. Drove straight to City of Palms Park so I could catch BP and team warm-ups for some great photos.We all cheered in the concrete shade as the woman wrote in the day’s lineup on the wall. Excellent!! Went back to my seat and met Michael Bowden and Daniel Bard. For all the fans who watched the St.Patrick’s Day game on tv, the Leprechan who was in Jerry’s booth…works at the park !!
Pedroia and Youkilis and Drew and Papi were all in great form at Batting Practice. Youk did not play until Monday though. I was excited to see Brandon Moss play,even though he was on the opposing team. He was such a good kid, not his fault he was traded so they could get rid of Manny. Clay Buchholz was great on Friday,he seems to have a lot more confidence now,and more power to his pitches too. Varitek’s stance is different now,less movement,more hits…great!! JD Drew was hit in the wrist by a pitch and had to leave the game. Later on in the game when the kids came in for the veterans,Kottaras was on fire. Some older guy in the stands got hit in the head by a ball,and had to be taken out by ambulance. Final score was Red Sox 11, Pittsburgh Pirates 4.
I noticed that Terry Francona was not at the game and thought it was strange. Turns out that he was in Quantico, VA. to watch his son graduate from the U.S. Marine Corps. Officer Candidate School. Congrats to the Francona family.
City of Palms park sold out 83 straight games as of Friday and keeps breaking attendance records daily.
So far, the 2009 Baseball season for my Red Sox has not been great. Thanks to the World Baseball Classic, we are short some of our best players. Can’t they have the Classic right BEFORE the Spring Training season starts, so it does not interfere with getting the MLB teams ready for a long, grueling season?
Some publications have called the Sox the “Walking Wounded” this year, because of the signings that Theo Epstein made in the offseason to beef-up our lineup. I am beginning to agree with that nickname. Calm-down Red Sox Nation, I am in no way saying that the team will not be great…..I believe it will be great, when they get together in one place.
NESN is not airing very many games this preseason (nor is MLB free). And by the final scores of the games played, they are not at “Great” status yet. The kids they are throwing together as a team in Florida are not doing so hot, and the bargains that were picked-up to help (Kotsay, Penney & Smoltz) are not yet ready to play. And to rub salt on the wound, the playing status of some of our best players is fairly uncertain. Mike Lowell still has not played, so hopefully he will return to his exceptional infield/slugger status by season-opener. J D Drew got his shot, and will hopefully return to greatness soon, because he is a dangerous hitter when healthy! And let us not forget David Ortiz and his legendary swing, and our Ace Josh Beckett hopefully returning to greatness in 2009. Let’s face it, that’s a lot of Hopefully’s !! Oh, and hopefully Bay, Youkilis, Pedroia, Lopez and Matsuzaka will not be exhausted from playing in the WBC when they get back to City Of Palms Park.
On the positive side, Varitek’s swing has improved, as has his throw. Bard is working-out well as a backup catcher. Lester is doing great, as is Masterson…in whatever role Tito puts him in. Papelbon is consistently excellent, and Lugo appears to be ready to go on Opening Day.
You may have noticed that I have left out some players from this blog, because I may have nothing to report on them, or perhaps I do not care about them very much. But since they are playing the kids so much while waiting for our real team to get back together, keep an eye on Mike Bowden, Dan Bard and Lars Anderson….they are really a joy to watch.
Can’t wait for the little league play to end, and for all the boys to reunite and practice some big boy baseball. Opening Day is only a month away!!