The 100th year of Fenway marks the birth of a new spring training facility [JetBlue Park ] in Ft. Myers, FL. A milestone in MLB history opens the door to a fresh new season with the annual Red Sox Truck Day on a cold and snowy morning north of the team’s tropical home for the next eight weeks. The annual sign that spring is creeping up on us all.
The Sox and more than 100 fans lined Van Ness Street behind Fenway Park celebrated the annual send-off as the team’s equipment makes the long journey down to Florida to join the team for spring training. All the gear was loaded Saturday into a big rig that read “The Green Monster’s On the Move.”
Al Hartz — who has been driving the equipment truck to spring training since 1998—said, “It’s the beginning of baseball,” he added, “It’s the first sign of spring. And the fact that we’re doing it on a little bit of a snowy day, it works out.”
“It’s a rite of passage, a rite of spring,” said Red Sox president Larry Lucchino, “It’s inspiring to me. We can’t forget how important this team is to so many people, and to their spirit and their sense of community. And it’s energizing to see them out here.”
Red Sox fans are supporting their team in what they hope will be a much different season than the former with major changes coming to Beantown in the Sox departments and clubhouse. The Fenway Faithful never say die and this is why I love being a part of that group, a new slate brings new possibilities. An open mind brings many possibilities to any sports team.
Fans began turning out around 10 a.m., though the truck wasn’t scheduled to depart until noon.
As the truck slowly filled, Lucchino and other Red Sox employees handed out magnetic schedules, rubber wristbands and stickers commemorating the 100-year anniversary of Fenway Park. This fan is hoping to get up north to visit family in Massachusetts and be a part of this milestone year at Fenway.
“It’s another year but this is a really exciting year,” Lucchino said, “We’ve got a lot to prove. We’ve got new baseball leadership. These are exciting times. You really have to be here this year, and follow it this year. It’s going to be a very challenging and exciting year.”
“There’s a lot of newness, certainly,” Lucchino said. “With a new general manager [Ben Cherington], a new field manager [Bobby Valentine] and a new facility down there [just-opened Jet Blue Park in Lee County, Fla., the team’s new spring training home], it’s just not the same thing as it’s been the last several years. And I hope the newness results in some new energy.”
Being personally fortunate enough to attend Fenway Park back in the days of Yaz, Fisk, Rice and many others (who made Red Sox history), this fan is seriously looking forward to a fresh new start and all new history being written by this year’s team.
My good fortune did continue last season at spring training as I was there on my birthday and actually met and spoke with Terry Francona, Jonathan Papelbon (whom I will still catch in Clearwater), and my fave Jason Varitek…strange now looking back…how lucky I was as things sure have changed. It made for the best birthday I can recall in a long while.
Stay tuned Sox fans as this page will be packed to the gills with Sox updates, game articles and the same fabulous images I collect every season watching the Sox practice down here in Florida. Back your team and bring a fresh outlook, nothing else will serve as motivation for ANY team.
Welcome to spring; to Ft. Myers Florida for this new organization and new readers to my page. I wish you all good baseball and GO SOX!!! PLAY BALL!!
Watching the video clip of the truck pulling out gave this Sox fan chills on a warm afternoon in Florida!
Red Sox spring training tickets: http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/spring_training/tickets.jsp?c_id=bos