Everything related to how Boston has responded over the past year to the Marathon bombing may be summed up by what David Ortiz said from the heart five days later in the first Red Sox game at Fenway Park.
This jersey that we wear today: it doesn’t say Red Sox, it says Boston. … This is our f**king city, and no one is going to dictate our freedom. Stay strong!
We are #BostonStrong.
Does anyone recall what happened at last year’s Opening Day ceremonies at Fenway Park? Neither do I…
The only thing that might be memorable from that day were two things: one, the Red Sox won 3-1 over the Orioles, extending their home opener win streak to nine, and two, it proved to be the last game in the consecutive sellout streak. The next night, the streak ended at 820 games, which included postseason games at Fenway Park.
Today, that does not matter. After taking two-of-three in Baltimore, Boston returns to its home field for a celebration that should match or perhaps surpass the celebrations held at the home openers in 2005 and 2008. After the defending World Series champions were showcased at the White House earlier this week, now comes what should be the final mention of last year’s success: a pregame ceremony complete with all the trimmings (gold, to be specific) and the presentation of rings to players and team personnel.
The slate has been wiped clean and, save for Friday’s pregame ceremony at Fenway Park that will celebrate Boston’s 2013 championship season one last time, the Red Sox must now focus on the task at hand, which is to navigate through another 162-game schedule in the hopes of making the postseason for a second consecutive season.
It was a relatively quiet off-season for the local nine. The one notable subtraction was the loss of Jacoby Ellsbury to free agency, who agreed to sign with Boston’s division rival, the New York Yankees. Also gone from the team are two other key cogs from last season’s machine: catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia (signed with the Miami Marlins) and shortstop Stephen Drew (currently unsigned). There were also a few notable additions, too, including catcher A.J. Pierzynski, outfielder Grady Sizemore, and reliever Edward Mujica, all of whom made the Opening Day roster.
Otherwise, the team taking the field this afternoon at Orioles Park at Camden Yards is for all intents and purposes the same one that we saw playing for postseason glory this past October. The starting rotation carries over from last season, as does the right side of the infield, the corner outfielders, and the key bullpen components.
I’m never gonna leave you. I never gonna leave
Holdin’ on, ten years gone
Ten years gone, holdin’ on, ten years gone
— Led Zeppelin, Ten Years Gone
What a wonderful journey these last ten years have been.
On 17 March 2004, I finally stopped procrastinating, purchased the fenwayfanatics.com domain name, and debuted a new web site, which I tagged as the “home to Boston Red Sox baseball fans everywhere.” My intent was to share my interest in this team and its rich history from the perspective of an “everyday fan.”
Like all sweet dreams, it will be brief, but brevity makes sweetness, doesn’t it?
— Stephen King, 11/22/63
Two weeks ago, I posted a study of the top “one-and-done” positional players in Red Sox history and the player who rose to the top of every statistical category we studied – WAR and OPS+ – was Adrian Beltre. It was almost no contest, as the former third baseman prove himself valuable at the plate and in the field.