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World Series Championship Repeat Begins with Opening Day

The Boston Red Sox won 119 games last season and claimed their fourth title in 15 seasons, and they look to repeat as champions for just the second time in franchise history.

For the fourth time in the last 15 seasons, the Boston Red Sox open the season as the defending World Series champions of Major League Baseball; only time will tell whether Boston successfully defends its title against the other 29 teams. In three previous attempts, the closest the Red Sox came to doing so was in 2008, when they took the Tampa Bay Rays to seven games in the American League Championship Series but failed to win the deciding game. Boston also looks to defend its current run of three straight division titles, the longest streak in franchise history.

After winning 108 regular season games on their way to another 11 wins in the 2018 postseason, Alex Cora’s roster looks very much like the one he had for most of last season. In fact, the Opening Day roster includes only one player – Colten Brewer – who did not play for Boston last season. Spring training was, like last year, relatively quiet, and the Red Sox finished with 12 wins versus 17 losses and a tie. Perhaps the biggest news out of Fort Myers was a contract extension Boston gave to pitcher Chris Sale; the five-year, $145M payout ensures that he will stay with the team through 2024, unless he chooses to opt out after the 2022 season.

With the roster now final, let’s see who will be with the team in Seattle tonight when they start the season against the Mariners at T-Mobile Field (formally Safeco Field).

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15 Years Later, There Are No Regrets

Someone once suggested that I would be doing my son a favor to let him become a Yankees fan; that was never going to happen.

Baseball was, is and always will be the best game in the world. – Babe Ruth

The day after a crushing Game Seven loss in the 2003 American League Championship Series for Red Sox fans, I arrived at work to find a youth-sized Yankees cap on my chair. One of my co-workers, an unabashed New York fan, had pinned a note to it: “Give this to your son so that he’ll know what it feels like to root for a REAL team!”

Needless to say, I was less than happy – no, actually, I was pissed – and I threw the hat and the note into one of the bottom drawers of my file cabinet, knowing well enough that my then six-month-old son would NEVER be a fan of any team other than the Boston Red Sox.

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New Manager But The Same Objective As 2018 Red Sox Season Begins

Besides sporting a rookie manager in Alex Cora, the 2018 Red Sox look very much like last year’s team, and the objective of winning a World Series has not changed.

It seems odd that a Major League Baseball team coming off back-to-back division titles would showcase a new manager the following season, but that’s the case for the Red Sox, who fired John Farrell at the conclusion of the 2017 season after five years with the club and replaced him with former Boston infielder and rookie manager Alex Cora. Expectations are already high for Cora, who was the bench coach for the 2017 World Series champion Houston Astros, to lead the club not only to another first place finish in the American League East but deep into the postseason after two straight division round exits.

Boston enjoyed a relatively successful if rather low-key spring training. Basking in the warmth of the Florida sun at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers while New England enjoy four March Nor’easters, the Red Sox went 22-9-1, winning 14 of their last 15 and five of six against the Minnesota Twins to claim the Mayor’s Cup (if that is still a thing). With the roster now final, baseball begins for real today in Tampa Bay with the Red Sox in town for four against the Rays; let’s catch up on the state of the team as Opening Day dawns across the league.

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