Saturday, 2:15 PM
After endless winter, baseball must wait one more day
(Globe staff photo/David L. Ryan)
Ronn Potter of California, formerly of Belmont, and his 6-year-old son Max made the best of it today at Fenway.
By Andrew Ryan, Globe Staff
A dark ceiling of clouds the color of dirty snow hung over Fenway Park this afternoon as a cold, teeth-chattering rain fell on the ticket scalpers and the smokers huddled outside crowded bars.
The green shutters stayed rolled down and locked along Yawkey Way as cars drove down a street that should have been blocked by program hawkers, peanut sellers, and that Red Sox guy on stilts. The vendors' stainless steel counters and beer taps had been pushed against the brick wall and covered in blue tarps. Through a locked fence, the stadium looked clean and fresh, but terribly empty.
It has been 169 days since the Red Sox played one that counted, back on Oct. 19, when they dropped game 7 of the America League Championship Series to the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1. The five-plus months that have followed have seen snowstorms and job losses, layoffs, and budget cuts. The region was more than ready for baseball, the surest sign of spring and the hope of renewal.
But winter, it seems, was not quite ready to let go. The announcement came just before 10 a.m.: The rain postponed opening day until tomorrow.
"Aaarrgggghh, not one more day," said Paul Holding, 32, of Charlestown, describing the reaction outside Fenway when the news echoed over public address system. "But these are Red Sox fans. They would come watch baseball in December if they could."
Lansdowne Street looked like an evacuated refugee camp: broken lawn chairs, a sopping wet plaid blanket, mounds of foam coffee cups, empty fast-food bags, and even a white plastic kitty litter bucket that had been emptied and turned into a makeshift cooler filed with melting ice. The debris was piled outside Gate E, where the line had formed for the handful of game-day tickets that go on sale a few hours before first pitch.
A few hardy autograph seekers lined Van Ness Street near the players' parking area, taking cell phone pictures when starting pitcher Josh Beckett drove by in a rust-colored sport utility vehicle.
"See you tomorrow, Josh," said Trace Armentano, 35, speaking softly to herself.
A blue sweatshirt hood pulled over her head, Armentano stood with her boyfriend, killing time because they had no real place to go. The couple had left their home in Rocky Hill, Conn., at 7:20 a.m. and driven to the Green Line, only to learn from a fellow trolley rider that the game had been postponed. Despite the weather and the wasted journey, they remained upbeat.
"I'm just glad to be back up here," said the boyfriend, Frank Gotlibowski, 41, a laid-off truck driver.
"We're itching for baseball," Armentano said, completing his sentencing.
Others did not share that same sense of optimism.
Neil Gluck, 50, and Cathy Atwell, 42, stood at a fence and stared vacantly into the closed ballpark. The Los Angeles residents rearranged their itinerary for a trip to Europe to accommodate a layover in Boston that coincided with opening day. Their flight to Amsterdam leaves this evening, which means tomorrow's make-up game will not be an option.
"Yesterday was so beautiful," said Atwell, her hair wet from the rain. "We kept saying to each other, what a great day for opening day."