A few of the Red Sox hit the road today to kick off the club's "Holiday Fest" that'll culminate in Saturday's Christmas at Fenway event -- but first will give fans in each of New England's six states and at the Jimmy Fund clinic a chance to meet some of the players.
Here's a rough itinerary of the two road trips that took to the pavement this morning:
- Tuesday: Mark Melancon, Ryan Kalish, and Chris Carpenter will be in Maine, including a visit to Briarwood Children's Home in Lyman.
- Tuesday: Ryan Lavarnway and Pedro Ciriaco will be in Vermont, including a stop at the Burlington Children's Hospital.
- Wednesday: Melancon, Kalish, and Carpenter head to New Hampshire, which will feature a visit to "Families in Transition" in Concord.
- Wednesday: Andrew Bailey and Craig Breslow join Lavarnway and Ciriaco in Connecticut, with Breslow and Lavarnway each returning to his alma mater and stopping at the Yale New Haven Medical Center.
- Thursday: Melancon, Kalish, and Carpenter will be in Rhode Island for a tour that will include the Hasbro Children's Hospital in Providence.
- Thursday: Lavarnway and Ciriaco continue their trip in Massachusetts, heading to Rainbow Child Development Center in Worcester.
- Friday: Both groups of players are scheduled to make a morning visit at the Jimmy Fund, then join Manager John Farrell for the "Fenway Park Holiday Bash." Jarrod Saltalamacchia then joins everybody for Christmas at Fenway on Saturday.
The coolest part is that in addition to the pre-scheduled stops each morning, the groups will also be making spontaneous drop-ins at offices, stores, restaurants and other spots during the course of the afternoon. And those visits won't be totally random, either. Fans can request that the players pay them a visit by Tweeting with a specific hashtag (#SoxRoadTrip1 for Maine, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island; #SoxRoadTrip2 for Vermont, Connecticut, and Massachusetts) or by commenting on road trip posts made on the team's Facebook page.
Give some credit to the Sox' players, too. (There's a sentence that hasn't been used very often around here over the last 15 months or so.) In 2011, the team's holiday caravan didn't travel outside the city limits of Boston, and none of its three days was scheduled to last any more than four hours, yet -- even after the brutal September collapse that stung their fan base -- only four players agreed to participate. Lavarnway and Saltalamacchia were among them then, as well, while the other two were Michael Bowden and Darnell McDonald, players the Sox eventually designated for assignment before the season was halfway through.
It's nice to see the participation and the scope of their reach expand a bit this time around.
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