A game. Only an exhibition, to be sure, but still a game, which signals the arrival of another season and the commencement of our annual obsession with all things Red Sox.
Maybe you’ll only watch or listen to just an inning or two tonight, or maybe you’ll stick with it until the last kid with a football number on his back gets a turn at bat. But for many of you, I’m sure, as you go through your paces in your offices, factories, classrooms, malls, telephone poles, delivery routes and construction sites, there’s a real sense of anticipation: Tonight, you get your first look at the Olde Towne Teame. Your first glimpse at Schill … is he as heavy as the reporters have been telling you? Is he going to throw the changeup more, like he told my colleague Jackie MacMullan he would do?
How about the new DP combination, Julio Lugo and Dustin Pedroia? The new outfielder, J.D. Drew, he makes his spring debut tomorrow in Dunedin, but the auditioning closer, Joel Pineiro, is due to pitch the third inning.
You’ve heard from the “experts” … now, what do YOU think? A first-night delight: Big Papi, the man who hit 54 home runs, digging in against Matt Garza, the 23-year-old right-hander who started last season in Class A Fort Myers and made it to the bigs by the end, a big, cocky kid with a 98 mile an hour fastball.
Justin Morneau, the AL MVP, won’t play tonight; he’s on the team of Twins going to Tampa tomorrow to play the Yanks. But Joe Mauer, the AL batting champion, is scheduled to play, as is CF Torii Hunter, as fun a guy as there is in the big leagues, and a wonderful outfielder to boot. Which reminds me: You’ll also get your first look of spring at Jacoby Ellsbury, the gifted OF who may begin this season back in Portland but may be just a year away from the majors.
And so it begins. NESN will beam the pictures back to you; WRKO will bring you the sights and sounds. There’s a chance of a thundershower sometime today, but the evening is supposed to be a beauty: 64 degrees, partly cloudy.
I’ll be the guy in the City of Palms Park press box, blogging. See you there.