Column: Truck yeah
On a cold Saturday morning, hundreds of die-hard Red Sox fans braved the elements to gather at one of baseball's last great cathedrals, Fenway Park. It wasn't to watch a game, practice or even meet the players.
Last Saturday was "Truck Day" in Boston.
Since 2003, the Boston Red Sox have allowed fans to take part in a unique celebration to build excitement for the upcoming baseball season. Truck Day is the day when the equipment truck for the team is packed for its 1,400 mile journey to Fort Myers, Florida in anticipation of spring training.
While Fenway Park was blanketed in snow from last week's snowstorm, for most Red Sox fans this is the official start of spring.
Items on board the truck include bats, baseballs, socks and cases of sunflower seeds, the bare necessities to bring home another World Series trophy. In fact, on Saturday, last year's World Series trophy was on display for fans to see as they waved goodbye to the truck as it pulled away to warmer weather.
In the grand scheme of things, Truck Day doesn't equate to much when it comes to the standings of the American League East. However, it does get people across New England and "Red Sox Nation" to start thinking about baseball once again.
For the Red Sox, the offseason was inactive with the exception of Jacoby Ellsbury signing with the New York Yankees as a free agent. Ellsbury's departure from Boston was no surprise to me or any Red Sox fan. The Sox will have to find a new leadoff hitter and centerfielder when they take the field on opening day. Shane Victorino could easily fulfill the top spot in the lineup and Jackie Bradley Jr., among others, could fill the gap in centerfield.
The other decision manager John Farrell will have to make is who will make up the five-man starting pitching rotation. Returning to the mound this year for the Sox are Jon Lester, Clay Bucholz, John Lackey, Jake Peavy, Ryan Dempster and Felix Doubront. I could see any of these guys making solid starts for Boston and it appears the Red Sox' pitching woes of 2012 are far behind them.
As a Red Sox fan, for the first time in quite a few years, I feel very confident about this ball club heading into spring training. This group of guys created excitement in the city and turned those who doubted them into believers. I already have plans to attend two games this year and I can't wait until I hear those magic words echo out of Fenway's public address system:
It has been 14 years since a team repeated as champion. The last team to do it was none other than the "evil empire."
Painted on the side of the equipment truck was the phrase "On the road to greatness." As with any baseball season, that road is usually filled with many bumps along the way. But with the Red Sox returning a similar lineup to the field as last years' championship team you have to wonder if that road will lead them to the baseball promise land again this October.
Follow Tyler on Twitter @TylerRMorrissey
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