This post first appeared on BaseballDigest.com
Finally! We’re only hours away from the start of the 109th edition of the American League’s Boston Baseball Club!
Opening Day. We’ve been waiting for this for over 5 months. The sting of an ALCS 7th game loss lessened with each winter day, and the rejuvenated hope for another run at the king of the baseball hill has increased with each spring day. Statistics have been reset at zero, giving every player and team a clean slate. It’s baseball’s New Years Day. Like any new year, anything is possible.
Last year, it seemed the Red Sox played a series on the planet-formerly-known-as-Pluto before they had a chance to play in front of their home crowd. Japan, Oakland, and Toronto before finally a series in Boston!
This year, it has felt like the Sox have played 162 spring training games, with only Tim Wakefield starting every game that was being aired on NESN. The Era of McAnulty and the Second Coming of Josh Bard came and went during the neverending stretch of meaningless games.
Spring Training was so long, the World Baseball Classic seems like a month ago.
Today, tomorrow, or whenever Mother Nature decides, the Sox will resume the next episode of the new rivalry with the Tampa Bay Rays. Maybe Rocco Baldelli will make an appearance and provide the Sox with late inning heroics like he did for the Rays in the World Series. Maybe Jed Lowrie or Dustin Pedroia will summon some Inner Mark Lemke and keep a scoring opportunity alive. Perhaps vintage Beckett will emulate previous Opening Day starters Schilling, Pedro, and Clemens.
It all starts today, a renewed charge towards the postseason and hopes of another championship season.
Some frivolous things to look forward to for the 2009 season:
Jonathan Papelbon is 19 saves away from the all-time Red Sox leader in saves, currently Bob Stanley.
Tim Wakefield is 194 and 2/3rds inning away from the all-time Red Sox leader in innings pitched, currently Roger Clemens. He’s 149 & 1/3rd innings away from Cy Young in the #2 spot. He is 15 starts away from the all-time Red Sox leader in games started, also Roger Clemens.
David Ortiz is 29 extra base hits away from tying Nomar Garciaparra for 8th on the franchise list. He is also 14 intentional walks from tying Ted Williams for 3rd on the all-time franchise list.
Like Teddy Ballgame, The Rocket, The Steamer, and many others before them, hopefully Big Papi, Paps, Beckett and the rest can start the season with a solid win in front of the home crowd.