The last of the ice was chiseled off surfaces in Fenway Park. The snow was plowed. Coffee and hot chocolate vendors expanded their inventory. Team owner John Henry toyed with the idea of placing portable space heaters with NASCAR decals located around the stadium. It is opening day, early April in Boston. Bundle the hell up.
Meanwhile, down in St. Petersburg, The Stupid Dome (Tropicana Field) sits vacant and baking in the 81 degree heat down in the Florida sun.
The show must go on, says Bud Selig from his plush office in Milwaukee. “What is the difference between 81 and 33 degrees, really? They can just put on more shirts, as long as the shirts meet the requirements of Major League Baseball and its affiliated sponsors, such as Chevrolet and Staples and Burger King. Also, they may not say anything or even allude to negative aspects of the wonderfully remarkable World Baseball Classic sponsored by Pizza Hu and Wilson sports equipment.”
Opening Day was rained out.
Opening Day II was not. And here are a few moments that captured the illustrious scene:
The tough economic climate has taken its toll on the scene outside Fenway Park. This is the scene on Yawkee Way an hour before game time.
Desperate to work for the Sox in any way, Kevin Millar accepts a position on Yawkee Way entertaining anyone who won’t turn away immediately.
Boston fans haven’t exactly taken to Fenway’s new ‘No Alcohol Section’ as ownership had hoped they would. Says owner John Henry: “We should have kept the previous name of the section which was ‘Alcohol Free’, which at least got the fans over there. Of course, then people were very upset when they realized that not only was the alcohol not free, but there wasn’t even any alcohol over there.”
Former Sox pitcher Luis Tiant cautiously shakes hands with his old manager Don Zimmer. “People say to keep some kind of barrier between you and Zim at all times,” says Tiant, “You just never know when the ol’ guy will try to drop you or something.”
Dice-K throws a side session of 240 pitches (28 for strikes) in anticipation of his start two days later.
It took Dustin Pedroia all of two pitches on the young 2009 season to connect for a home run. Here he practices his high five as he rounds the bases.
Rays outfielder Matt Joyce demonstrates the skills he learned this off-season at the Jose Canseco School of Outfielding.
Jonathan Papelbon closed out the win for the Sox. As teammates congratulate him he just says “Margaritas at my place, 8PM.” over and over.