Monday, April 16, 2012

Important Games in Fenway History: April 29, 1986

Imposing. That’s the first word I think of when I see Roger Clemens’ iconic 95-mph fastball pitch. From 1984 through 1996, Fenway Park was home to the legendary pitcher but it wasn’t until his second year with the Red Sox that Clemens cemented himself as one of the best players the team had ever seen.

1986 was a landmark year for the Red Sox and Roger Clemens. Not only was ’86 the year that Clemens won the MVP and Cy Young awards for the season, but he helped lead the team into the World Series against the Mets. While the less said about that game the better, the Red Sox made history that season with a record-breaking game against the Seattle Mariners in April.  

Despite rumors of shoulder troubles pre-season, Clemens single-handedly struck out 20 players in just one nine inning game. Clemens broke the record of his childhood hero Nolan Ryan, the strikeout king of the 60’s and 70’s, whose record peaked at 19 strikeouts. A decade later, Clemens would repeat his 20-player strikeout streak against the Tigers. But after proving he was still at the top of his game, Clemens signed to the Blue Jays less than two months later. Despite spending years playing with other teams, fans rest easy knowing that Clemens’ record-breaking strikeouts still belong to the Red Sox and Fenway Park.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Here’s to 100 years of Fenway Park, and to 100 more.

Here’s to 100 years of Fenway Park, and to 100 more.

The Fenway experience is unmatched, there is nothing like going to Fenway Park for the first time and feeling so much history within seconds of your visit. It is the oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball, recording its first official regular season game on April 20, 1912. On that day, the Red Sox defeated the New York Highlanders, later known as the New York Yankees, 7-6 in front of 27,000 fans. I couldn’t think of any scenario better than that Opening Day at Fenway.
Holding just under 40,000 fans, Fenway Park is a great place to watch a game. As these dedicated fans have been known, The Royal Rooters of decades ago and the Fenway Faithful of today have experienced 7 World Series titles alongside an 86 year draught before the epic 2004 win. The history behind it, the emotion, and the passion are all unique to Fenway, which adds to the feeling one gets when he realizes he is in a place that has stood for 100 years.
When John Henry brought Larry Lucchino to the Red Sox in 2002, most fans thought America’s most beloved ballpark was going to be torn down for a new stadium.  However, to the excitement of Red Sox nation, Lucchino chose renovation over demolition. Because the park has stood for a century, Fenway has obviously had to undergo several facelifts to keep up with the times. Even with the changes to Fenway, the place is still full of history, the most history of any ballpark. Many people travel to Fenway not to see a game, but to simply take a ballpark tour and experience the feeling for themselves.
One of the coolest things about Fenway is that it is unlike any other stadium due to the structure. The walls of Fenway create an intimate feeling of being so close to the players because of the odd angles. Fenway’s dimensions are more peculiar than any other park in baseball measuring 310 feet down the left field line; 379 feet in left center field; 390 feet center field; 420 feet in deep center field; 380 feet in deep right field; and 302 feet down the right field line. Fan, Greg Geddes, talked about the angles of Fenway as one of the things that makes it so special. He said, “There is only one Fenway. Fenway's dimensions and architecture were based on necessity, and the result was an unplanned, bizarre and glorious ballpark. I don't want a "new" and "entertaining" Fenway with "conveniences." I want to watch a baseball game at the greatest ballpark in the world.”
Something else Fenway is surely known for is that left field wall, The Green Monster, which measures 37 feet high. It has only been green since the 1947 season because before then, the left field wall was covered with advertisements. It was not until the 2002-2003 offseason that 274 seats were added to the top of the Monster. Those seats have been considered by many baseball fans, Red Sox or not, as the best place to watch a game in the sport.

There is another special seat located in Fenway Park. Section 42, row 37, seat 2. If you arrive to a game early enough you can look out into the right field bleachers and see a painted red seat in the sea of green. This seat signifies one of the most famous home runs in Red Sox history, the longest home run hit in Fenway Park by Red Sox legend, Ted Williams, in 1946.
The history of Fenway is associated with the famous players who lined up to take the field. Hall of Famers Joe Cronin, Bobby Doerr, and Jimmie Foxx played there. Baseball legends Joe DiMaggio and Babe Ruth played there. The record breaking 2004 World Series team played there. Memories of Fenway date back all the way to 1912 as its 100th birthday nears.
Fan George V. Mitrovich, like most of Red Sox nation, feels a connection with Fenway and believe it is a place that should remain alive forever. He said, “Historians will demur, but Fenway Park is better known than the Tea Party, Paul Revere's ride, or Faneuil Hall. When a place has been visited by more than 100 million people, inspired a million stories, drawn baseball worshippers from around the world, such a place belongs not to the wrecking ball, but to the ages.” There is no way Fenway Park could ever be recreated with a new stadium. You can’t recreate it. There is nothing like it, and there never will be. So here’s to 100 years of Fenway Park, and to 100 more!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Fenway's Soccer Tradition Returns

A soccer match at Fenway park last summer when
Celtic F.C. took on Sporting Club de Portugal. (Courtesy of NESN.)

Fenway Park’s most memorable moments have come from a 100-year history of Red Sox greatness, blunders and everything in between. However, one Fenway tradition that stretches back to 1931 has nothing to with the Red Sox. That tradition is soccer and it is being brought back to Fenway Park this summer.

It is no surprise to see John Henry and the Fenway Sports Group bringing their newly purchased English Premier League team for a summer tour stateside. Liverpool F.C., one of the largest and most recognizable soccer teams in the world, will be coming to the United States and will be playing a highly anticipated game at Fenway Park on July 25.

Liverpool F.C. team crest.
This will be the first time Liverpool have come to the U.S. since 2004 and will be only the second soccer match played in Fenway in over 40 years.

Henry, principal owner of Fenway Sports Group, is bringing the club to Fenway as part of Fenway Park’s 100-year anniversary celebration and is hoping to show off the stadium to a whole new audience.

In a statement Henry said, “During its 100-year history, Fenway Park has hosted some of the best in athletic competition, and a match between Liverpool and AS Roma – two of the world’s most well-known and respected clubs – is an appropriate way to help celebrate Fenway’s 100th anniversary and showcase our ballpark to an international audience.”

The very first soccer match at Fenway took place on May 30, 1931 with 8,000 fans showing up to watch the New York Yankees of the American Soccer League take on Scottish club Celtic F.C.

Since then Fenway has hosted 19 soccer matches, but up until 2010 it had lacked soccer for almost 40 years. It was only fitting that Celtic F.C. broke the soccer drought at Fenway on July 21, 2010 when they played against Sporting C.P. of Portugal.

“During its 98-year history, Fenway Park has been privileged to witness some of the best in athletic competition, not only in baseball, but in football, boxing and most recently in hockey with the 2010 NHL Winter Classic,” Sam Kennedy, executive vice-president and COO of the Boston Red Sox and president of Fenway Sports Group, said in 2010 via a Red Sox press release. “This match is a tremendous opportunity to highlight some of the top talent in the soccer world, and we want to thank Celtic F.C. and Sporting C.P. for bringing the sport here for the first time in over 40 years.”

Steven Gerrard, Liverpool F.C. team captain,
will lead his team into Fenway.
Liverpool will now continue this proud soccer tradition with the game against A.S. Roma from Italy. Two of the biggest clubs in the world bringing soccer to Fenway yet again and fans are excited.

“Im really excited about it and they have a big fan base all over the world so it’s great that they chose the United States and Boston,” said Ben Parinello, a 21 year-old Liverpool supporter living in Boston. “Not everyone gets a chance to go to England and see they’re favorite team play and Fenway is a great venue so I cant wait. ”

Fans should be excited because it sounds like there will be more soccer at Fenway to come. The Fenway Sports Group’s recent acquisition of Liverpool shows it’s commitment to growing the sport.

Liverpool will use Boston as it’s home base during the North American summer tour and will host pre-season training sessions at Harvard University.

College Day at Fenway Park

Source: The Beantown Bloggery

This past September Fenway Park hosted College Day where all college students got into the park for free with a student ID. Sponsored by Student Universe, students had the opportunity to visit the iconic stadium for free and win prizes from multiple brands. Some of these brands included Bruins tickets, Red Sox Tickets, Mount Snow Passes, Dunkin Donuts gift cards, and more.

College Day wasn’t just about baseball—it was about the students. The first 100 students in line were given free day passes to use Hubway bikes for a day. Throughout the entire day there was one-of-a-kind photo ops, giveaways, door prizes, free food.

The crowd flooding into the park.
The line wrapped about the entire park with students eagerly waiting to get inside. Students were welcomed with bags full of random free goodies that they could keep and use to collect their free items throughout the day. There were raffles and competitions where students from all schools played against each other for free things. 

“It was wicked cool. I won a free mini basketball hoop just for playing a game,” said Joe Laviano, a student at Northeastern University who attended the event. He continued by saying, “I hope they do it again next year. Not a lot of people get the chance to go to Fenway for free, and get free stuff for going!”

Students had a chance to take a photo with the park in the background and Wally the Green Monster by their side. Later they were able to see all of the photos on the event Facebook page! The day was a success and memorable for many fans who have never had the opportunity to visit there ever before. Hopefully Fenway hosts more events like this in years to come.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Memories at McCoy Stadium

Opening day in the majors is like nothing else in professional sports. It’s one of the few days all season that every park is jam packed with not only fans, but also optimism about the upcoming season. On opening day, everyone is in first place.

Logo courtesy of
As magical and enjoyable being at the ballpark for opening day can be, getting a ticket to the festivities is about as hard as it gets. This is especially true for opening day at Fenway Park, where securing a ticket to most games is like paying for 50-yard-line seats at the Super Bowl. It will be especially difficult this season, as Fenway celebrates its 100th year as home of the Sox.

What if I told you there was a way to enjoy the magic of opening day at a fraction of the cost? What if I told you there was a way to enjoy the magic at a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of the cost? Well, there is. Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to introduce you to a place where every day is opening day, McCoy Stadium.

McCoy is home to the Pawtucket Red Sox (affectionately called the PawSox by locals), the minor league Triple-A affiliate of the Red Sox.  Located about 46 miles south of Fenway in Pawtucket, RI, McCoy is an ideal spot if you’re solely looking to enjoy a simple game of baseball. The tickets are cheap, the atmosphere is light, and the players are trying to prove night in and night out that they deserve to be playing in the big leagues. McCoy is where the future talents of Fenway can be viewed at a very reduced rate.

But it wasn’t always home to future Sox stars. When McCoy opened for business June 6, 1946, it was home to the Pawtucket Slaters, Class B affiliate of the Boston Braves. The Slaters called McCoy home until 1950.

16 years later, McCoy became home to the Pawtucket Indians, the Double-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. The Indians only lasted two years in Pawtucket before moving to Waterbury, Connecticut.

It wasn’t until 1970 that the Red Sox decided to move their minor league team to Pawtucket. It’s where they’ve been since.

Logo courtesy of
One of the most important games in the history of baseball was played at McCoy Stadium on April 18, 1981. The PawSox took on the Rochester Red Wings in what became the longest game in baseball history, stretching two days and 33 innings. Dave Koza drove in the game-winning run for Pawtucket, outlasting Rochester for a 3-2 victory. Future Hall of Famers Cal Ripken Jr. and Wade Boggs both played in this historic game.

Being a native of Rhode Island (and living less then 5 miles from the stadium), I can tell you firsthand how fun a PawSox game can be for a true fan.

First and foremost, 99% of the fans in the stadium don’t care about the outcome whatsoever. Most true baseball fans would probably find that overwhelmingly frustrating. Who wants to watch a game in a stadium full of pink hats?

But in reality, it’s kind of awesome. It makes for a stress free environment, which is unheard of if watching a game at Fenway.

The only thing you find yourself rooting for is the chance to see someone hit for the cycle or to see a game go into extras. When at McCoy, seeing a walk-off homerun, triple play, or successful suicide squeeze is awesome regardless of the team you’re rooting for. Not caring about the game makes everyone appreciate the little things that make baseball so great.

Jacoby Ellsbury, Spring 2007;
Photo courtesy of
Probably the biggest perk of all is getting to see MLB stars play; whether it’s in a rehab start, a rising star, or a player nearing the end of his career.

I had the pleasure of watching current Red Sox stars Kevin Youkilis, Clay Buchholz, Dustin Pedroia, and Jacoby Ellsbury all flourish down at McCoy before dominating the diamond at 4 Yawkey Way. Being able to say that I saw these guys kick ass before anyone else feels pretty cool, if you ask me.

I’ve seen a bevy of players making rehab starts down at McCoy. The first notable player I remember watching in Pawtucket was Manny Ramirez on June 25, 2002. It was my 10th birthday, and my friends and I went to the stadium to watch the prolific slugger up-close and personal. We sat out on the grass in right field, and I decided I was going to heckle Manny until he gave me some sort of reaction. After a good 30 minutes of screaming bloody murder, Manny turned his head and gave me a wink as he trotted back to the dugout at the end of an inning. At that moment in time, my life was complete.

Along with seeing Manny play at McCoy, I’ve also had the pleasure of watching Curt Schilling, David Ortiz, Tim Wakefield, Jason Varitek and Carl Crawford all make rehab starts.

I have two distinct experiences from McCoy Stadium that I feel truly define the type of place it can be for a baseball fanatic.

Mid-summer, 2004

Byung-Hyun Kim;
Photo courtesy of
Before Red Sox Nation had become a national phenomenon, my dad decided to take my brother and I to a game at McCoy. I don’t remember what month it was, but I do remember it being really, really hot that day. Starting on the mound for the PawSox was Byung-Hyun Kim, who is best remembered for his role as the Diamondbacks’ closer during their World Series run in 2001.

Kim was somewhat irrelevant in baseball at this point, but that didn’t stop me from being excited to watch him play. I had always loved his sidearm pitching style, so getting to watch him pitch live was a real treat. Plus, I loved saying his name.
Kim got absolutely rocked that day and came out of the game after only a few innings. Regardless, I was satisfied.

July 3, 2006

Wily Mo Pena;
 Photo courtesy of
My family went to McCoy to watch the PawSox take on their rival, the Columbus Clippers. We were all especially excited for this game because after it was over, there was a fireworks show (McCoy has a fantastic fireworks show every year around July 4). Playing for the PawSox in this game was legendary fan-favorite Wily Mo Pena. My brother and I loved Willy Mo (also because his name was fun to say).

Right around the beginning of the game, Wily Mo hit a foul ball towards our section. Immediately, I knew to just get out of my brother’s way; there was no way he wasn’t getting this ball. Not only did he get the ball, he spilled a woman’s entire glass of red wine all over her in the process. Although he was apologetic, all he really cared about was the fact that he got the Wily Mo foul ball. He still to this day has the ball in his room with the ticket stub.

It just so happens that Wily Mo ended the game on a walk-off homerun to give the PawSox an 8-7 victory, helping to make that night really special.


McCoy Stadium has been an important part of my life. Without it, I would not be the sports fan that I am today. I have been able to grow up watching live, top-notch baseball in a friendly, safe environment (except for the time I was there when the stadium caught on fire in July of 2005). I have been very lucky to have McCoy so close to my home.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing like Fenway Park. Everyone needs to watch a game at Fenway, no questions asked. There’s truly nothing else like it. But if you’re looking to enjoy baseball at its purest form and make lifelong memories, McCoy can make that happen.

Make sure you wish McCoy Stadium a happy 66th birthday on June 6. Sure, Fenway turns 100 on April 20. That’s amazing. But McCoy deserves a little love as well.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Historical Event: Babe Ruth Coaches Clinic

Fenway Park and the Boston Red Sox have hosted a clinic for coaches who are a part of the Babe Ruth League Coaching Education Center every year since 1969. During the event, the coaches have many activities scheduled and multiple opportunities to broaden their teaching skills. Throughout the day, these dedicated coaches meet with members of the Boston Red Sox Major League staff to receive help and advice on how to be a successful coach.

The coaches that are involved with this organization, the Babe Ruth League Coaching Education Center, deserve to have this day at the park for so many reasons. Some of these include the simple fact that they truly dedicate coaches who genuinely love baseball and want to help younger people be successful at the game. The organization states on their website that “there is no one single action that can have more of a positive impact on our players than improving the quality and knowledge of our managers and coaches.”

Coaches are very influential characters in many children’s lives. It is an obvious fact that people who spend the most time with children become some of the most memorable people that they grow up to remember. Being trained to be a positive role model is much more beneficial than being an angry leader who only sees winning in their future. Parents want their children to build good character from sports, not just a good curve ball.

When it comes to good coaches and management, the Red Sox have the best of the best. Why? Well, just look at their fan-base. Kids grow up loving the Sox because they have players who are respectable, loveable and talented. These players do not necessarily come to the Sox with this positivity already instilled in them; they gain this mindset from the knowledge their coaches provide them with. The Babe Ruth coaches are lucky to have the privilege to attend this day and learn from already very influential people. At the end of the event, the coaches are invited to attend a Red Sox game and see the club in action.

By Fenway Park and the Sox hosting this great event, they are reaching out to the community and allowing their knowledge to be spread to everyone who wants the honor of receiving help from such a prestigious club. It is a great opportunity for coaches to learn from the best, but also for the Sox management to learn from them as well. This day has been successful for many years, and hopefully it continues for many more in the future. 

In Tek We Trust

If there were ever a baseball player who earned the C on his chest, then that player is Jason Varitek. On July 31st, 1997, The Boston Red Sox acquired Jason Varitek and Derek Lowe from the Seattle Mariners for relief pitcher Heathcliff Slocumb. Needless to say, this was a trade that changed the Red Sox franchise. Since that date, the Sox won their first championship in 86 years and another one three seasons later in 2007. Varitek was on the team for those two special seasons, and 13 more.

There are many special moments throughout his career that will make any baseball fan appreciate the way Varitek played the game. He is the only Major League catcher in history to catch four no-hitters, he was part of two World Championship teams and, he was a factor in the game that can be said to have changed the 2004 season and the Red Sox/Yankees dynamic forevermore.

At Fenway Park on July 24th 2004, after a long rain delay, the Sox were stumbling along in the season, with the taste of one the worst loses of the year handed to them by the Yankees the night before. Mediocrity seemed to be the theme for the season up to that point, as the Sox continued to play .500 baseball. However, that day in late July was a turning point for the team.

It was A-ROD vs. TEK. The Yankees third baseman was hit by a pitch and started to yell at pitcher Arroyo as he made his way to first. Tek acted as the leader he truly is and stepped in front of A-Rod as if to protect his pitcher. A few choice words were exchanged and, a fight broke out that left A-Rod with a catcher’s glove to the face. Former Red Sox player, Gabe Kapler, described the moment as one that proves just how great of a teammate, leader, friend, and hero Tek really is.

Any Sox fan knows what happened after the fight in July of ‘04. A rally off of legendary Mariano Rivera and then a walk-off home run is how that game ended. The momentum after the win had a huge impact on how the Red Sox played throughout the next few months; it gave them a spark, a pulse, which carried into October. Because of that day, and so many more notable games with Varitek, he ranks highly on the list of all time greatest Red Sox players. He was prepared for every matchup, proven in his ability to exceptionally call the game from behind the plate. Tek also left the Sox with a career 193 homeruns and a .256 batting average. Although Tek was never known as a power hitter, I still remember some special games at Fenway when he added to the magic with his bat.

April 2007 at Fenway Park…Ramirez, Drew, Lowell, Varitek. Those four men homered in consecutive at-bats, a first in Sox history. Oh, and remember game 2 of the 2004 World Series at Fenway? Jason Varitek was up to bat in the bottom of the first with two outs. Ramirez and Ortiz were walked as Cardinals pitcher, Morris, thought the hardest part was over with. He was wrong. Tek took a pitch to the deepest part of Fenway, right in front of the 420 foot mark, earning himself a triple and two runs batted in.

Those are just several of the many moments Red Sox fans were able to enjoy with number 33. Varitek always played the game the right way and never failed in his leadership ability as he became the only player to participate in a Little League World Series, College World Series, Major League World Series, Olympics, and World Baseball Classic. More importantly, he is the only player to punch A-Rod in the face. Red Sox nation will never forget that one.

Jason Varitek earned the title of being the Red Sox captain for 7 seasons. He always put the team before his individual accomplishments, which is one of the many reasons he is and will always be loved by Sox fans. It’s going to be hard not seeing Tek in a Red Sox uniform come Opening Day. It will be the first time since 1997. Even though Sox fans had to say goodbye to Varitek as a player, any team would be lucky to have him on the management staff. For the sake of Red Sox nation, we hope that team still remains The Boston Red Sox. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Different park, different name

Fenway Park did not always look as modern as it does now. Back in 1911, there was no red seat, no green monster and the metal grandstands were made out of wood. But after a fire destroyed most of Fenway in 1934 in 1934 the owners of the park thankfully realized that wooden grandstands were a terrible idea. Before the reinvention in the 30’s, Fenway was born out of the mind of architect James McLaughlin and constructed ten years after the debut of the Red Sox… although at the time I think they were called the Boston Americans.

During the first six years of the team they found themselves playing in an old, dilapidated park called the Huntington Avenue Grounds. Despite the fact that the team had an incredibly boring name and were playing in an ugly park that could only seat about 11,500 fans (less than a third of what the capacity is at Fenway today) it did not take long for the public to notice that the Boston Americans were a team to be reckoned with. Most notably, former Red Sox pitcher Cy Young pitched a perfect game at Huntington in 1904. Boston Globe owner Charles Taylor would then go on to buy the Boston Americans three years later, rename them the Red Sox and promise them a new park to play in.

Construction on Fenway began in September 1911 and cost $650,000. The first version of the park wasn’t perfect; there was a 10 foot inclined embankment near the left field wall. This did not make for very effective runs for fly balls but every humble beginning has a few missteps. It would take years for Fenway to come close to resembling the way that we know it now but we can all be sure that however new or imperfect the park was at first, it still beat Huntington Avenue ballpark. No one wants to watch a documentary about that place. If you really want to see were the Red Sox played before they were actually the Red Sox, you can find Huntington on the Northeastern campus but come on, you know you’re just going to be going to Fenway instead.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

On Truck Day, All is Finally Well Again

There is always a sign of spring in early February that symbolizes the beginning of a new season for Red Sox fans. That sign of hope is an 18 wheeler parked on Van Ness Street adjacent to Gate D at Fenway Park. Truck day, as this day is called, marks the return of our national pastime, and our favorite team. As uniforms, bats, balls, and other equipment are being loaded into the moving van, fans watch in excitement and eagerness as they finally stop suffering from baseball withdrawal.

The yearly send off of the truck full of equipment sort of defines Red Sox Nation. You can see that as you look around on the early February day and see diehard fans bundled up in Sox clothing. I’m not sure of anyone who actually likes the idea of moving day, except that this is different. This moving day means a clean slate and a rite of passage for those who are ready to hear RemDawg say  “Buenas noches amigos”, sing Sweet Caroline in the middle of the 8th, and eat a Fenway frank.

Call it a ridiculous tradition if you will, but we Sox fans are traditionalists in our mindsets and in our hearts. We have a devotion to the game that is almost indescribable. We consider this team to be a part of our family, even if they hurt us in a painful way like the end of last season.  But I won’t talk about that because that doesn’t matter anymore. All that matters is that baseball is finally here. More importantly, the Red Sox are finally here and we can all see that by watching a moving truck prepare for the 1,480 mile trip to Florida. 

When the truck arrives there it will be greeted by one of the largest and dedicated  fan bases in the country. The unconditional support is what reignites in my mind as I think about truck day and what it means to so many fans. This is what baseball is truly about.

You cannot think about baseball without thinking of Fenway Park. Every time I step in or around Fenway, I feel like I am doing something right. I feel like I am in the right place, and I feel like I am with many people who care about something as much as I do. I’ve traveled to truck day alone for a few years now, mostly because I was the only one out of my friends who wanted to see the big departure. 

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it this year, and I realized that I missed out on a greeting from Lucchino, but I was there in spirit. From my experience of being there, truck day simply proves how important the Sox are to so many people. I often found myself in conversation with those around me who just wanted to talk Sox baseball and share their own fan stories. Since truck day has mostly been on a week day in years past, I often heard fans say things like, “I skipped a meeting for this” or “I skipped my biology test to come to Fenway today.” I’m not going to lie, I’ve even walked out of class half way through a lecture just so I could get a glimpse of bats and baseballs that my Red Sox will touch, and win with.  

Seeing passionate fans around me is so inspiring. In a way it makes me think that the Sox will have good karma for the season because we fans care so much. We are sending them off on a positive note. We are preparing for the season as much as we can simply by being there to show our support and love. We are people who have invested our souls into something we can’t control, and will never be able too. However, that will never stop up from showing up. We will always be there for our team, the Red Sox.

Truck day is such a happy and refreshing day, a day of rebirth. Even though there are times of questioning new players, contracts, and performance, on truck day, it is simply our turn to win again. We have all of the right steps to make it to the end and win the World Series.  When it finally comes time for the moving truck to make its way to Ft. Myers fans hear the loud blasting of “Tessie”, and “Centerfield” on the loudspeakers, but we Sox fans know that all we really want to hear is that song about the Charles river blast on the Fenway Park speakers  after a win.

1912, 2012...its all the same.

Photo courtesy of the Boston Herald

2011 saw some of the highest expectations a Red Sox team has ever had going into a season. The Sox added arguably the two biggest free agents on the market, Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, to an already potent offense. They came into the season with high hopes for a starting rotation anchored by young studs Clay Buchholz and John Lester along with All-Stars Josh Beckett and John Lackey.

High hopes floundered as things got off to a rough start. The Sox finished off April of 2011 with record of 11-14, among the worst in the American League.

But then things started to pick up.

Gonzalez (.338 BA, 27 HR, 117 RBI), David Ortiz (.309 BA, 29 HR, 96 RBI), Jacoby Ellsbury (.321 BA, 32 HR, 105 RBI, 39 SB), and Dustin Pedroia (.305 BA, 21 HR, 91 RBI, 26 SB) helped produce a dominant offensive output; one that would keep them among the best team’s in the majors for the majority of 2011.

The Sox were 83-52 on September 1, tops in the American League. They were 1½ games ahead of the New York Yankees in the AL East standings and 9 games ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays for the AL Wild Card.

They then proceeded to go 7-20 in the month of September, finishing the season third in the AL East standings, second for the AL Wild Card, and on the outside looking in come October.

This historic collapse was due in large part to the inconsistencies in the starting rotation down the stretch. Beckett and Lester combined for an abysmal 3-9 record in the month of September, while Lackey was just horrible all season; he finished with his career worst record and ERA (12-12, 6.41 ERA).

And we all know about the problems the Sox were dealing with in the clubhouse; there is no need to rehash those horrible memories.

It’s time for the Sox focus on 2012; or is it?

Maybe the Sox should focus on 1912 and hope that history repeats itself.

This season marks the 100th Anniversary of not only Fenway Park, but also the often-overlooked 1912 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox.

This current Red Sox team shares many similarities with the team that won it all 100 years ago.

Let’s rewind about 101 years, to the spring of 1911…

Left to right: Lewis, Speaker,
Hooper; Photo courtesy of
The Boston Globe
It has been eight, long seasons since the Sox captured their first World Series title in 1903. Sox fans are growing rabid for another World Series title. Expectations are sky-high for the Sox, who are a season away from playing in a brand-new, state of the art ballpark a few blocks over from their current address on Huntington Ave.

It’s now the Sox second season with ”The Golden Outfield:” Tris Speaker, Duffy Lewis, and Harry Hooper (considered by baseball historians as one of the greatest outfields of all-time). There is not a better fielding outfield in the majors right now.

The starters for the Sox, “Smoky Joe” Wood and Eddie Cicotte, (two-men rotations were the norm in Major League Baseball during this time period) come into the season as a great one-two punch. Wood is being brought into a starting role after serving as a reliever in 1910, where he posted a 1.69 ERA. Cicotte looks to continue with his success, as he posted a 15-11 record with a 2.74 ERA.

…now back to real time

The Red Sox underachieved mightily in the 1911 season. They finished fourth in the AL with a record of 78-75, 24 games out of first place.

Both Wood and Cicotte’s ERAs went up from their 1910 totals, with Cicotte’s win and lose totals flip-flopping (11-15).

Despite the pitching woes, the offense and fielding was still there. “The Golden Outfield” preformed at a high level, combining for a .317 BA, 19 HR, 201 RBI, and 74 SB.

The 1911 Red Sox were great offensive team with an inconsistent pitching staff that fell short of the post season despite gaudy expectations.

Doesn’t that sound familiar?

With the 1911 and 2011 Red Sox teams bearing so much in common, who’s to say the 1912 and 2012 teams won’t share similarities?

In 1912, the Red Sox lived up to their out-of-this-world expectations, going 105-47 and coasting their way to the franchise’s second World Series victory.

Speaker was the rock for the Sox that season, batting .383 with 10 HR, 90 RBI, and 52 SB on his way to his first and only AL MVP Award.

The pitching rotation came out firing in 1912. After Cicotte’s struggles in 1911, Hugh Bedient took his spot in the rotation. Bedient shined in his new role, going 20-9 with a 2.92 ERA. The real star of that rotation was Wood, who was an astounding 34-5 with a 1.91 ERA.

With this deadly duo on the mound, along with the amazing outfield coupled with Speaker’s individual success, this 1912 Red Sox team not only lived up to expectations, they exceeded them. This team should be considered one of the most dominant in Red Sox history.

Now, I’m not saying the 2012 Sox are going to have this same type of turn around. But, the similarities between these teams are uncanny.

Ellsbury can definitely put up the same type of production Speaker did in 1912. Both Ellsbury and Speaker are centerfielders that can steal bases, drive in runs, and hit for average. Just look at Ellsbury’s 2011 production as compared to Speaker’s 1912 numbers.

Tris Speaker (1912)                       
.383 Batting Average
10 Homeruns
90 Runs batted in
52 Stolen bases

Jacoby Ellsbury (2011)
.321 Batting Average
32 Homeruns
105 Runs batted in
39 Stolen bases

If Ellsbury has the same type of year he did last season, or even one closer in line to that of Speaker’s, he will be the clear choice for AL MVP and will help the Sox get that much closer to raising banner eight.

Cicotte’s sub-par year in 1911 and subsequent benching in 1912 falls right in line with Lackey’s situation for this upcoming season.

Lackey was atrocious last season. Not only did he have limited success on the field, but also was a huge distraction in the clubhouse. With Lackey missing the entire 2012 season due to Tommy John surgery, it will be time for one of the young bullpen pitchers that are borderline starting material to step up and do what Bedient did in 1912. Someone like Alfredo Aceves or Daniel Bard is going to have to step up and fill this void in the rotation.

Who’s to say that Ellsbury, Crawford, and Cody Ross (only 4 errors combined in 2011) can’t be the next Speaker, Lewis, and Hooper; or that the rotation can’t make a turnaround in finish out the 2012 season strong?

The Red Sox have the pieces in place to do exactly what they did 100 years ago at a brand new Fenway Park.