A new year of baseball began on Monday, and with it, a chance to love the Red Sox again.
Since 2003, Truck Day has served as the unofficial first day of the Red Sox season. 20,400 baseballs, 1,100 bats, 200 batting gloves, 200 batting helmets, 320 batting practice tops, 160 white game jerseys, 300 pairs of pants, 400 t-shirts, 400 pairs of socks, 20 cases of bubble gum, and 60 cases of sunflower seeds are headed from Fenway Park to the Red Sox spring training facilities in Fort Myers, Florida in the capable hands of Al Hartz, who’s making the journey for the 27th consecutive year.
Perhaps, stowed away somewhere in the 53-foot vehicle, is a little bit of hope, too.
Because even after watching the Red Sox trudge to back-to-back last-place finishes (three over the last four), fans still showed up to stand outside on a frigid February day to send a truck on a 1,480-mile road trip. According to a team employee, an estimated 50 to 75 people braved the cold. That’s far from the packed crowds of happier Truck Days past, but it’s not nothing.
“Red Sox fans come out in the freezing cold to see an equipment truck go off to Florida, and it’s a reminder of what really matters, which is our fans and how much they care about this team,” team president and CEO Sam Kennedy told the Herald.
They know where they stand with their fans, though. “The hate comes when you don’t get it done on the field,” Kennedy said frankly.
When it comes to sports fandom, the fine line between love and hate is often blurred, and frequently crossed. Fans can go from loving their team to hating them and back again, often in the nine innings of a single ballgame. Sometimes, from one at-bat to the next.
The prevailing fan sentiment these days may be hate – or more likely, frustration – but it’s certainly not apathy. Neither love nor hate can be felt unless one cares, and sports fans in this town can’t stop caring, even if they want to. The majority of Red Sox fans love to love their team, they don’t want to hate them. And even when they say they’re out, they’re always waiting to be pulled back in.
During the long offseason, there is nothing to do but talk, stew, and wait for baseball. Its return each year brings with it endless possibilities, and therefore, hope that this season will be better.
“We’ve had a really difficult couple of years, and we have a long way to go,” said Kennedy of repairing the club’s relationship with fans. “We have a lot of work to do, but hopefully, we’re gonna win their hearts and minds back.”
There wasn’t a cloud in the sky as the equipment truck departed just after noon. As the crowd dispersed, a family walked down Van Ness Street, their young daughter waving a bright red flag twice her size. On it, a baseball and the words “Believe in Boston.”
Dodgers re-sign Brasier
Since being cut loose from the Red Sox bullpen, Ryan Brasier has enjoyed a remarkable career turnaround in Los Angeles, and now he’s set to remain a key part of the Dodgers bullpen for years to come.
According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, Brasier has agreed to a two-year, $9 million deal that could be worth up to $13 million if certain incentives are met. The deal is by far the largest of the 36-year-old right-hander’s career and should put him in position to play a major role on what is expected to remain a championship contender.
A deal like this would have seemed inconceivable after the way Brasier’s tenure in Boston ended last spring.
Coming off an inconsistent 2022, Brasier was subject to fan ridicule throughout the offseason and then struggled out of the gate in 2023. He posted a 7.29 ERA through 20 appearances and was designated for assignment in mid-May, ending his six-year tenure with the Red Sox.
Brasier signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers shortly afterwards, upon making his big league debut for Los Angeles on June 21 he looked like a completely new pitcher. Brasier established himself as one of the Dodgers’ best bullpen arms, posting an 0.70 ERA over 39 appearances while posting an improved strikeout rate and walk rate.
He finished the season with a spot on Los Angeles’ postseason roster, and now he’s received a new contract that could more than double his total career earnings if he earns all of his incentives.
Yankees series tickets on sale Thursday
The Red Sox announced Monday that tickets for games from June 11 through July 31 will go on sale Thursday at 10 a.m. The new batch of tickets will include both home series against the New York Yankees on June 14-16 and July 26-28, as well as Xander Bogaerts’ return to Fenway Park with the San Diego Padres on June 28-30.
Tickets can be purchased online at redsox.com/tickets.