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Sunday, February 8, 2009

Prelude to Spring

It has been an especially bitter winter here in New England. If that damn edible rodent in Punxutawney is right, more winter is on the way.

Yet, what is a little winter to New Englanders? Cold? Snow?
Yeah. Whatever.

But, after a while, it does start to wear on you.
That is why Friday is among one of the most exciting annual events for the denizens of Red Sox Nation.

What was it?
It was Truck Day: 2009.

It was the day that all the equipment, personal belongings (including motorcycles and various personal effects that the players leave in Boston over the winter) all get packed on to a couple of 18-wheelers and start the 1,480 mile trk down I-95 to Fort Myers, Florida, where the Red Sox call home for the spring.

The temperature read 27 degrees. The sun was shining. The thing about cold weather in the winter is that the sun does not make much of a difference. It provides no warmth, no comfort. It is there for illumination, nothing more. This light did not bring to mind the sun washed fields and ballparks filled with the smells of brats and baseball. It did not bring the smell of dirt
and grass, chants of encouragement from the grandstand and jeers and derision from the upper deck. Songs sung as a nightly ritual by 37,000 people do not occur on February 6th. That is something purely reserved for the dog days. The unbutton your shirt and drink a beer on the porch listening to the ball game days.

But those days are coming.
Friday was the signal. The day that awakens the hearts of New England denizens who have but one true love, the Red Sox.

Ah, they have an affinity for their other teams, a passion even. The Bruins play well and they get cheers and sell outs. The Celtics remind us that our fathers and their fathers witnessed greatness on a nightly basis. The Patriots are our team, our home, our life.

But none are our heart.

The Sox own that alone.

Wally the Green Monster was out and about. I walked up to Wally, gave him a fist bump and asked for a quote. He pointed down at his (non-existent) watch, put his hands on his hips and then stretched like he had just woken up. Then he started running in place as if it was time to get this show on the road.

Well Wally, it is. The trucks are on their way.

The event is much more of a media blitz than an actual celebration and send off. The crowd was decent, for a cold-ish day in January. Yet, it was full of reporters. As a journalist I can tell when I am surrounded by fans and when I am surrounded by my own breed. One can tell these things, even without the plethora of television cameras.

There was a woman from Boston University who preferred not to be identified because she was supposed to be in the office.

"I never miss it," she said. "I look at the banner and I think of warmth." She had her cell phone camera out, taking pictures of the truck and the men loading it. It's the sure-fire way to tell the reporters from the fans. Reporters use real cameras.

I then came across Karen Russel, a woman on a bike who described herself as a "collector of autographs and memorabilia" who was "on a fixed income." This was her second consecutive Truck Day. Last year she chased the 18-wheeler all the way down to the expressway on her bicycle.
 Yes, this is Red Sox Nation.
Little Johnny Pesky did the honors. He climbed into the big rig and hit the ceremonial blast off button, the ignition to a new season, a new lazy dream of summer nights and champagne showers in October.

The trucks then pulled away to the fanfare that can only exist in Boston. Where most teams have some mild send off (or just slink away in the night) the Sox turn it into something special, an event, a trumpet that soon this winter will be over, soon our grass will grow again and soon our boys of summer will be back.


  1. I took a shot at making this post look like you wanted it to.

    Went into Layout, edit HTML and made the header and page width larger by 200...

    #outer-wrapper {
    background:url("") no-repeat 250px 50px;
    margin:0 auto;

    #header-wrapper {
    display: none;

    #main-wrapper {

    Then on the image tags I added alignment:

    009/02/dsc00012-300x225.jpg" alt="" hspace="50" vspace="50" align="left"

    horizontal and vertical space don't seem to be working though...

  2. Well, thanks for trying Steve. I think I can work with this style for now.