For the past several weeks, I have been fixated on February 12th as a big day for the Red Sox. I circled it on my calendar as a symbol that Spring Training is around the corner. My built-up excitement for the day quickly slipped away when I realized how unbelievably stupid and anti-climatic it is to watch a few equipment staff load several bags into a generic 18-wheeler and then drive away mid-day. This is an event to celebrate?Being a fan of the Boston Red Sox has changed over the past 6 years. Since 2004, when Red Sox Nation was vindicated of one of the worst sports curses/slumps in sports history, the Red Sox management have taken every opportunity to celebrate, even something as menial as Truck Day. It was exciting and entertaining for a few years, but it is beginning to become bland.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not any less excited or anxious about the upcoming season. I think it is incredible that the Red Sox have a fan base interested in celebrating everything. Being a fan of the game, I wait all off-season with great anticipation for the first signs of Spring and think having a Truck Day was an interesting idea, but lacks any real pomp or circumstance. If you are going to celebrate the beginning of the the exodus to Florida, do it right.
First, get players involved in the event. The excitement and buzz around Red Sox Nation surrounds the team and not the closed bags of equipment. If several of the Sox players were to sign autographs and take pictures with fans, then we have an event worth celebrating. As for now, the excitement of watching a truck pull away from Fenway is not cause for a celebration.
Second, get a truck painted with the Red Sox logo. Watching an Atlas Van Lines truck, with a banner hung over the side, is something I would expect out of the Washington Nationals, not the Boston Red Sox. Make the truck a symbol traveling down the east coast with stops in Balitmore (Fenway South) and somewhere in the North Carolina area to stir-up excitement. Watching a truck pull away from Fenway leaves us wanting more connection to the journey itself.
That being said, I do, however, take the truck leaving Fenway as a clear sign that Spring Training is quite literally around the corner. Players are beginning to report to Fort Myers and fans from all over the country are starting to pack their bags. In less than a week, Fort Myers will begin to take life with writers and photographers perched at every corner hoping for the perfect interview or photo. Thousands of fans will invade the Red Sox practice complex and City of Palms Park hoping to get an autograph and catch a glimpse of their favorite player.
At last, the time has come for baseball…