I remember, the same period in time last year, the temperature was the same, the hefty snow drops that fell to the earth was the same, but there was one difference from this year to last, and that was the feeling about the upcoming Boston Red Sox season. We all know the infamous tale of the Red Sox storybook journey the last three seasons.
After buying the “best team of the century,” the Red Sox missed the playoffs, courtesy of a Papelbon blown save and a Longoria walk-off extra baseball home run late into the night in game 162. Arguably, the best skipper in Red Sox history left the job that he had occupied the previous eight years, and in came another infamous skipper in Red Sox history, Bobby Valentine, but not for the same reason. An injury-decimated team, under the one-year Bobby V. helm, finished the season dead last, posting a dismal 69-93 record.
Out goes Valentine and in comes former Red Sox pitching coach and Blue Jays manager John Farrell. The fire-sale and reconstruction of the new guard Red Sox did not commence there. The first strike being when Ben Cherington dealt clubhouse and contract cancer’s Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, and Josh Beckett to the Dodgers, clearing a whole lot of money off the payroll. The Red Sox were beginning the usually lengthy rebuilding process, seeking niches on the free agent market. Mike Napoli, Shane Victorino, Jonny Gomes, David Ross, Stephen Drew, Ryan Dempster, and Joel Hanrahan all were brought into fill the role of short-term solutions to act as a bridge until the multitude of talented, developing prospects were ready to make an impact.
I remember chatting with Red Sox fans on Twitter about how special of a year 2014 would be. Will Middlebrooks would already have established himself as one of the games best power hitters, Jackie Bradley Jr. brought a five-tool game to the table and by 2014 would have a full, successful rookie year under his belt, and Xander Bogaerts would be the next face of the franchise for the Red Sox. Well, the magical season that we anticipated in 2014, came just a little earlier as the Red Sox hoisted the 2013 World Series trophy over their shoulders. Celebration ran rampant throughout the streets in Boston, but after a long excitable offseason, baseball is back, training camp has begun, and the multitude of prospects that were anticipated one long year ago, are here. The goal is the same, but the feeling is different. It has been truly awe-inspiring watching the roller coaster ride that the last three seasons have brought. Now, the next chapter in Red Sox history is about to begin, and the anticipation could not be any higher.