Red Sox news: Tim Wakefield Opening Day honor, Brayan Bello earns nod

Tim Wakefield Scoreboard Number
Tim Wakefield Scoreboard Number / Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

The start of baseball season is just over a week away, and the Boston Red Sox have a West Coast road trip to play before Fenway Park officially opens.

The season begins in Seattle on March 28 and the Sox will play two series in California against the A's and Angels before their 2024 Fenway Park debut against the division rival Orioles on April 9.

The Red Sox organization has officially announced its plans for Opening Day festivities at Fenway. This is the season of honoring the curse breakers, the 2004 World Series-winning club — with emphasis on one member in particular.

Red Sox legend Tim Wakefield and his wife Stacy will be honored in a ceremony before the game. Both passed away from cancer within five months of each other, Tim in October and Stacy in February.

The ceremony will honor the life and legacy of the Wakefields, both of whom were deeply involved in their community. They embraced the city of Boston and helped countless people around them through their generosity and philanthropic work. Tim was an eight-time Roberto Clemente Award nominee for the Red Sox and the Honorary Chairman of the Red Sox Foundation since 2013.

The Red Sox will honor Tim and Stacy Wakefield, 2004 team on Opening Day at Fenway Park

Red Sox players will wear heart-shaped "49" patches on their sleeves all season to honor the knuckleballer. Fans in attendance at Opening Day will be given a pin of the same design along with the usual Opening Day gift, the Red Sox schedule magnet.

Wakefield was a member of the 2004 World Series winning team and all of his former teammates — yes, all of them — have been invited to a celebration before the April 9th game. The team has said that the participants in the ceremony will be announced before Opening Day.

The ceremony will no doubt be a part of the upcoming Netflix docuseries that will follow the 2024 Boston team and its season, possibly also featuring in the documentary about the 2004 curse-breaking team.

Brayan Bello named Red Sox Opening Day starter

But before Fenway opens, the Sox have a road trip to play. The Red Sox have formally announced that Brayan Bello will be the Opening Day starter in Seattle.

Bello is the only true starter taking the ball for Boston this year after the season-ending injury to new acquisition Lucas Giolito. On March 9, Bello signed a six-year, $55 million contract extension to keep him in a Red Sox uniform long-term — this may be Bello's first of many Opening Day starts for the Red Sox.

Expectations are high for the 24-year-old pitcher as the de-facto "ace" of Boston's rotation. He pitched to a 4.24 ERA with 132 strikeouts over 157 innings last season and the Sox's new pitching program will hopefully help him improve.

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