The Boston Red Sox and its fans treat "Truck Day" differently than a lot of other teams do.
A week or so before pitchers and catchers must officially report to Spring Training, Red Sox equipment staff stuff a tractor-trailer to the brim to ship the necessary supplies to Fenway South.
Red Sox fans tired by New England's cold winter line the street to watch tens of thousands of baseballs, thousands of bats, and dozens of tubs of bubblegum and sunflower seeds make their way to Fort Myers.
It's a symbol of better times coming — as the offseason ends and spring training begins, hot days and late nights at Fenway Park come back into view on the horizon as the truck disappears. Choruses of "Sweet Caroline" and "Dirty Water" will soon ring through Bostonian ears once again.
But this year's truck day lacked the same passion.
The usual excitement of Red Sox "Truck Day" was nowhere to be found in 2024
The crowd in front of Fenway was sparse. The usual, palpable excitement that buzzed through the air on truck day was nowhere to be seen. The comments on social media posts of the trailer being filled were petty and jaded, and they have the right to be.
The fire of optimism burning for the return spring and the Red Sox taking their rightful place at the forefront of fans' minds for nine months has been snuffed out by an offseason of missed marks and broken promises.
There were reportedly 50-75 fans in attendance to see the equipment truck off to Florida ... likely because the fans who would attend any other year don't see the current team exciting enough to make braving the cold worthwhile. Some reports have suggested that they weren't all fans, and rather the friends and family of front office members.
Few are under the impression that the 2024 Red Sox are going to be successful. Having them back this spring isn't on the top of anyone's mind. The "boycott Fenway" movement and mentality is louder than any of the fans who still care enough to want to watch the truck pass.
Despite how silly it might be to other franchises, the lack of fanfare around truck day is sad for a lot of Red Sox Nation. NBC Sports Boston's John Tomase said it best: "People caring about the truck means people caring about the Red Sox." And right now, fan sentiment around the Red Sox is understandably grim.
But like the truck rolling down the coast to sun-soaked Florida, better days could be coming for Red Sox Nation. The return of Theo Epstein to the front office could bring Boston back to winning form.
The 2024 Red Sox could end up being better than they've been given credit for all offseason. At truck day festivities, Sam Kennedy suggested that the current roster may not be the final one. There are still high-profile players waiting to be signed and many moves that could be made.
Who knows? Maybe Truck Day 2025 will feel as good as it used to.