The NFL Super Bowl is done-and-dusted and March madness is slowly becoming discernible as a distant murmer in Dick Vitale‘s throat. Yet today is the start of the Major League Baseball season … sort of … for me at least.
Today, February 8th, 2011 is Jet Blue Airways Spring Training Truck Day. Ok, it’s just a truck. A truck that is yet to complete its 1,480 mile trip to Fort Meyer’s, FLA. A truck that is probably still being laden with the last pieces of Boston Red Sox equipment even as I type this in my office in England.
But at noon today (EST) that truck will become a beacon of light, of hope, of joy, for me and baseball fans across the world as it depart from Fenway Park (on Van Ness Street, by Gate D) and is led in procession by a flat-bed truck carrying Wally the Green Monster.
After its endured the initial ‘hoopla’ of the procession the truck will turn south in earnest; heading for Fort Meyers and the City of Palms Park, where pitchers and catchers will report for Spring Training on February 14th. Right then and there Spring baseball, welcome as the first buds of snowdrops in February, will begin to unfurl its circus.
The Red Sox will play their first ‘competitive’ games on February 26th; continuing the tradition of college match-ups they face Boston College Eagles @ 1:05 p.m. followed by the Northeastern Huskies at 6:00 p.m. in a half-price separate admission doubleheader.
Spending time watching these pre-season games is on my Bucket List; the books of Roger Angell and Thomas Boswell having played a major part in deepening my love for the game. A brilliant time on my trip to Fenway Park last season means that I’m also hoping to get back again this year, so I’m keeping it on by Bucket List too.
And so this it; it all starts with a single truck and we are into the long and sometimes languid road to the start of the MLB’s regular season on March 31st; with the Red Sox opening @ Texas on April 1st.