Finally, baseball season is here. Although almost everyone showed up to camp early, the official date for pitchers and catchers to report to Sox camp is this Sunday the 19th, and the first official workout will be on Tuesday. One thing we do know is that Tim Wakefield will not be reporting after doing so for 19 straight years, 17 with the Red Sox. Wakefield retired from baseball earlier this evening at JetBlue park. Many of Wake's current teammates and former teammates, including Derek Lowe were at the reception.
I want to focus on the fact that most of the team showed up early to camp, including the position players. After such a disastrous ending to last season, it's good to see that the team actually cares and realizes that something needs to change. Not sure if these guys got together and talked about it mutually, or if there was one guy who stepped up and said hey, let's get to camp early and move on from last year to make sure it never happens again. If that is indeed what happened, I would bet a lot of money that Pedey was the one who called for the early arrivals.
Adrian Gonzalez was quoted today saying, "the fans deserve for us to make the playoffs, we let them down last year in an inexcusable way." Red Sox management was also quoted by saying that Spring Training ticket sales have actually gone up from 2011, and regular season tickets haven't dropped one bit, which for some reason was a worry once the collapse happened. Do people not know what city this is? Boston went 86 years without winning a championship, yet had one of the highest attendance averages in the MLB for all of those years. They also currently hold the MLB record for consecutive sellouts. Since May 15, 2003, they have sold out every home game (about 665 games). And this record doesn't seem to be stopping at 665 anytime soon.
As for Bobby Valentine, I love what he has done with this team so far. There seems to be more competition than there has been in the past years. Guys have gone into camp knowing that they will be the starter in previous years whereas this time around the right field spot is up for grabs, the shortstop spot and the fourth and fifth starting spots in the pitching rotation are all going to be won and lost in spring training.
One last note is that it seems like this team isn't getting any attention from the media, for good reason. With the collapse of last year, a lot of change happening in the front office and on the field, no one really knows what to expect from this team. I have a gut feeling that they are going to be playing with a chip on their shoulder and have an amazing year, extending deep into October. I think they are all sick of hearing the "beer and fried chicken" jokes, and want to quiet the critics questioning their lack of leadership in the clubhouse by coming out and winning the AL East, in convincing fashion.