Traditionally, the first sign of spring in New England is the reporting of pitchers and catchers to the Red Sox spring training facility in Fort Myers, Florida in mid-February. While still dealing with snowstorms, and cold temperatures here in New England, we are able to live vicariously through our beloved Red Sox who are enjoying eighty degree temperatures and sunny days in Florida. We know that when they make the trip back north to Boston, at the end of March, they'll bring some of that warm weather back with them. As more and more players arrive in Fort Myers, we are re-introduced to the personalities that we, as diehard Red Sox fans, will follow for the next six-plus months. We are reminded of their heroics from seasons past, especially the long-awaited World Series championship in 2004.
We are reminded of Manny being Manny, Big Papi's 2005 MVP caliber season, Curt Schilling's warrior-like performances in the 2004 World Series, and all of the other reasons that we, as diehard Red Sox fans, have become so attached to this group of players in recent years. The spring of 2006 brings new faces to Boston, like Josh Beckett, Mike Lowell, Coco Crisp, Alex Gonzalez, etc. It also brings rumors of a possible return to Boston of one of the greatest pitchers of all-time, former Red Sox ace Roger Clemens. That right there is enough to help us forget about the cold days and snow, and look forward to late August and September, when the Red Sox will be in the midst of a heated pennant race with the hated arch-rivals, the New York Yankees. Even with the Patriots winning 3 out of the past 5 Superbowls, Boston is still a baseball town, and the legions of fans that follow the team through their spring training practices and meaningless exhibition games is a testament to that.
Maybe it's because we know that once the Sox begin spring training, springtime in New England is only a little over a month away, or maybe it's because we've had to go five-plus months without our beloved Red Sox. Either way, when the Red Sox report to spring training, the winter blues seem to instantly disappear throughout New England. .
By: Jeff Reidy