Ah, the season of optimism. When we’ve all tolerated the winter months, any temperature over 45 degrees is a welcomed relief, and all weather forecasts are great, even if there’s a bolt of lightning or the sound of thunder in the midst of a downpour.
The Red Sox moving van has returned from the annual trip down south, with truck drivers who have long since peeled off the sunburn of the first few days down in the Grapefruit League, and returned home covered in a tan we can all envy and to which most snowbirds can relate. If the team did well, with veterans making remarkable comebacks, pitchers getting in the groove and hitters sending home runs out beyond the palm trees, the visions of a world series and a free living room set from Jordan’s Furniture appear on the October horizon.
But if they struggle throughout the spring as passed balls, grounders through the infield and gopher pitches to the often played, less talented Minnesota Twins head over the outfield fence, we always manage to remain optimistic with the phrase, “It’s spring training...the games don’t mean anything anyway !”
Forty years ago, when I took a one-year break from work to contemplate whether I would continue my then career path, I bought weekend season tickets to the Sox.
And, as much as the days of 50-degree temperatures were enough to satisfy anyone sitting in the front yard, mowing the newly greened grass or just having a cold one on the porch, sitting under the grandstands in the shade was a real challenge.
While you might feel great out on Lansdowne Street or inside the souvenir shop across the street from Fenway Park, as soon as you parked you fanny in those wooden seats, and sat still for more than 20 minutes, your mind would begin to question what in the hell you were thinking when you plunked down the money on those tickets. But fortunately you were amongst a familiar crowd, as many of those around you were there every weekend to share in the wind chilled environment. Everyone cheered for a great strikeout or run scoring rally, if for no other reason than to get up out of those seats and get your blood circulating again.
I always thought that with weather conditions across the country not settling into the mid 80s until mid to late June, perhaps any team that could play indoors like Toronto, could go north to start the season, and any team that played outdoors through the end of May, should keep the moving van and the teams in Florida or Arizona for a while longer. Start the regular season in the warm climates surrounding their spring training homes. They might lose the gate attendance of the larger parks up north, but the all important TV ratings would certainly not drop off by any appreciable amount. I have to think the cities in the south and southwest parts of the country would be thrilled at the impact the continued presence of major league teams would have on their economies.
I’d certainly sacrifice freezing my ass off in the stands, for the opportunity to sit in my new recliner from Jordan’s Furniture, contemplating the refund from them that comes with a world series championship! Go Sox!