New era greets fans on opening day at Fenway Park
Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell, right, watches batting practice with pitchers John Lackey, center, and Jon Lester prior to their baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park in Boston Monday, April 8, 2013. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson) Purchase photo reprints »
BOSTON (AP) — Loyal Red Sox fans are returning to Fenway Park to welcome a new team, a new manager and a new era following a stretch of disappointing seasons.
Monday’s home opener against the Baltimore Orioles is sold out, continuing a decade-long home sellout streak. The streak is likely to end this month, reflecting fan discontent following 2011’s epic collapse and last year’s last-place finish.
Bob LeClerc sees reason for optimism. The longtime fan showed up hours early for Monday’s game. He says victories this season over the rival Yankees and Sunday’s 13-0 thrashing of Toronto make him hopeful for a good year.
But win or lose, the Andover man said he’s delighted to return to Fenway, where for a few sunny hours he planned to worry about nothing but baseball.
The Red Sox capped a 4-2 road trip to open the season with that shutout win over the Blue Jays. Will Middlebrooks hit three home runs in the victory, and it was one happy trip back to Massachusetts.
As fans greet the new team though, there are still some missing parts. Designated hitter David Ortiz is out with a right heel injury, and shortstop Stephen Drew has a concussion.
The Red Sox went just 34-47 at home last season.