If last night's game was any indication of the season to come, I am very very excited.
We all know the Sox spare no expense when it comes to marketing the team. And we know John Henry and Co. love to have a few surprises up their sleeves (ala Billy Buckner in 2008). What we didn't know is just how brilliant last night's opening game was going to be - both orchestrated and not.
I tuned into the coverage in time to see Dr. Dre donning a Sox Jersey (what?!) and plugging his new headphones, "Beats." When asked about player at-bat songs, and which one player he'd like to convince to be announced to one of his songs, he quickly replied "Ortiz......Big Papi" to a new song of his Under Pressure. Oh Dre. If you only knew Pedroia used The Wash in 2007 and F*ck With Dre the past two seasons you might have had to do too much convincing. Papi historically prefers The Game, 50 cent or some Dominican jam.
Then there was seeing newly retired Nomar Garciaparra sitting at the ESPN Analyst's Desk on the field.
When it was time to announce the teams. The 2009 World Series Champions, NYY were first. *yawn* and then it was time for the 2010 Red Sox. When Mr. Red Sox, number 6, Johnny Pesky was announced I got teary. When fan fave Mike Lowell was announced, I may have cried (don't judge me). He got the biggest ovation of the night, one he clearly deserved. It was strange having both Lowell and Varitek announced before the starting players, a reality I was perhaps not yet ready to accept.
Thank you to Jere at a Red Sox Fan From Pinstripe Territory for shooting and posting this video!
Although the secret was leaked in the hour or so before the game, it was still a great surprise to see Pedro Martinez walk from out of the Green Monster, under the American Flag and towards home plate to throw out the game's first pitch. I loved when Orsillo announced him he said it was time to "wake up the d@mn Bambino and welcome Pedro back." But why, oh why did they play Phil Collins as he headed towards the mound?!
Pedro's smile was electric. He looked truly and honestly happy to be back. And I was truly, and honestly, happy to see him back wearing #54. I miss Pedro. Every time he toed the rubber you expected the unexpected to happen. The moment of his return was momentarily ruined when A-Rod ran out from to give him a hug...all returned to right in the world when Pedro thew to long-time catcher Varitek.
Martinez even shared in a lengthy hug, and a photo-opportunistic conversation with Pesky. It was magical to watch.
paradoy on Herb Brooks locker room speech from the movie "Miracle." I wonder how many people didn't get what this was all about. If you didn't, it may have seemed odd. But if you were one of the million plus viewers who know Josh from YouTube...it was awesome. It was complete with the link, "I'm sick and tired of hearing 'bout what a great baseball team the Yankees have...Screw 'em!"
Seriously this was all before the game even started.
Beckett pitched a great first inning, but it was all down-hill from there. He allowed back-to-back homers to Jorge Posada (off of Pesky Pole) and Curtis Granderson. He had no control of his off-speed pitches and he only struck out one batter and gave up 5 runs in 4 2/3 innings.
But the offense, you know the offense that wasn't supposed to be able to score any runs this year? They came alive. Youk (who was still donning a goatee, much to the chagrin of many) went 3 for 4. He had two doubles, a triple and scored three runs with two RBIs.
Then there was Pedroia. El Caballito, the F*ck Yeah Kid. He went 2 for 4. He walked, smashed a 2 run homer and drove in 3. Almost nothing in baseball gets me as excited as watching Pedroia scream "F*ck Yeah!" (sorry mom & dad). He is in it to win it. Every single game.
Youk and Pedroia, they are the new face of the Boston Red Sox. They may not have the natural talent that Manny and Papi dominated with, but they are gritty and determined. They are not going to let anyone tell their offense they can't score runs. No way. No how. These boys are ball players.
The new guys did well, Ellsbury and Papi struggled at the plate (and Ellsbury a bit in the field). Nothing too concerning, but it did have me wondering about the future of Papi in a Sox uniform when a very capable DH named Mike Lowell was sitting on the bench.
Yankee's fan LeBron James was sitting in Henry's luxury box for the game (texting every time the camera cut to him) along with Dre (no longer in his Sox jersey).
There were other surprises throughout the night. Steven Tyler and one of his daughters came out for a creepy rendition of God Bless America. I'm not sure why she was there. She wasn't announced. She only did a bit of harmonizing at the end. My guess is that he's going to be pushing her pop-rock singing career soon.
One of the best things to happen? Sweet Caroline was played during the middle of the 8th, like always. But for the first time ever it was sung live by Mr. Neil Diamond himself.
He wasn't much better than Tyler...but honestly I loved every second of it. Sox fans had been waiting a long time to see that. He was curiously wearing a jacket that said "Keep the Dodgers in Brooklyn" but eh...whatever....
My first game of the season will be on Wednesday night watching John Lackey's debut against the Bronx Bombers. I can't wait.