When the season began the Maineiacs posted some thoughts on how much the Red Sox must break quickly from the gate. Mostly because they had not for years and also to begin to erase the image of the Red Sox of recent years.
Today in an emotion filled day at Fenway Park, the Red Sox returned to play at home for the first time since the Boston Marathon bombing and after postponing last night's game due to the active manhunt for the second bomber.
The Sox won a close, tense game on the shoulders of Daniel Nava's three run 8th inning home run. 4-3 over Kansas City. This is the seventh straight win for the Sox and gives them a 12-4 mark after 16 games. With 9 more home games coming up next Boston has a chance to put the pedal to the metal on the AL East. Obviously, 16 games is a very small sample size ( 1/10 of the season). But two things stand out: pitching and the fact they are off to a hot start without everyone hitting their groove yet ( Middlebrooks, Drew, Ortiz just arriving today). They will not play .750 ball all year, but there is also no indication that this is a fluke.
Some random notes about today and the KC series:
First the very emotional opening ceremonies honored the law enforcement officials and all the citizens of Greater Boston. The fans, as at the TD Garden earlier in the week, sang the National Anthem on their own. But then at the end of the ceremonies and first pitches as the field was clearing David Ortiz grabbed the mike to thank the mayor, governor, and all law officers. Then in a moment that will live forever in not just Red Sox but all of Boston history, Big Papi proclaimed "This is our fucking city and no one will dictate our freedom. Stay Strong." And Fenway went wild. Along with people at home saying "Did he just say what I think he said?" Yes he did. It is very possible that David Ortiz will go down as the most iconic Red Sox player of all time.
Today featured another great start from Clay Buchholz. Now certainly Jon Lester and Clay Bucchholz are not going to be undefeated all year. But if they front this rotation in a manner they are capable of, this team can go a long way.
Neil Diamond made a personal appearance to perform Sweet Caroline live in the 8th inning. Two Sweet Caroline notes: first there had been a growing number of critics saying the Sox should can the nightly singing of this song. It was specifically suggested that now that the sellout streak had ended, Caroline could go to the exit with it. And then came the bombings, and in a sign of solidarity with Boston the song was sung all over MLB parks earlier this week, even at Yankee Stadium. After that Sweet Caroline is not leaving Fenway Park for long, long, long time. Secondly, as famously ( or infamously) as the Sox PR crew is known for productions, apparently they had no part in planning Neil Diamond's appearance. Several sources are reporting he flew into Boston today at 12:30 and then called the Sox asking to come sing today.
One last note about the remaining KC series, it is being reported that Allen Webster is being recalled from AAA to pitch Sunday night's makeup game of Friday's postponement. This will be an extremely interesting development, and if Webster pitches as well as he has in Pawtucket and in spring training, he could be a big part of the 2013 Red Sox.