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Opening “Easter Sunday Night” not a crowd pleaser at Fenway Faithful

Posted By "Baseball Brenda" Sepanek On Apr 6 2010 @ 1:23 am In Boston Red Sox | 18 Comments

Opening Day throughout Major League Baseball is a tradition that generally involves the game being played DURING THE DAY! Not if ESPN and MLB had anything to say about it. Bostonians have 3 big days each year that we all look forward to. The first is the St. Patty’s Day parade in Southie where everyone sports their Celtics jersey and green Boston hat and wanders through the streets drinking green beer. The second of course is Opening Day and third being the Patriots Day Red Sox game. There is nothing better than setting your alarm to  hit the bars for kegs and eggs and file into Fenway Park by noontime to watch our beloved Sox every year. But not this year! This year half of Red Sox Nation ages 8 and under were already sound asleep before the first pitch was thrown at 8:05. And the rest of Red Sox Nation was probably in a food coma from their Easter dinner which could explain why NESN earned its highest season opener rating in network history.

I am still a bit unclear on who to blame this switch of the schedule on. ESPN or MLB? Do they work together on scheduling? And why don’t the owners of the teams have any clout when it comes to these big decisions? I do know the general consensus around Boston and throughout New England was that moving the traditional Opening Day to a night game on Easter Sunday was not a crowd favorite. Maybe I have such a strong opinion because I was one of the  diehard fans that was deeply effected by this switcheroo. I have been to every Opening Day and playoff game since moving back to Boston in 2005. So you would think it would be a no-brainer I would be at this game, after all, it does sound a bit sexy on paper: Opening Night, Red Sox vs Yankees. I had one problem though. It was Easter Sunday and my grandmother is suffering through the final stages of Dimentia, Alzheimers and Parkinson’s. So when faced with the decision on where I needed and wanted to be it was a no brainer. Not at Fenway. Don’t get me wrong, we are talking about someone that has never put ANYTHING in front of the Red Sox in my life so that was a HUGE step. My question is why didn’t John, Tom and Larry put up a fight to save our great day? We all know it’s all about the money, not what’s best for the game or the fans. And if it is about money, a traditional Opening Day would have generated more revenue and left fans happy to continue their tradition.

But what’s done is done. Opening Night went off without a hitch. It was a memorable evening filled with a surprise visit from Pedro Martinez who threw out the first pitch and enjoyed his time in the spot light. Then the star of the evening was 5 year old Joshua Sacco, who is famous for his You Tube video for reciting the entire Herb Brook’s “Miracle” speech. He recited the speech standing in front of the Red Sox dugout putting on it his own “Red Sox” twist. Joshsua Sacco delivers \”Miracle\” speech to the fenway crowd on Opening Night [1] The rest of the evening was filled with pyrotechnics and a surprise appearance from the one and only Neil Diamond who sang Fenway’s favorite bottom of the 8th song, “Sweet Caroline.” I was always told he would never perform at a sox game live so I wonder how they lured him in. The ridiculous “KEEP THE DODGERS IN BROOKLYN” coat he wore must have had something to do with it.

As far as the game itself goes, both C.C and Beckett came out firing. Beckett retired the first 5 batters he faced until he gave up back to back homers by Posada and Granderson. In any other park, Posada’s line drive shot would have been a double so we could have let that slide until Granderson rocketed a shot to deep center. Immediately sox fans had flashbacks of last season when Beckett gave up 5 home runs in the series finale last August. Listening to sports radio today, fans everywhere are jumping ship on Beckett as usual and think there is need for concern. RELAX PEOPLE! It’s the first game of the season!  Aside from Beckett’s shaky start there was plenty to be happy about. It took a while for the bats to come alive but once they did it turned the whole game around. Kevin Youkilis is going to have a monster year and people are talking MVP numbers. But not if Dustin Pedroia has anything to say about it. He launched his 2nd Opening Day home run over the monster to tie the game up in the bottom of the 7th. One of the best surprises  in the lineup  in my opinion isn’t so much what Youk and Dustin did, but what the newcomers contributed. New centerfielder, Mike Cameron went 2 for 3, Shortstop Mark Scutaro went 2 for 3 with an RBI and Adrian Beltre had 2 clutch RBIs. The new trio went a combined 5 for 9 with 3 RBIs. Always nice to be clutch in the 6-9 spots.

Sox fans have a lot to be happy about. Starting off the season right out of the gates playing the Yankees is a tough task and they took care of business. They picked up Beckett and had 12 hits on the night. A great way to start the season. Sox 1…Yanks 0 for those of you keeping track. I am looking forward to celebrating MY opening day tomorrow. See you at Fenway. I’ll be there Tuesday and Wednesday.

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[1] Joshsua Sacco delivers \”Miracle\” speech to the fenway crowd on Opening Night: http://www.nesn.com/2010/04/fiveyear-old-joshua-sacco-delivers-herb-brooks-miracle-speech-before-red-soxyankees-opener.html

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