Friday, February 12, 2010

2010: The Year Truck Broke?

January 21st, 1952:As long as people have reported on baseball, they've been kind enough to let us know when the season has started. Not the first game, but the day the equipment gets packed up and hauled south. It used to go by train, then a van, then a truck, and now...still a truck. At some point, instead of seeing pictures of the equipment being packed in the clubhouse, newspapers began just showing the truck outside the ballpark. Ten years ago tomorrow, Dan Shaughnessy, in his yearly piece on the unofficial first day of spring, wrote

The Truck Day photo has become one of those odd rituals that are so indigenous to New England.

And that's the name that would eventually stick. "Truck day."


Despite what Dan wrote in 2000, along with what he wrote in 1991 ("The picture of the Sox truck is one of those corny local traditions"), the Boston media aren't the only ones to show its team's equipment being packed. But they've been consistent about it for decades, and combined with Red Sox fans' tendency to actually bundle up and go to the park to watch the trucks roll away, "Truck Day" really became a "Red Sox thing."

1957 (actually a shot of the equipment after its arrival in Florida):
In 2003, Dr. Charles gave Red Sox fans something to do while they watched the truck, turning the experience into a celebration. "This trip is a metaphor," he said. "Winter is going to end. Spring is going to come. And baseball is the robin. Baseball heralds spring. You want to celebrate that."

1976 (yay, 70s hair!):
Ever since then, the Red Sox version of Truck Day has had an "official" feel. And has since reported it not only for the Sox, but for other teams. While "everyone" now is aware of the point when equipment begins to roll across the league, no teams have fully embraced Truck Day like we have. It's funny, you hear someone ask "how many days till pitchers & catchers" these days, and you think, This person clearly doesn't celebrate Truck Day!

So is this the year Truck Day finally goes all-the-way mainstream for everybody? You can't tell me there are still teams with fans who don't say "Truck Day," when the Red Sox have already given it an official name, complete with sponsor (Spring Training Truck Day Presented by JetBlue Airways). And where can we go from here? Celebrating the day the trucks leave wherever they leave to go to ballparks to pick up the equipment (sponsored by Peterbilt)? Who knows what the future of Truck Day holds, but Happy Truck Day to all, and to all a good mid- to late February!

The date of Truck Day for the last 20 years:

2010: Friday 2/12
2009: Friday 2/6
2008: Saturday 2/9
2007: Monday 2/12
2006: Monday 2/13 (Note the claim that the Dr. Charles quote was "one year ago" when it was really from 2003 as linked above.)
2005: Friday 2/11
2004: Monday 2/16
2003: Monday 2/10
2002: Monday 2/11
2001: Tuesday 2/13
2000: Tuesday 2/15
1999: Monday 2/15
1998: Monday 2/9
1997: Tuesday 2/11
1996: Friday 2/9
1995: Monday 2/13
1994: Saturday 2/12
1993: Saturday 2/13
1992: Monday 2/17
1991: Friday 2/15

Before that it's easy to find Truck Day/equipment loading coverage, and of course plenty of spring training coverage, especially in the Florida papers, but I'll spare you the rest of the full list. Search it yourself--it's fun to read about this stuff in the 1930s.

Here's one more line though, from the Globe, 1/15/1988: "Red Sox publicist Dick Bresciani announced that the Sox equipment truck will leave for Florida Feb. 9. Photographs of the baseball equipment truck are an annual highlight in local papers. The truck photo is a signal that spring is in sight."

And no article on Truck Day would be complete without mentioning the Orlando brothers. You saw Johnny in the pics above. Between him and his brother Vinnie, these guys worked the clubhouse for over 80 years combined. They deserve their own post, but, again, do a news search--every year from 1933 on one of them would get a mention in the paper in February. Check out Johnny Orlando with Johnny Pesky in 1951:
Johnny O. died in '74 and Vinnie O. in '99.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Kapstein For Lt. Governor?

Jeremy Kapstein, aka the guy behind the plate who isn't Drinkwater OR Red Sox senior adviser OR the Conrad Bain of AJM's existence OR my dad's best friend's one-time roommate OR the inspiration for Jerry Maguire could be running for office in Rhode Island in a Democratic primary.

Of course, they said he'd "run" for Red Sox GM when Theo went apeshit, too...

New Timers

Dear Humanity,

If you want to go that Futures dub-hed, you can get in a pre-sale tomorrow if you're an RSN member. But that game doesn't sell very fast, and with no Port. or Paw. it will sell even slower. So feel free to wait. I'm just sayin', if you want front row action, the pre-sale's the way to go.

Hey, if they ever start doing Old Timers' games at Fenway again, they should call it "Pasts at Fenway." Or if alliteration is a requirement, "Pasts at the Park." In fact, how about a doubleheader with one game of minor leaguers and one game of ex-major leaguers? FP at FP, Futures/Pasts at Fenway Park.

The team does have a relationship with several beloved former Sox, so getting them to do stuff wouldn't be a problem. It all comes down to whether they'd want to play. Of the "good relations" guys, you have the beginnings of an All-Star Old Timers Team: Fisk, Lynn, Rice, Evans, Tiant, etc.

[Update: Wow, I really screwed up the pre-sale info--it was actually today for both RSN members and season ticket holders, including me as a 10-game plan holder. I got confused as to which one I was "invited" to, AND I had the date wrong anyway. TJ by me.]

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


As I predicted (in real life, not here), the "18 inches" of snowfall was inches. At least here in Providence. But in New York City they got a blizzard, and Chan provides us with some great pics. There's nothin' better than NYC in the snow. (Execpt New York in the spring, summer, fall, etc.)

Ticket Stuff

Good way to get a Dodgers or Yankee game--SRO Pax. Note: On the ticketing page, there's an error--it shows the price of three Coke deck SRO tix for $50 total, which would have been sweet, but they're actually $25 each as normal, not...50 divided by three each. Would have been a nice way to get SRO tix (and then go to any of the SRO areas) for less than they cost, but it was just an error.

And the Futures game this year will be July 10th this year. Info here. Lowell and Salem! No Paws or Dogs this year, but that's okay. That reminds me, I never did post my pics from last year's doubleheader....

Truck Day Officially Jumps The Shark

Friday's gonna be the best Spring Training Truck Day Presented By JetBlue Airways ever!!!

But Why Watches?

All the spam I've been getting lately has been asking me to check out these awesome watches. Sometimes the spam is sent from my own e-mail address, too, which is weird. What have I done to suggest I need fine watches? I've never even worn a watch. I haven't been surfing watch porn sites as far as I know. Why watches? Why??

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Faces (Not The Store In Northampton)

When I heard about, it sounded funny. "All the different facial expressions of the Mannings," I was promised. Then when I went there, I just saw a bunch of pictures of the Mannings. If I didn't know what the site was called, I wouldn't even know they were supposed to be showing me facial expressions specifically. And the expressions aren't funny anyway. It's almost like I'm looking at the rejection pile of faces that weren't deemed funny enough for the main site.

I do like the slapped-together layout, though. If the faces were funny, that would make the whole thing funnier.

Monday, February 08, 2010

The Sweek

Last week I met one of my two goals, with the Smiths of Baseball entry getting the shaft. But apparently people like this new "favorite Sox by number" thing so that made up for it. The latest Smith will go up this week, along with a very special episode of RSFPT late in the week as the big baseball day approaches.

I have a crazy idea. You know how the Super Bowl squares contest only inludes the last digit of each team's score? What if we did one with every possible score? You could cap it at 49, making it a 50 x 50 grid, with numbers going from 0 to 49 along each side. 2500 people could play! And you'd be truly rooting for your exact score, not just the last digit. If you did with with money, the prizes would be incredible. I would totally host that if it were legal. In the meantime, I'd have to just give out prizes and have people enter for free. But we'd have to start, like, now!

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