BOSTON (AP/CBS) — Take heart, winter weary New Englanders, spring can’t be far away if the Boston Red Sox equipment truck is on its way to Florida.

Just after noon on Thursday, better known as “Truck Day” around Boston, the rig departed for its 1,480-mile trip to the team’s spring training home in Fort Myers.

Thousands of fans lined up outside Fenway Park on the chilly Thursday afternoon to bid the truck farewell, with Milford native Al Hartz behind the wheel for the 17th straight year. In it you’ll find an assortment of baseball equipment and supplies, including 20,400 baseballs, 1,100 bats, 400 pairs of socks, 20 cases of bubble gum and 60 cases of sunflower seeds.

Fans were greeted by Wally The Green Monster as snow fell lightly outside Fenway, and when the truck began its journey a flat-bed truck carrying Fenway Ambassadors led the way, tossing soft Red Sox baseballs to fans. Wally ran behind the truck for a bit before diving in a snowbank, drawing a huge ovation from Red Sox fans.

Prior to the truck’s departure, the famous Jon Wallach head from 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich made its appearance, with Red Sox Senior Advisor to the President/CEO Dr. Charles Steinberg taking some time to snap a photo with the cut-out.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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