BOSTON (CBS) — The Boston Red Sox finally get to play a game in front of their home fans on Tuesday. But first, they have a new decoration to unveil and a little bling to collect.
While the 3-8 Red Sox don’t really deserve a celebration, they’ll have one more bash to put the finishing touches on their 2018 World Series title before turning the page for good. And at just 3-8 this season, they really need to turn that page for good.
At least the Red Sox get to play their first of 81 home games after the ceremony, and two games against the lowly Blue Jays are a great opportunity to start climbing out of the hole they dug themselves into with their horrendous 11-game road trip to start the season. The last time the Red Sox played at Fenway Park was Game 2 of the World Series, so this return has been a long time coming.
Here’s what we’ll be watching for throughout the day, as the Red Sox will raise another banner and look to start a win streak on the field.
We’ve done this a few times before, so we get it. But hey, maybe there is a Boston fan out there ready to partake in their first banner ceremony. Or at least their first in a few years.
Gates at Fenway Park will open 11:35 a.m. with the ceremony set to begin at 1 p.m., so the team is asking fans to be in their seats by 12:45 p.m. First pitch is slated for 2:05 p.m., but that may be pushed back a tad if festivities go a little long.
The Red Sox will unveil their 2018 World Series championship banner, present World Series rings to players and then raise their 2018 championship flag. But that is only part of the fun.
Keith Lockhart will lead The Boston Pops in both the Canadian and American national anthems, which will culminate with a fly-over by four F-16 jets from the National Guard. There will be a huge American flag that will be draped over the Green Monster, and the Hanscom Air Force Base military will be on hand.
The team will also look a little different when they take the field, sporting gold-trimmed hats and jerseys with gold stitching to celebrate the 2018 title.
We’re still waiting to hear who will be throwing out the first pitch. That part remains a mystery at the moment, but a different championship team may help out on that front.
Banners are banners. While they each carry their own special story, they all kind of look the same.
But the World Series ring is a much different beast (they don’t call it bling for nothing). Each World Series ring has gotten more extravagant than the last (yes, it’s wild that we’re now in a time where we can compare Red Sox World Series rings), and chances are the 2018 version will be pretty darn fancy. When you set a franchise record for regular season wins and then make the playoffs look easy, you deserve to get a lavish ring to show off to the world.
Which Patriots Will Be There?
The Red Sox are sharing their banner day with the Patriots, so fans will get to see two defending champs on the field at once. At least most of them.
Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft are not expected to attend Tuesday’s festivities. But recently retired tight end Rob Gronkowski said that he will be there, and it’s always a good time when Gronk is around. This will be a nice way for Boston fans to send him off into his retirement, and another chance for Gronkowski to have some fun in the spotlight.
Cornerback Stephon Gilmore has also said that he will be at Fenway Park, and chances are those two won’t be alone. But it will be interesting to see who joins them on the field, given most players usually scatter after getting off their duck boat.
And as a bonus “Will They Be There?” how about Craig Kimbrel? The former Red Sox closer is still unemployed, so maybe he’ll be in Boston to collect his World Series ring.
Return Of Dustin Pedroia
After starting the season on the injured list, Pedroia wanted to be in the Red Sox lineup for the home opener. That wish has come true; Pedroia is back in the lineup batting seventh and will play second for Boston.
Pedroia played in three games for the Greenville Drive over the weekend, including back-to-back games on Thursday (nine innings) and Friday (five innings). He got the day off on Saturday before playing all nine innings on Sunday. In those three games, Pedroia went 3-for-9 at the plate with a double and a run scored, while turning four double plays in the field.
Now we’ll see what he has left after missing nearly all of last season with a left knee injury.
Did we mention the Red Sox are just 3-8 on the season? But given that they won their final game of the road trip, a win on Tuesday would mean the Red Sox are riding a winning streak!
And the Blue Jays are a perfect team to bust a slump against. The Jays are also just 3-8 on the season, which really isn’t much of a surprise. They’re coming in off a four-game sweep at the hands of the Indians in Cleveland, where they struck out 57 times over the set and nearly got no-hit in one of the games. The Jays have just 64 hits this season, batting a crisp .183 on the year. It’s a shame they’re only in town for two games.
Chris Sale will look to build off his six innings of one-run ball against the A’s last time out, and all eyes will be on the radar gun whenever the lefty fires a fastball. Sale’s velocity was way down in Seattle and Oakland, and he has just five strikeouts in his first nine innings this season.
And maybe the offense will get going now that they’re back home. The Sox were shut out twice in Oakland, and scored four or fewer runs in six of their first 11 games, including their 1-0 win on Sunday. J.D. Martinez is the only one swinging a good bat at the moment, slashing .333/.404/.548 with three homers and eight RBIs.
It’s a shame the Red Sox run into Matt Shoemaker, who will get the start for Toronto on Tuesday. The righty is 2-0 on the season and hasn’t allowed a run over his 14 innings, surrendering just four hits while striking out 15.
The Red Sox have not been getting timely hits, and when they do, their pitching just gives back the runs the next inning. Perhaps coming home to friendly Fenway, for six games against the Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles (4-7), are just what the doctor ordered to get the Red Sox out of their funk.