The Athletics began their three-game series against the Red Sox on Tuesday, which was an emotional moment for starter Chris Bassitt, but a huge reunion for designated hitter Mitch Moreland.
As he approached the plate before the 3-2 win for his first at-bat of the game, fans cheered for him. He tipped his helmet to the crowd. And while the seats weren’t filled, that didn’t matter. He felt the warm return.
“It was definitely special,” Moreland said Wednesday. “Something that is greatly appreciated, humbled by, it’s a great fanbase, one of the best. It’s nice to be back and see some familiar faces for sure.”
Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez called timeout so Moreland could continue his moment. Other members of the opposing team continued to clap for him as well as a tribute video played.
“That was definitely special,” Moreland said. “Those guys were, they’re still close friends, great teammates and obviously spend a lot of time with those guys -- for Vazqy to do that and to look around and see the other guys following his lead was special. It’s something I’ll never forget.”
The 35-year-old sported a Boston uniform for four seasons, including in 2018 when he earned a World Series ring.
Moreland, who signed with the A’s as a free agent this offseason, said he was approached by the Red Sox and was in constant communication about a possible return up until the very end before deciding to sign with Oakland.
During those four seasons, he played in a lot of games. He couldn’t quite remember his first home game as a player, but the historic stadium hosted many memories before he ever put on that uniform.
“Man, that was a long time ago, a good many games since that I’ve played at Fenway so I don’t quite remember it, but it’s definitely a special place to play,” Moreland said. “This place going back all the way to playing in the Cape Cod League, in college and summer I got to come up here and watch games and it’s a special place. A special place to play baseball. I was fortunate enough to play here and enjoy it from the home side. It’s still fun being here as a visitor as well.”