Red Sox

10 memorable Boston Red Sox home opener wins at Fenway Park

10 memorable Boston Red Sox home opener wins at Fenway Park

The Boston Red Sox were scheduled to play baseball at Fenway Park for the first time in 2020 on Thursday, but the outbreak of the coronavirus has delayed the start of the MLB season, and it's unknown when the action will resume at America's most beloved ballpark.

The Red Sox have given fans many great memories in home openers throughout their storied history -- everything from high-scoring games, walk-off finishes and World Series banner ceremonies.

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While we wait for baseball to return, let's look back at some of the Red Sox's most memorable home opener wins with some Opening Day Dreaming Delivered by Coors Light.

April 11, 2005

It's hard to find a more memorable home opener than this one. 

The Red Sox unveiled their 2004 World Series banner on a beautiful Monday afternoon in Boston, and they did it in front of the rival New York Yankees. Ceremonial first pitches were thrown by Celtics legend Bill Russell, Bruins legend Bobby Orr, as well as Patriots stars Tedy Bruschi and Richard Seymour.

The Sox offense scored eight runs on nine hits and Tim Wakefield pitched seven strong innings to power the defending champs to an 8-1 victory.

April 10, 1998

The Mariners jumped out to a 7-2 lead after eight innings thanks to a very good performance from lefty ace Randy Johnson. Unfortunately for the "Big Unit", he wouldn't earn the victory because the Mariners bullpen gave up seven runs in the bottom of the ninth, including a walk-off grand slam to former American League MVP winner Mo Vaughn.

April 6, 1973

The first game to ever include the designated hitter happened when the Red Sox hosted the Yankees for the home opener in 1973.

The Yankees' Ron Blomberg was the first DH to ever step up to the plate in the first inning, and he walked in a run with the bases loaded. Both teams have used the DH with great success since then, and the best example is the career of Red Sox legend David Ortiz.

April 8, 2008

It took the Red Sox 86 years to win their title after 1918, and Boston sports fans only had to wait three years to celebrate the next one.

Boston unveiled its 2007 World Series title flag at Fenway Park before a 5-0 win over the Detroit Tigers.

April 21, 1939

A new era for the Red Sox began in 1939 with Ted Williams embarking on a Hall of Fame career. He went 1-for-5 with an RBI and played right field in his first career home opener.

The Red Sox won 9-2 over the Philadelphia Athletics.

April 4, 2010

The Red Sox welcomed the defending World Series champion Yankees to Fenway Park to kick off the 2010 season with a rare night home opener.

The Yankees had a 5-2 lead after five innings, then the Red Sox offense woke up and scored seven runs over the next three innings en route to a 9-7 win. These teams also combined for 24 hits, including three home runs.

April 6, 1973

Many of the Red Sox' home openers against the rival Yankees have been high-scoring games, and 1973 was no different.

Boston won 15-5 led by Carlton Fisk, Rico Petrocelli, Doug Griffin and Carl Yastrzemski. Fisk went 4-for-6 with two homers and six RBI. Petrocelli went 3-for-4 at the plate, while Griffin was 4-for-5 with two RBI. Yastrzemski went 2-for-4 and also hit a home run.

April 5, 2018

The Red Sox won a franchise-record 108 regular season games in 2018, and that included a walk-off victory over the Tampa Bay Rays in the home opener.

Boston trailed 2-0 entering the bottom of the ninth inning and scored two runs to force extra innings. Hanley Ramirez came up to the plate with the bases loaded in the 12th inning and delivered a walk-off single to seal a 3-2 win.

The Red Sox would go on to win the World Series in October.

April 8, 1985

The Red Sox dominated the Yankees in their first Fenway Park matchup of 1985.

Eight of the nine Red Sox starters tallied at least one hit, with Dwight Evans and Tony Armas hitting one homer apiece. Jim Rice also went 1-for-3 at the plate with three RBI and two runs scored.

April 14, 1942

Red Sox legend Johnny Pesky made his Fenway Park debut in the 1942 home opener, where he went 2-for-4 with a triple and a run scored in an 8-3 victory against the Philadelphia Athletics.

MLB's Top 100 players for 2020 season: Numbers 75-51

MLB's Top 100 players for 2020 season: Numbers 75-51

With MLB players and owners struggling to come to terms on a return-to-play strategy for 2020, we're focusing on the actual players who will take the field when games eventually get back underway.

Over the next several weeks, NBC Sports Boston is counting down the Top 100 players for 2020. While our list won't include several aces who will definitely not play this season — Noah Syndergaard of the Mets, Luis Severino of the Yankees, and Chris Sale of the Red Sox — our countdown includes many other All-Stars.

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Red Sox closer Brandon Workman kicked off our list at No. 100, and there's another Boston hurler in the next group of 25 players. 

Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez finally delivered on his considerable promise in 2019, going 19-6 with a 3.81 ERA and finishing sixth in the AL Cy Young race.

He was the rock of a rotation missing Nathan Eovaldi for most of the season, David Price for large chunks, and Chris Sale for what amounted to the final two months. Just 27 years old, E-Rod remains firmly in his prime, and with another strong season should climb even higher next year.

Click here for Part 2 of our Top 100, featuring players 75-51.

 

In battle of MLB owners vs. players, best choice feels like 'none of the above'

In battle of MLB owners vs. players, best choice feels like 'none of the above'

I hate them all.

MLB's owners, with their bad-faith labor proposals designed to make the players look greedy so they'll have someone to blame if the season can't be salvaged. The players, who are too stupid and undisciplined to decline the bait.

The billionaire owners, for crying poor and refusing to pay their minor leaguers. The millionaire players, for treating every offer like an insult to be doused in urine.

The owners, for using a pandemic to ram through a series of long-sought changes to the draft, the minor leagues, and maybe even a salary cap. The players, for failing to recognize the need to stop swinging the gold-plated Boras Corp. hammer of public messaging they typically wield like Thor.

I hate it, hate it, hate it. All of it.

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As we seek a return to normalcy, at least there's baseball to ground us in all of its infinite stupidity. While the NBA quietly negotiates a 16-team tournament with surprisingly little rancor, and the NHL announces that it will conduct a 24-team playoffs as soon as it is safe to do so, baseball and its players take turns poleaxing the sport in the face.

The owners started with a 50-50 revenue sharing model they were so certain was a nonstarter, they never even officially offered it to the players. They did leak it far and wide, however, which led to inevitable pushback from union boss Tony Clark, who sniffed that it was a blatant attempt to install a salary cap, which the players will never accept, certainly not with CBA negotiations looming next year.

Cue the predictable bemoaning of baseball's out-of-touch millionaire class, which is exactly what the owners wanted. They're skillfully waging asymmetrical warfare, since they need to shut only 30 mouths to close ranks. There are 900 players, though, and it only takes one of them swallowing his leg above the knee to sway public opinion.

Enter Rays lefty Blake Snell, a Twitch streamer depressingly short on brain matter who announced to his followers that, "I gotta get my money," in a tone-deaf rant last week that immediately overshadowed more nuanced discussions of health and safety from the likes of Andrew Miller, Chris Iannetta, and even Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo. Snell apologized, but damage done.

It should come as little surprise that he then fired his agent and hired Boras.

Ahhh, Boras. In normal times, he's unfairly maligned for securing monster deals. No one forced the Padres to fork over $300 million to Manny Machado, for instance. Boras is the best in the business and someone we'd all want on our side in a negotiation.

In normal times, anyway. But now?

If there's anyone who needs to stand down in the midst of a messaging battle, it's the man many fans consider the sport's avatar of avarice. "You don't privatize the gains and socialize the losses," might be an accurate appraisal of MLB's initial proposal, but it's not a sentiment anyone wants to hear from the man who just negotiated over $1 billion worth of contracts this winter.

Spending all this time focusing on Boras and the MLBPA, however, plays right into the hands of the owners. Their latest proposal, which calls for a sliding scale of pay cuts that would leave the lowest earners making most of their prorated salaries and the highest earners staring at cuts of $30 million (sorry, Mike Trout), feels designed to provoke another round of public whining.

That means they're still more concerned with PR than actually saving their game, and once you view their actions solely through the lens of assigning blame, it becomes clear how cynical their attempts at resuming play really are. It wouldn't surprise me if there's a faction willing to blow up the season to gain massive leverage when the CBA expires in 2021. These guys didn't become billionaires by playing nice.

We're already hearing about furloughs and pay cuts in the front offices of even storied franchises like the Cubs, and the A's just eliminated a $400/month stipend to their minor leaguers that ESPN's Jeff Passan estimated would've cost them only $1 million to maintain through August. The move feels as distasteful as whatever bubbles up through the drains in the Coliseum.

Meanwhile, the clock continues to tick. If the sides really want baseball to return by July 4, they'll need to reach an agreement sometime in the next 10 days in order to leave time to conduct a three-week spring training.

It's entirely possible the two sides are withholding their best offers until the 11th hour, and all of this posturing is just so much saber rattling before everyone finally acts in the game's best interests.

If that's the case, may I politely suggest they all go to hell? We've got our own problems at the moment, and picking a side in this loser battle ain't one of them.