Red Sox

A look back at the last 10 Opening Day ceremonial first pitches at Fenway Park

A look back at the last 10 Opening Day ceremonial first pitches at Fenway Park

Thursday was supposed to be a special day in Boston.

The Red Sox were scheduled to host the Chicago White Sox for Opening Day at Fenway Park. Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus pandemic, we're going to have to wait a while longer before the first pitch of the 2020 season is thrown.

But that doesn't mean we can't take a trip down memory lane and revisit some of the most iconic Red Sox home opener moments. From Tom Brady to Carl Yastrzemski, a number of Boston legends have kicked off the baseball season in Boston with memorable first pitches.

Let's take a look back at the last 10 of them with some Opening Day Dreaming Delivered by Coors Light.

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2010 - Johnny Pesky

Red Sox legend Johnny Pesky began a new decade of Red Sox baseball by tossing out the first pitch at Fenway Park alongside Pedro Martinez. The ceremonies took place before Boston's opening game vs. the rival Yankees.

2011 - Carl Yastrzemski

Photo courtesy Getty Images

Yaz hadn't made many appearances at Fenway Park after retiring in 1984, but he returned to throw out the first pitch prior to the 2011 home opener against the Yankees.

2012 - Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield

Photo via AP

After many seasons as Red Sox mainstays, both Varitek and Wakefield decided to call it a career prior to the 2012 MLB season. The two Red Sox icons joined forces to celebrate their careers with the ceremonial first pitch in 2012.

2013 - Jimmy Fund patients

The 2013 Opening Day ceremonies were a tribute to the 60th anniversary of the Red Sox' relationship with the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund. It is the longest-standing team/charity relationship in all of professional sports.

2014 - Mayor Marty Walsh

Former Boston mayor Thomas Menino assisted on the ceremonial first pitch for current mayor Marty Walsh, who threw some heat. They were joined by members of the 2004 World Series team.

2015 - Tom Brady

Photo via AP

Brady is no stranger to Red Sox Opening Day ceremonies. One of his appearances took place in 2015 as Boston celebrated the Patriots' unforgettable Super Bowl XLIX win over the Seattle Seahawks. We would have selected Malcolm Butler for this particular event, but Brady is always a safe choice.

2016 - Ty Law, Bobby Orr and Bill Russell

Photo via AP

The Red Sox hardly ever lack star power for their Opening Day ceremonies, and that much was evident in 2016. They had three Boston legends in the house as Hall of Famers Ty Law (Patriots), Bobby Orr (Bruins) and Bill Russell (Celtics) each threw out the first pitch.

2017 - Tom Brady

Perhaps one of the most memorable first pitches in Red Sox Opening Day history, Brady was joined by Rob Gronkowski and other former Patriots teammates to celebrate their Super Bowl LI win over the Atlanta Falcons.

2018 - U.S. women's hockey team, other medalists from Winter Olympics

Photo via AP

Four members of the gold medal-winning U.S. women's hockey team tossed first pitches alongside Paralympics silver medalist Jake Adicoff, luge silver medalist Chris Mazdzer and Paralympian Dan Cnossen, a gold medal-winning biathlete and former Navy SEAL who lost both of his legs in Afghanistan.

2019 - Julian Edelman, Rob Gronkowski and Stephon Gilmore

Photo via AP

After the Red Sox celebrated their 2018 World Series title with a ring ceremony, they were joined by members of a Patriots team that had earned its sixth Super Bowl title two months earlier vs. the Los Angeles Rams. Edelman earned Super Bowl MVP honors.

Lou Merloni destroys MLB, players for bickering over 2020 return plan

Lou Merloni destroys MLB, players for bickering over 2020 return plan

As the NBA, NHL, NFL and MLS prepare to resume play in the near future, Major League Baseball still can't get out of its own way.

MLB reportedly rejected the Players Association's proposal Wednesday for a 114-game season in 2020 and apparently doesn't plan to make a counter-offer.

The league and the players have refused to budge on the issues dividing them: Players don't want to take an additional pay cut after agreeing to prorated salaries in March, while the owners are wary of extending the season too long due to the coronavirus pandemic and want players to agree to further reduced salaries to mitigate lost revenue.

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That stalemate has cost MLB valuable time, however, as the league doesn't appear close to beginning its 2020 regular season as the calendar turns to June.

So, who's to blame here? Lou Merloni believes it's everyone involved.

The former Boston Red Sox infielder ripped into both the league and the union Wednesday night during an appearance on NBC Sports Boston.

"Both sides suck, OK? That's the bottom line," Merloni said. "The Players Association comes back and says, 'Not 82 (games), we want 114' when they know that's the non-starter. The owners don't want to sit there and play until November. They're worried about the pandemic; they've got to get the playoffs in. And then the owners come back and say we're not even going to counter?

"Jesus, we're like a month into this thing. Can you string this thing out (any longer)? How about go in one room together and try to figure this out in a day or two?"

Compounding MLB's issue is that the NBA is expected to announce a return-to-play plan Thursday that would resume the 2019-20 season in late July. The MLS and NHL also have made headwinds toward resuming their seasons this summer -- which means baseball is wasting a much-needed opportunity to showcase itself as the only active pro sports league.

"I mean, you're running out of time and you're only screwing yourself. Even if baseball does come back, people have already said, 'I've had enough of you.' It's been like a month, a year, and you guys talk and bitch about this thing publicly. I don't give a crap anymore. I've got hockey, basketball, football is around the corner, hell, soccer is around the corner. I'm good.

"They don't even realize it! It's like they're in this bubble and they don't even realize what's going on around them right now. Figure this thing out: 70 games, 65, prorated (salaries), start playing some baseball, because your ass better be first coming back. If not, people are going to be done."

There's reportedly some optimism that the players and the union will resolve their differences and put a return plan in place. But with nearly one-third of the season already lost, the clock is ticking.

Check out Merloni's full comments in the video player above.

Who are the best designated hitters in Red Sox history? Ranking the Top 5

Who are the best designated hitters in Red Sox history? Ranking the Top 5

There's only one choice for best designated hitter in Red Sox history, but just in case there's any doubt, we'll quote broadcaster Dave O'Brien with the signature call from his WEEI days: "DAVID ORTIZ! DAVID ORTIZ! DAVID ORTIZ!"

No sense in even pretending there's any suspense on this one.

What's fascinating about ranking the Red Sox DHs, however, is just how few of them have actually held down the position for any length of time over the years.

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Only nine players have made at least 200 appearances there with the Red Sox since the DH was introduced in 1973, and four of them — Carl Yastrzemski, Jim Rice, Dwight Evans, and Manny Ramirez — have already appeared elsewhere in our outfield rankings.

That leaves five men to fill out the list, and about the only difficult omission is slugger Jose Canseco, who made 184 appearances between 1995 and 1996.

Click here for the Top 5 DHs in Red Sox history.