Friday, March 28, 2008

A first month from hell

The Red Sox have never experienced a season opening series quite like that.
We don’t know very much new of interest about either team other than the following:
1. Daisuke’s still got the same maddeningly unpredictable concentration & control issues he had last year. He’s talented as hell, but he remains prone to those old Derek Lowe-style “what the hell are you doing out there” innings.
2. Brandon Moss might be an intriguing fifth outfielder to ponder as the year progresses.
3. Manny can still hit, no matter the month, continent or local language.
4. When he’s healthy, Rich Harden is flat out nasty.
5. Emil Brown can hit, but his base running skills leave a lot to be desired.
6. Red Sox Nation knows no international borders.

I thought I did a lot of traveling, but I’ve been home steadily since mid-February. I’m lucky. Here’s what the Red Sox players, coaches, staff, press, broadcasters and various other hangers-on will have logged between the end of spring training in Ft. Myers and the home opener on April 8 against Detroit (which, by the way, will be preceded by the Red Sox’ second World Series ring ceremony in three years):
· Ft. Myers, FL to Tokyo, Japan via Chicago. Playing two exhibition games against Japanese League teams, followed by two regular season games against the A’s.
· Tokyo to Los Angeles, CA. Playing three exhibition games against the Dodgers (two in Dodger Stadium, one in the LA Coliseum).
· LA to Oakland. Playing two more regular season games against the A’s.
· Oakland to Toronto. Three games against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.
· Toronto to Boston to host the Tigers and Yankees (!) at Fenway
Add it up. That’s a grand total of 16,105 air miles. It’s also the equivalent of flying more than halfway around the planet.

But wait! There’s more. Between the home opener on April 8 and Saturday, April 27, the Red Sox schedule looks like this:
· Three games at home against Detroit
· Two games at home against the Yankees
· Fly to Cleveland. Two games vs. the Indians at Jacobs Field.
· Fly to New York. Two games at Yankee Stadium.
· Back home. A four game Patriot’s Day weekend series with the Rangers (don’t forget to factor in an 11am start for that Monday game).
· Stay home to host Vlad Guerrero and the Angels for three games.
· Fly to Tampa Bay for a 3 game weekend series with the Rays.

That whole stretch takes place without a single day off, weather permitting. After a whirlwind trip of a little over 16,000 miles (and I have no idea how many time zones) starting in Florida, the Red Sox will play 19 consecutive games in four cities. Then they finally get a day off on April 28 before the Jays come to Fenway to end April and start the month of May.

If the Red Sox finish the month of April over .500, I’ll be stunned.

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