The skies were gray, but the air was electric as thousands of fans converged on Fenway Park for Red Sox Opening Day.
“It’s unbelievable to be here in Boston,” said Danvers resident Brian Woods. He and his wife Bonnie bought their tickets as soon as the Patriots won the Super Bowl and though he’s been a lifelong Red Sox fan, today was his first Opening Day.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, it’s just awesome,” he added.
Though most were concerned with Boston’s now 3-9 record this season, fans haven’t given up on the team, optimistic that a comeback is just around the corner.
“It feels great, it’s my dream to be here,” said 14-year-old Matthew Becker from New Hampshire. “I’m confident they can get going, get on a winning streak to get back in the race.”
“It’s a long season still, there’s nothing to panic over yet,” said Don Roy from Andover, after the 7-5 loss to the Blue Jays. “They were playing in 40-degree weather and there is still a hangover from last year’s win.”
Many fans are still riding the wave from the Sox’s World Series win last October, excited to welcome their boys back home. Vermont resident Bob Albert remembered a time when the Sox hadn’t won a championship, which made the recent decade so much better.
“I have been a fan since 1975, I would watch them with my grandfather when I was 10,” Albert said. “So these championships in my mind are for him because he never got to see it.”
For Rhode Island couple Jim and Danise Davis, win or lose, this game holds a special place in their hearts. Forty-three years ago, the couple took their honeymoon at Fenway — attending a Saturday doubleheader, then a third game on Sunday — and have been to every Opening Day since.
“It is always exciting. It’s more money now but no less exciting,” said Danise Davis. “It still feels like it’s the first time, there is so much history and tradition and memories here for us.”
And being a Sox fan isn’t just a pastime, it’s a way of life, as season ticket holders Jim and Maureen Betts know. They told the Herald they are naming their new Glen of Imaal Terrier puppy “Mookie” to match their last name and mirror one of their favorite players, outfielder Mookie Betts.
“We get our puppy (Wednesday) so we will have him home just after we get to see Mookie play,” Maureen said.