BOSTON--The placards distributed outside Gate A of Fenway Park yesterday by the local sports radio station said it all: The Boys are Back.
The 1918 World Series Champion Boston Red Sox made their home season debut yesterday, toying with the Minnesota Twins for nine innings en route to a 13-4 victory on the 100th Opening Day at Fenway Park.
Forget the fact that the game was already won after the second inning. Never mind that the sky was grayer than the Yankees' aging roster, or that the air was colder than the reception received by Roger Clemens the last time he pitched in Boston.
For most of those in attendance yesterday, all that mattered was that baseball had at last returned to the Hub. The fact that the Hometown Heroes actually ended up winning yesterday's home opener was merely the icing on the cake.
For Red Sox nation, Opening Day traditionally marks the resumption of a continuous cycle of skepticism, excitement and imminent disappointment. Late September has constantly tested the mettle of Boston fans, and most every winter has been one of discontent.
Throughout most of the twentieth century, even amateur odds-makers knew that in Boston, there were at least two wagers that you simply did not make--in politics, you never betted on a Kennedy to lose, and in baseball, you never betted on the Red Sox to win.
But with every April springs new hope, and this year, it may actually be justified.
For the first time in eons, the Red Sox have actually been predicted to do well by people who live outside the Greater Boston area. Some brazen souls, including the editors of Sports Illustrated, have gone so far as to predict a World Series championship is in store for the Sox squad.
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