It’s been a long four months for Boston Red Sox fans awaiting the return of the 2007 World Series Champions, but the wait is over. Pitchers and catchers have officially reported to Fort Meyers, Florida for the start of the 2008 spring training campaign and sox fans are as ready as ever to ‘ring’ in the new year.
Along with pitchers and catchers, a few members of the field roster reported early to camp to try and get in a few extra days of conditioning and training before the entire roster reports. Most notably was 2007 AL Rookie of the Year, 2B Dustin Pedroia. Pedroia got off to a very cold start last year when he hit only .192 in April, but from May until the end of the World Series he was a new man, and finished the season with a .317 batting average.
“I don’t think about that, man,” Pedroia said on redsox.com. “That’s just something that sportswriters voted on. I don’t think I was the best rookie. I didn’t really think about it. The only thing I knew is I got an opportunity to play in the World Series and we won. That’s what our goal was all year. The whole Rookie of the Year thing, I’m not really concerned about it. I actually, I might put a little holster on it and hold up my garage door and put it down there.”
Obviously Pedroia wont be using his award as a garage door stop, but this just goes to show that his head is exactly where its supposed to be. Not caught up in the moment of a great year, but focused on the fact that it’s a new season and its time to go back to work, hard hats only in this job site.
Some more encouraging news for Red Sox nation involved a few of the younger arms that we will be seeing a lot of this year. RHP Clay Bucholtz reported to camp having gained over 10 lbs of muscle mass to help strengthen his upper body. With the recent shoulder injury RHP Curt Schilling reported, Bucholtz is expected to have a shot to win the 5th spot in the starting rotation based on his performances in spring training. RHP Manny Delcarmen also reported to camp looking great, having lost 16 lbs since the winter. With the help of a personal trainer, he hit the gym routinely and the Sox are just as happy with the results as he is.
“He looks so good,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said on redsox.com. “This is a kid who last year we kind of pounded on him in the winter, and he showed up a little chunkier maybe than we would have hoped, and he goes to Triple-A and does a great job from there. Now, all of sudden, he gets some responsibility in the Major Leagues and he takes it and runs with it.”
Everything is beginning to shape up for the World Series Champions and Sox fans have every right to be excited for what’s ahead.
Some predictions for this year: look for 100+ wins from the team, another AL East Championship, the MLB consecutive sell-out streak record to be broken at Fenway Park, two legitimate Cy-Young candidates in Dice-K and Beckett, a HR title by David Ortiz, and the first repeat champions in baseball since the Yankees three-peat from 1998 to 2000.
Yea, yea, yea, I know what you’re thinking and so what if it’s only spring training! The Red Sox are the team to beat this year, and I’m sticking to it.
2008 Boston Red Sox tickets are now on sale for all Spring Training and regular season games.