The Red Sox have already played a couple of games this spring, but unless you were down in Florida to catch the college doubleheader in person, you had to take Joe Castiglione's word for it. Thursday night, those of us stuck elsewhere will get our first look at the new team as they take on the Minnesota Twins in the first televised game of the year.
Let's get the details out of the way:
Who: Red Sox vs. Twins (Game 1 of the all-important Mayor's Cup wooo)
Where: Hammond Stadium, Fort Myers
When: 7:05 p.m.
Uh...How (do I watch it, I guess?) : MLB Network
(NESN's first game, for those without the MLB Network, will come on Sunday against the Mets)
Generally speaking, road games in spring training are nothing to write home about. The veteran starters are not accustomed to long bus rides to opposing team's parks, much less repeating the process to return home the very same night. And while the Grapefruit League takes place within the borders of Florida, there can be an awful lot of ground to cover between any two teams.
The good news for those more interested in seeing Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval in their new uniform than the backups and kids is that the Minnesota Twins are all of 10 minutes away, which seems like a pretty reasonable commute. We'll also be guaranteed at least the presence of Joe Kelly, who gets the start against the Twins' Kyle Gibson.
[Update] One of two isn't bad. Plus Pedroia, Xander, Napoli, and Vazquez to boot:
@OverTheMonster The starting infield and catcher will go. The outfield will be the B-team.— Brian MacPherson (@brianmacp) March 5, 2015
Spring training has a tendency to wear thin awfully quick, and with a good four weeks left between now and Opening Day we're certainly in for quite the slog. But that clock doesn't really start ticking, in my mind, until we've had more than just a radio broadcast of a game against college kids to give us our first taste of baseball. It might all be downhill from here, but at least we start from atop a good five months of anticipation.