You know the feeling, it’s just some unsuspecting Tuesday when you get the card in the mail. It’s a “Save the Date” for an upcoming wedding. You go to the calendar and cross out a Saturday, knowing all too well that one is shot. (No, that’s not how I felt about your wedding, I was actually really excited for yours.) Today, I’m bringing you a much better type of Save the Date because these are the days that you need to circle and set aside on your 2013 calendar for the Red Sox.
March 31 — On the last day of this month the final cuts are due to settle the 25 man roster for the beginning of the season. Who starts the year out in Boston? Ryan Sweeney and Mike Carp? How does the bullpen fill out? Does Daniel Nava’s remaining option seal his early season trip to Pawtucket? There are still a lot of roster questions to be settled and many of them will be answered before April.
April 1 — If you even want to pretend to be a baseball fan you need to have Opening Day circled on your calendar, but any time the season kicks off against the Evil Empire (TM) it feels like the stakes are even higher. Jon Lester vs. CC Sabathia, in a 1:05pm start from the Bronx. I’m already counting the days! (It’s 25, by the way.)
April 14 –Two weeks into the season Curt Schilling will say something stupid to further alienate himself from a fan base that would have treated him like a god if he had two brain cells to rub together.
April 25 — A brand new American League rivalry kicks off as the Astros travel to Fenway. Don’t miss your chance to see Houston’s star-studded squad, featuring such household names as Bud Norris, Justin Maxwell, and Tyler Greene. Astros Baseball: Catch the Excitement!
May 23 — Maybe I’m a loyal sap, but I will be pulling for the Indians this season, with the exception of when they face the Red Sox, of course. This date in late May sees Terry Francona bring his new team to Fenway for the first time. It’s more than a safe bet that the reception will be universally positive. Francona was appreciated by the fans during his tenure, but even more so after a year of the notorious Bobby V.
May 7 — The aforementioned Robert John Valentine will throw the Sacred Heart University Men’s Lacrosse Coach, Tom Mariano, under the bus claiming that “he is not as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason.” Men’s Basketball Coach, Ted Bike, will take exception to the comment and let Bobby know that’s “not really how we go about our stuff around Fairfield.”
June 6 — The Red Sox hold the #7 pick in the 2013 MLB First Year Player Draft, the highest they’ve been since the #7 slot in 1993 netted them my boy Trot Nixon. Will the Sox go with a highly-touted high-ceiling high school prospect or a more polished, ready-to-contribute college player?
June 7-9 — Purely as a baseball fan, the Washington Nationals coming to Fenway last June 8th-10th was extremely entertaining. We got to see Bryce Harper up close, and experience dominant pitching performances from Gio Gonzalez and Stephen Strasburg. I never enjoy it when Boston gets swept, but the young talent on the field that weekend was impressive, even if most of it was wearing the visitors’ uniform. That same weekend this year brings the Los Angeles Angels to town. You could be bouncing your grandchildren on your knee sometime telling them about how you saw Albert Pujols and Mike Trout play live and in person, and you’ve got the chance to check both players off your baseball bucket list in one weekend.
July 10 — Curt Schilling continues to be naively under the impression that anyone cares about his “insight” or opinions.
July 19 — Somehow the Yankees don’t make their first trip to Fenway this year until right after the All Star Break. That means you won’t get to see the newly clean shave Kevin Youkilis in his Benedict Arnold pinstripes until mid-July. Let’s be honest, Kevin, you should have gone to Cleveland. No, not just because of loyalty, or always being a Red Sox player in our hearts and yours, but because you look absolutely awful without facial hair. The best thing for Kevin about returning to Boston though is that there will be no way at all to tell if the Fenway Faithful are yelling “Boooo” or “Yoooouuuuk!”
July 31 — Will Cherington and be a buyer or seller at this year’s deadline? This team is built to contend, but it’s also built to sell for spare parts if that’s what the standings dictate in late July. One year players like Joel Hanrahan, Stephen Drew and Mike Napoli could be hot targets for teams looking for help down the stretch. If the Sox are definitively out of the race would they move players like Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, or Ryan Dempster to give the next wave of starting rotation talent a few months to learn the ropes in the big leagues?
August 6 — Schilling opens his mouth again. Stupid things come out. Everyone is annoyed, but no one is surprised.
August 23-25 — Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, and Carl Crawford pull on their Dodgers’ home whites to face their old club for the first time. (This of course is making the huge assumption that Carl Crawford is actually healthy enough to dress himself and wear a uniform at this point.) There’s a 3/5 chance that we see Josh Beckett standing on the mound as the opposing starting pitcher in this series. If those 60% odds hit, that game will be must-see-TV for Red Sox Nation.
September 1 — The September 1st expansion to 40 man rosters could possibly signify the Boston arrival of the Red Sox highly touted pair of prospects Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley. Depending on the health of the rotation during the season we could also see the initial arrival of pitching prospects like Allen Webster, Matt Barnes, and Henry Owens.
September 27-29 — The thought of closing the season out with a series in Baltimore immediately causes me start breaking out in a cold sweat as I picture a lackadaisical Carl Crawford semi-sliding for a fly ball with the season on the line. You remember it, it was enough of a slide to make sure that he had no chance of throwing the runner out at home, but not enough of an effort to actually stand a chance at catching the ball. Thanks for the memories, Carl! Will this year’s final series have as much on the line as that one did in 2011? Or will it be a time to see some of the aforementioned future prospects on the big stage as another season wraps up without a playoff appearance?
What about you — what days have you circled on the Red Sox 2013 Calendar that I missed?