In the winter, few things can warm you better than the thought of the crack of the bat from Spring Training. After the blur of the holidays, though, January can seem to grind to a standstill. Fortunately, we still have the Patriots while we watch the calendar inch closer to February 13, when Red Sox pitchers and catchers are required to be in Spring Training camp.
Spring Schedule Set
Last week, Major League Baseball announced the official 2017 exhibition schedule, which begins with the Diamondbacks, now managed by former Red Sox bench coach Torey Lovullo, hosting Grand Canyon University at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale, Arizona on February 22.
The Red Sox’ first game of the spring will come facing the Northeastern University Huskies on Thursday, February 23 at 1:05 ET followed by a match up against the Mets the next day at the same time. The Sox full exhibition schedule runs through March 30.
The official season starts April 3, with ESPN providing national coverage of seven games over that Sunday and Monday. The big Sunday night telecast features the Cubs at the Cardinals.
Once again, the Sox will open their season facing a National League opponent. This year it will be the Pirates, but at home at Fenway on Monday April 4. You can download a printable version of the Red Sox regular season schedule here.
Here are more notes of interest from the past week for Red Sox fans:
- David Ortiz is gone and some seat prices may have gone up, but the Red Sox have already sold 1,675,000 tickets for 2017, up 6% from this time last year and at a rate that’s even better than after winning the 2013 World Series. Sure, it could be excitement of newcomer Chris Sale that’s spiked ticket demand but team president Sam Kennedy attributes it to having won the division and to “building on the momentum that we had last year.”
- You needn’t be reminded, but it wasn’t a great first year with the Sox for David Price, who posted the highest ERA in any full season of his career (3.99). But Price says “I came here to win and we’re going to win,” saying he won’t opt out of his contract after 2018. Price also recounted some of the disappointing (my word, not his) jeers that he heard from the stands last season at Fenway.
- The Portland Sea Dogs will remain the Sox’ Double-A affiliate through at least 2020. The two organizations extended their relationship, which began in 2003, with a two-year contract extension. There are 21 Sea Dogs alumni on the Red Sox 40-man roster including Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley, not to mention Dustin Pedroia and Hanley Ramírez, both of whom are members of the Dog’s Hall of Fame.
- Yoan Moncada going from the Red to White Sox for Chris Sale dominated the news from the Winter Meetings last month. Perhaps lost a bit in the transaction was Michael Kopech, an elite Red Sox pitching prospect who really excites Chicago pitching coach Don Cooper. “Not only is he a big, strong son of a gun,” Cooper says of Kopech, but “the stuff out of his hand is really good: life, energy stuff. He’s just untapped talent right now.”
- Sox minor leaguer Tyler Spoon was one of the six latest players to violate the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Spoon, who is currently with the Single-A Greenville Drive of the South Atlantic League, received a 50-game suspension for testing positive for the stimulant Amphetamine.