It all started Friday night; 12 players from last season’s Salem Red Sox roster received their massive rings for their championship title won back in 2013. Along with the weather and atmosphere within the blue seats, there was a natural sense of gratitude created for nearly everything that happened in the park…except for the home team coming up just short of their seventh win in eight games.
Despite the 7-5 loss on Friday, the game still ended with a cherry on top for the 5,605 Sox fans in attendance. With a late surge in the ninth, after posting six consecutive zeros to the scoreboard, the Salem hitters were able to stir up the crowd, but it was the fireworks that were the true closer for the night, lighting up the mountains around the ballpark as the largest crowd to date headed for the gates.
On Saturday (one of the most memorable days of my life) there was a visit from the real World Series trophy won by the 2013 Boston Red Sox. It was also game two of four against the Myrtle Beach Pelicans for Salem and with the trophy on display; I couldn’t help but wonder what the minor leaguers thought of the grand prize for the major league guys.
“Everyone playing here has dreamed about winning the World Series and the Red Sox are a great organization to do it with, I think its everyone’s dream here,” said Matt Gedman. “Seeing the actual trophy be here today, I think for some guys it was really like a hey…you might think you’re far away from that opportunity but it could be right around the corner.”
(If you missed the trophy, you may not ever have your chance at it again…just sayin'. Either way, the piece of sports history had its own plane ticket! Yes, plane ticket…oh, and it was a window seat too.)
But, the Sox weren’t able to get out to their typical hot start that they had been using to win over the past eight games on Saturday, which led to a second loss to Myrtle Beach by a score of 3-0.
In fact, it was the Pelicans who stole the momentum from the get-go, scoring three early runs while sitting back on their pitching prospects for the remainder of the game to secure the win.
Saturday was more for the fans, though! With the World Series trophy on display for fan photos and “nine innings of winning” presented by The Roanoke Times, it was like the fans couldn’t lose no matter what.
Even the Sox players could sense the fan fun. Current first basemen and designated hitter, Matt Gedman (who also played in Salem during 2013) commented on the consistency of the home crowd and their loyalty to the team.
“This is awesome,” said Gedman. “This is a 140-game schedule so you’ll have days where you show up and are dragging and you try to do something to get yourself ready, but when you go out there and there’s 5,000 people cheering, they paid to watch us play, and with that many people, it gives you extra adrenaline and excitement to play the game.”
Making the trip with Boston’s beloved hardware (The Commissioner’s Trophy) were two members of the Boston offices and to say the line was long for fans to see the trophy would be a complete understatement. To no surprise though, with the amount of history it holds (created in 1967) and the rare access, it undoubtedly draws a line worth waiting in.
And so does free stuff! But forget the lines this time…free tickets, free pizza, free T-shirts, free Kroger cards, free Mac and Bobs cards, all conveniently came to the service of those extra enthused fans sitting in the blue seats!
To put it simple, it pays to go cheer on the Sox!
So keep that in mind as the Sox attempt to draw even with the Pelicans over the next two days (Sunday & Monday). The first pitch will be at 4:05 p.m. on Sunday and with an 11 a.m. first pitch on Monday, brunch and baseball never sounded so good to begin a work week!