BOSTON (WPRI) — Baseball is back in Boston and Fenway Park was at full capacity for the home opener for the first time in three years.
The sun was shining and excitement was in the air as fans gathered Friday to watch the Red Sox kick off a four-game series against the Minnesota Twins.
The Sox returned home after starting their season 3-3 on the road. The team was coming off two straight wins, but they couldn’t keep the momentum going and lost 8-4.
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One Rhode Islander was there to cheer on the opposing team, but with good reason: he’s the father of Twins manager Rocco Baldelli.
“Rocco — get out there and take the ball from that guy, it’s time! That’s kind of the only thing I can say,” Rocky Baldelli said. “He can’t pick up a bat and he can’t be fielding, so I’ll be waiting for him. I’ll say, ‘it’s time to take this guy out’ to myself. I don’t say anything, but Rocco comes home every year and he finds my notebook where I write notes on everything from every game and he laughs.”
Rocco Baldelli was named the American League manager of the year in 2019. Before he became a coach, the former Bishop Hendricken star spent most of his playing career as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays, but he had a brief stint with the Red Sox in 2009.
12 News also caught up with other Rhode Islanders who made the trip to root on the home team.
“What a wonderful day! Awesome day for opening day,” he said. “I think people are, they’ve just been cooped up so long, they’re ready to go.”
Photos: Red Sox Home Opener (story continues below)
Prior to Friday’s game, there were ceremonies marking One Boston Day and Jackie Robinson Day. Survivors of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing were on hand to announce it was time to “play ball” ahead of the first pitch.
It’s the 111th season at Fenway Park and though it may be the oldest ballpark in the country, fans may have noticed a new modern feel when it came to buying anything inside.
The park has gone cashless, meaning concessions can only be bought from vendors using a credit card, debit card, or smartphone.
For anyone who has only cash, there are kiosks available that allow people to load money onto a temporary card.
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Fans will also notice improvements to the bleachers with an 8,800 square foot concourse named the “Truly Terrace” located behind sections 39 to 43. There will be standing room areas and barstools as well as a bar with food and drinks.
“Making sure there’s something new and different for fans every year,” Red Sox President Sam Kennedy said. “This is one of our most aggressive offseason improvements. To have this type of amenities, with the bathrooms and food offerings and the bar area, I hope will be well received.”
The series with the Twins will continue over the weekend and conclude on Marathon Monday.