Get ready, Red Sox fans. It’s been awhile.
For the first time since the 2013 World Series, there will be meaningful baseball played at Fenway Park in the fall. This week’s games against the Orioles and Yankees will be the most important games the team has played at home since the Red Sox beat the Cardinals in the 2013 World Series.
Beginning Monday, the Red Sox will play host to the Orioles for three games and then the Yankees for four games, which will go a long way toward the Red Sox’ playoff chances. Of the Red Sox’ final 20 games, just 10 are at home. This week will be crucial as the Red Sox need to take advantage of playing at home and not depend on winning on the road.
Over the weekend, the Red Sox played in their first real game with a playoff atmosphere in Toronto as the Blue Jays averaged almost 45,000 fans over the three game series. Although there won’t be as many fans at Fenway Park this coming week, the atmosphere should be more of the same.
And what a good feeling it is.
There is something to be said for meaningful baseball in September and October. In no other sport can every little decision the manager/coach makes be questioned and that is what makes meaningful baseball so late in the year so great.
Not only is the team in a pennant race, it’s also the end to David Ortiz’s career, which makes it even more exciting. Going into play Sunday, Ortiz is batting .316 with 31 homers and 107 RBI. He also has a league-leading 45 doubles, as well as a AL-best .619 slugging percentage. Not many people can say they ended their careers with a season like Ortiz is having and better yet, it’s in the middle of a playoff push.
Perhaps no one in Boston sports, besides maybe Tom Brady, has the fans behind him like Ortiz has this season. Even when the designated hitter runs wind sprints before the game, the crowd gives him a tremendous ovation. And for good reason. Ortiz is one of the greatest players to ever play the game and he’s ending his career in style, looking nothing like a player that will turn 41 years old in November.
If you can, get out to Fenway Park this week. Ortiz’s final home games, in the midst of a pennant race — what more can you ask for?