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Gearing up for “Soxtober”

W3ST9485.JPGAs the Red Sox are preparing for their first trip to the postseason since 2009, the organization invited fans to join them for one last-minute tune-up before they kick off the ALDS on Friday. On Wednesday afternoon Fenway’s gates were opened to the public, free of charge, and the beloved ballpark welcomed nearly 4,000 fans to watch the 2013 AL East Champs take some swings, field some grounders, and shag some fly balls as part of a simulated intra-squad game.

“Inviting members of the Red Sox family…to Fenway Park for this opportunity is a small way for us to thank them for their support this season,” Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino said. No tickets were required, the concession stands were opened (Fenway franks were only $3), and there were face painters (specializing in beards) and balloon artists.

The Sox were divided into two teams: the visiting blue team and the home red team. There would be no death stares if you cheered for both teams today. Jake Peavy got the start for the blue, as Clay Buchholz took the ball for the red. Lackey, Breslow, and Doubront, among others of the Sox pitching staff, also got the chance to throw for an inning. Fans even saw some Sandstorm action as Uehara entered the game in the fifth. Saltalamacchia, Lavarnway, and Martinez got their time in behind the plate—Salty even made a special guest appearance at third. Quintin Berry (likely to earn the 25th spot on the roster) flashed the leather, making a tremendous diving catch in right. The blue team’s 1-0 victory highlights the Sox biggest strength: rock solid pitching.

This was great opportunity to see the players in such a casual and informal workout environment. It was a little behind the scenes look at this team: laughing, joking, handing out baseballs and batting gloves to kids. There’s no denying that this 2013 Sox team has a passionate fanbase. In fact, passionate might be a bit of an understatement. A year ago, you couldn’t pay me to go to a Sox game. This year it’s a different story. It’s hard not to love this bearded team, a team reminiscent of the 2004 and 2007 teams. Soxtober, you have been dearly missed.

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