Monday, February 29, 2016 – JetBlue Park, Ft. Myers
Game 1 – Red Sox 6, Boston College Eagles 0
On Monday the Red Sox started off the 2016 season with their first two officially unofficial games against Boston College and Northeastern University. We went early and walked around to the practice fields out back. Minor league camp has just started, so three of the fields had kids from the low minors taking batting practice. At the other end of the complex, the major league pitchers were out running. We spotted 21-year-old outfielder Andrew Benintendi, who was the Sox’ first round pick in last year’s draft, and the 7th pick overall. He made it as high as Single A Greenville last year and is projected to move up to High A this year. He was nice enough to sign autographs and pose for pictures after finishing up practice.
Then it was time for some real live baseball, even if it was a pair of 7-inning contests against college teams. The real starting position players were all in the lineup, and it was absolutely beautiful baseball weather.
The big blow in the first game was Mookie Betts’s towering homer over the Green Monster in the fourth. Hanley Ramirez had two hits, and Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts, and Blake Swihart each had one. Jackie Bradley Jr. walked twice. The subs tacked on three more runs on two sac flies and a bases-loaded walk, and the Sox won the first game 6-0.
Game 2 – Red Sox 8, Northeastern Huskies 3
The second game started 40 minutes after the first game ended. Brock Holt and Travis Shaw were the only two in the lineup who will open the season in the majors, and they figured into several of the early runs. Brockstar walked and scored in the first and hit a sacrifice fly in the third. Shaw had a single and a double, both of which drove in a run.
The Red Sox survived a sixth-inning rally by Northeastern off Danny Rosenbaum and hung on to win 8-3. Final tally for the day: I got to witness 12 pitchers, 30 position players, 2 wins, and the end of the long off-season. Not bad for one day!