In Boston, nobody cares about whether or not the groundhog sees its shadow come Feb. 2. Instead, the coming of spring announces itself on 18 wheels of a JetBlue-sponsored big rig on Red Sox Truck Day.
Amidst below-freezing temperatures on early Tuesday morning, Red Sox fans came out to Fenway in full force to send their team—or rather their team's equipment—off to spring training in sunny Fort Myers.
The truck was stocked full of everything from bats, balls (20,400 to be exact) and gloves to more serious items like 20 cases of bubble gum and 60 cases of sunflower seeds.
But it's about so much more than a truck.
Just like singing "Sweet Caroline" in the bottom of the eighth or signing Pesky's Pole, Truck Day has grown into its own tradition unique to Red Sox Nation, now 15 years strong.
It marks the unofficial kickoff of spring training, but this year in particular, also a fresh start. The horrendous 2012 performance of the Red Sox didn't deter fans from coming out for the first step of the 2013 season. Truck Day served as the beginning of a hopeful turning point led by new manager John Farrell.
Other clubs have followed Boston's lead with their own versions of Truck Day, but none can seem to compete with the notoriety for fan support—the kind unfazed by the number 20 on their thermostat—as the Red Sox.
Despite what Boston's biggest critics say, no fair weather or bandwagon fan would do that.
Red Sox president/CEO Larry Lucchino captured the magic of Truck Day with this statement reported from RedSox.com.
It's just a distinctive feature of Boston Red Sox baseball. I've been in three cities, and nowhere is there anything that compares to Truck Day here in Boston. It's a very positive sign. It's a harbinger of spring.
I am amazed on a Tuesday afternoon when it's cold and overcast that people are out here with big smiles on their faces. There's one woman who brings cookies every year, passes 'em out to the fans. It's just a nice positive thing, and it's a testimony to the passion, deep unabiding passion the Red Sox fans have.
Nobody likes moving day. But in Boston, you can expect that the Fenway Faithful would even volunteer to do all the heavy lifting if given the chance.