Jackie Bradley makes a catch last season. Photo
Courtesy of GettyImages.com
If you have been missing Red Sox baseball since their dreadful season ended in 2015, then you should be excited for next weekend's Winter Weekend over at Foxwoods Gaming Resort in Connecticut. The three day event will include an Executive's Town Hall Friday night, a meet and greet and different panel discussions from former and current players on Saturday, and a breakfast with Wally and kid's baseball clinic on Sunday. While the three day event won't help you erase the joke of a season Boston put us through last year, but it will help us turn the page and get ready for the newly led Dave Dombrowski-era 2016 Red Sox. And that's not the only thing Red Sox players will have been involved with this offseason.
The Red Sox held a Christmas at Fenway event last month to help them sell tickets, but they also opened their doors to Fenway Park and let fans take in the stadium and meet players like Craig Kimbrel and Noe Ramirez. I've been to the event 3 out of the past 4 years, and it really helps bridge the gap from September-April. I feel like an addict getting their "fix" when I walk into Fenway, and seeing players around makes me feel like the time to begin 2016 is getting closer.
Tim Wakefield is retired, but as a first year official spokesman of Farmington Savings Bank, he made a couple of appearances in West Springfield, MA and East Longmeadow, MA and met fans and took photos with everyone who stopped by. I stopped by both events, and the East Longmeadow line was over 200 people deep. One fan said " I have been waiting to meet Tim my whole life, and nothing good happens in this part of the state, so I wouldn't miss this for the world." Fans were also able to pick up a Wakefield bobblehead if they opened a bank account. I used my $5 to open an account and now am the proud owner of a 200 win Red Sox knuckleball bobblehead.
Jackie Bradley, Jr was in Pawtucket, RI on January 15 and 16 for the Daylight Savings and Moonlight Madness events, both times signing anything you gave him and taking pictures with all the fans. I arrived on Saturday afternoon and took pictures with the 3 World Series trophies, walked around McCoy Stadium, snacked on the free hotdogs, hot chocolate and cookies and smiled with my family for a photo opportunity with one of MLB's best defensive outfielders. Now if only his offense could click this Summer, Boston will have the best outfield in baseball. He already is a fan favorite, and did everything he could to keep everyone happy over the weekend, even going outside to play catch with fans after the event.
Also on Friday, Blake Swihart headlined the Portland Seadogs Hot Stove dinner in Portland, ME. I am sure he will start the season as the starting catcher, but I think Christian Vazquez is so good, Swihart will get dropped back to the minors once Vazquez returns mid-season from injury.
While all the off-season events helped the fans get closer to their favorite Red Sox players, you can not go wrong with Winter Weekend. Over 40 current and former players, including Dustin Pedroia, Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens and Xander Bogaerts will be waiting to say hello and spend their weekend with 10,000 of their closest "friends".... of Red Sox Nation of course. For more information, check Winter Weekend' Site, or feel free to tweet me a question about the event. I blogged about it last year and can't wait to attend this season.