Some contests, though, will be extra special.
By signing Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon, the Tampa Bay Rays hit back in the increasingly hostile rivalry between the AL East underdogs and the Red Sox. Theo Epstein had raided Tampa for Crawford and Dan Wheeler already this offseason, but the Rays have struck back — making Johnny's and Manny's Fenway homecomings extra-interesting.
While it may not be a grudge match like when Tampa travels north, the Chicago Cubs' trip to Fenway will be special for another reason — it's never before happened in the regular season. It's tough to believe that the North Siders haven't once been to Boston since the Red Sox came to be in 1908, but they really haven't — with the exception of the 1918 World Series. The Sox have gone to Wrigley for three games in an interleague series, but the Cubs rotated out of the Sox's NL Central set of matchups during the year that the hypothetical return leg would have occurred. Finally, the current holders of the "Most Tortured" crown play at Fenway.
There is, of course, one matchup that is permanently at the top of the list. The Red Sox won the offseason against the Yankees, but they'll have to back it up during New York's nine trips to Fenway this coming season. With the new lineup that the Red Sox will be fielding, the team will have a great chance of bludgeoning their rivals. Who wouldn't want to see that in person?