Opening Day often is overrated. It’s awesome, yes, but the first game of the season technically isn’t any more important than a mid-week affair in August.
That being said, the Boston Red Sox’s Opening Day victory over the New York Yankees last season clearly set the tone for the club’s magical World Series run. Perhaps Monday’s season opener against the Baltimore Orioles also will lead to big things, although a lot has changed since April 1, 2013.
“I think this year is a smidge different,” Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. “Last year we wanted to set the tone, and we do want to set the tone again but we know what the tone sounds like. We know the tone.
“I think it’s a positive we have a smidge of a head-start than we did last year. It’s not as much setting the tone as continuing the tone that was set.”
The Red Sox enter 2014 on the heels of a World Series victory and with many of the same pieces in place. As Gomes said, the Red Sox’s efforts are geared more toward continuing their successful ways, unlike last year, when Boston entered the season just months removed from a 69-93 finish in 2012.
“It’s what we needed. But we just got thrown right to the wolves. Red Sox-Yankees rivalry, at their place, not ours, CC [Sabathia], the best of the best, and we fired on all aspects of the game,” Gomes recounted. “We pitched, we ran and we played defense. We set the bar high, so we wanted to continue that. We didn’t want to look back and say, ‘We wish we would play like we did Opening Day.’ I think the main thing is just tempo and energy. It’s just carrying over from last year.”
Game 1 won’t dictate whether the Red Sox repeat in 2014. It’s the first of many battles, though, and Boston sounds ready.