PAWTUCKET â€” It had all the pageantry of Opening Day, from the introduction to the teams to Boston bullpen cop Steve Horgan tossing out the ceremonial pitch to the unfurling of an American flag in center field and a cannon salute that sounded off at the conclusion of the national anthem.
PAWTUCKET â€” If eight PawSox players show up late to McCoy Stadium this afternoon, donâ€™t fret. Their potential tardiness has already been taken under advisement.
â€śIt will be okay,â€ť smiled manager Kevin Boles. â€śOpportunities like this donâ€™t come around too often, so youâ€™ve got to take advantage of them.â€ť
PAWTUCKET â€“ The 2014 season for the PawSox is upon us, and with it brings the promise of intrigue and discovery. Who will produce enough to get summoned to Boston? The answers will start to reveal themselves beginning with Thursdayâ€™s season and home opener against Lehigh Valley.
Until the answers begin to trickle in, here are five items one scribe plans to closely monitor in the early going:
PAWTUCKET -- A year after reaching the Governorsâ€™ Cup finals, the Pawtucket Red Sox are looking to come back even stronger with a veteran Triple-A squad that will boast more than just a ring of familiarity.
Eight players on the PawSox opening day roster will be at Fenway Park the following afternoon to receive the World Series rings they earned as contributors to last yearâ€™s champion Boston Red Sox. Among the â€śElite Eightâ€ť is Pawtucketâ€™s opening day starter, Allen Webster.
PAWTUCKET â€“ â€śChampions Riseâ€ť is once again en vogue at McCoy Stadium. This time, though, the popular slogan is not directly paying homage to the buildingâ€™s primary tenants.
Last year, â€śChampions Riseâ€ť was synonymous with the Pawtucket Red Sox and the franchiseâ€™s 2012 Governorsâ€™ Cup title. As patrons passed through the main entrance at McCoy, they were greeted by a colossal banner that proved a fitting salute to a fitting champion.
PAWTUCKET â€“ As Kevin Boles discovered this spring, the day-to-day duties and responsibilities of managing the Pawtucket Red Sox will come in good time.
Reached over the weekend from Fort Myers, Boles noted that he and PawSox coach Bruce Crabbe remained with the parent club until the near completion of Grapefruit League play. Keeping the Triple-A manager around the big-league atmosphere is a fairly common practice for the Red Sox, as Boles recalled that his PawSox predecessor, Gary DiSarcina, reported to the minors just as camp was set to conclude.
As always before each practice session, head coach Lisa Bessette addressed her Pawtucket Pacers on Tuesday night, detailing what four groups of athletes would be doing for the next 75 minutes to prepare for the upcoming Special Olympics Rhode Island's Northern Area Games, those slated for Saturday, May 3 at Bryant University.
She stood in the middle of the Francis J. Varieur Elementary School's cafeteria/gymnasium, laying down the groundwork not only for that competition but also the SORI's State Games at the University of Rhode Island beginning May 30.