Baseball officially returns to Boston Friday, with Fenway Park expected to be packed for a Home Opener that will look much different than the last two seasons.
The Red Sox will take on the Minnesota Twins, with the first pitch at 2:10 p.m. The home opener was initially slated to be held on March 31, but was rescheduled. The new date happens to fall on the 75th anniversary of Jackie Robinson Day.
The weather Friday is shaping up to be the best for a home opener in years. In the past, Fenway Park has seen everything from snow to rain to frigid temperatures. This time around, temperatures will be in the 60s, with sunshine and a light breeze out to right field.
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This home opener will be much different than two previous seasons. In 2020, they played ball, but no fans were in the stands as they started the season in late July. In 2021, there were limited fans wearing masks. Friday is expected to be a sellout, with no COVID restrictions whatsoever.
The Red Sox finished their season-opening road trip with two straight wins. And after the pandemic prompted two years like no other, fans are ready to see baseball and the Fenway Park neighborhood back to its old glory. For some, going to a Red Sox game is a family tradition.
Boston resident Perfecto Ayala and his son have spent 15 years coming to opening day at Fenway together. Sharing those memories with his son has provided some important bonding time.
"It's been a real great experience," Ayala said.
After a rocky two years of the COVID pandemic, he said this year feels extra special.
"I’ve been waiting for this for a long time," Ayala said.
More on the Home Opener at Fenway Park
It’s an experience Chris Powell and his son, Aaron, will share for the first time Friday.
“It’s incredible. You get tears in your eyes walking into the stadium," Powell said. "Just amazing.”
The family is from South Carolina, but their love for the Red Sox goes back generations.
"My grandfather came back from the war, saw Ted Williams in ’46, named my dad Ted and we grew up Red Sox fans ever since," Chris Powell said.
“My dad said, 'You've gotta be a Boston fan,' so I’ve been following in my dad’s footsteps for a long time," Aaron Powell said.
Fenway businesses are equally excited for returning fans. With the return of the Red Sox to Fenway Park comes an expected boost to restaurants, bars and other businesses in the area.