Fenway Park

Elisabeth Harrison / RIPR

The Boston Red Sox are in the thick of the hunt for a major league playoff spot. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay outlines the different challenges facing the team’s top minor league affiliate, the Pawtucket Red Sox.

Don Borman / RIPR File

  Baseball is back in New England. The Boston Red Sox open their home season this afternoon at Fenway Park and the team hopes to rebound after a last-place finish. Their top minor league club, the Pawtucket Red Sox, face some different challenges this season, says RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay.

The first Providence International Arts Festival, held last weekend, was such a success that Mayor Jorge Elorza is moving ahead with plans for another such celebration next year, said mayoral spokesman David Ortiz.

Thousands thronged a downtown transformed into a giant music stage and pedestrian arts mall last Saturday and Sunday. ``It met our expectations and we’re looking to grow it in the future,’’ said Ortiz.

The weather cooperated both days as the sun washed over downtown. ``We did get lucky,’’ acknowledged Ortiz.

Another day in Providence, another desultory meeting on the plan to move the Pawtucket Red Sox from McCoy Stadium to a new ballpark to be built on the capital city’s downtown waterfront.

Today’s meeting featured Pat O’Conner, president and CEO of Minor League Baseball, who spoke about the finances of minor league stadiums around the nation at a meeting with reporters, labor leaders and a small group of state lawmakers at the offices of the Locke Lord LLC law firm.

The debate over Rhode Island taxpayer support for a new stadium for the PawSox in Providence has started. RIPR Political Analyst Scott MacKay talks about state government’s next move.

Listening to the opening salvos in the Providence stadium debate reminds one of William Faulkner’s dictum about the American South: "The past is never dead. It isn’t even past.’’

RIPR FILE

The Boston Red Sox beat the Washington Nationals 4-9 on Monday in their home opener at Fenway.

  

Before the game, Tiverton resident Lorne Solway, saide he planned to watch from home, with special attention paid to new pitcher Rick Porcello.

“I’d like to see the pitcher do well," Solway said.  "He’s new to the Red Sox and I think he’s going to help the team a lot.”

In Providence, Boston native Emily Cuddy said she’s pumped about the new season.

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Today is “truck day” in Boston. It’s the day all the Red Sox equipment leaves Fenway Park, and heads south to Fort Meyers, Florida for spring training.

Rhode Island Public Radio sports commentator Mike Szostak says after a dismal last season, this year’s truck day might be especially hopeful for fans.  “Well it probably has special significance coming after last year’s last place finish, because it’s the beginning of the turnaround.  So I think that’s another reason why the Red Sox, as well as their fans are eager to see that truck head south to Fort Meyers.”

The Red Sox duck boat parade streamed through the streets of Boston  as fans by the hundreds of thousands lined up to cheer on the improbable dream team that won the 2013 World Series.

While no athletic accomplishment can ever leaven the horror of the Boston Marathon bombings for survivors and the still-suffering families shattered by this cowardly act of terrorism, it was nonetheless grand to see the simple majesty of a gesture made at the road race finish line by Red Sawx players.

The Boston Red Sox, New England’s most beloved sports team, are the world champions of baseball. RIPR political analyst Scott MacKay wonders what we can learn from these men who played a boys game with joy.

Fifty years ago, the French-born cultural historian Jacques Barzun wrote a lyrical paean to baseball. His most noted passage was that ``whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball, the rules, and reality of the game.’’

Tomorrow’s game at Fenway Park is the crucial one in this World Series. It is an advantage for Boston that the Old Towne Team has two games to win one; the Cahdinals backs are against the proverbial wall.