02/09/08 11:35 AM ET
Sox's truck heads to camp
Equipment departs on 1,400-mile journey to Spring Training
By Mike Petraglia / MLB.com
Nearly 100 fans turned out on Yawkey Way for the annual rite of sending off the equipment truck on its journey to Fort Myers, Fla., getting a glimpse of the departure that made many feel much warmer on the cold morning.
Just after 10 a.m. ET, the truck left Yawkey Way with a banner reminding everyone with a view that "The Boston Red Sox are heading to Spring Training."
"Why the heck not?" replied Red Sox super fan Kelly O'Connor of Arlington, Mass., when asked why she came out with her camera on a chilly morning. "Have a nice day, stand here in the cold and look at palm trees on the truck and think, 'I can't wait till this starts, I can't wait till this starts.'"
O'Connor, who is an avid photographer, brought her mascot, "Steve the Ferret," to pose with the truck.
"We're lucky enough to be able to do it, we're lucky enough to be in a city where people are this passionate and a little bit crazy," O'Connor added.
This is also the day that Al Hartz of Milford, Mass., becomes one of the most important people in Red Sox Nation. As the driver, he has the responsibility of making sure the vehicle and its precious cargo gets to the club's Spring Training complex on Edison Avenue in one piece.
"I'm going to take very good care of this stuff, I always do," said Hartz, who has fulfilled this duty since 1998 for New England Household, the official movers of the Red Sox.
"The season doesn't start till I show up, or at least the truck shows up, right?" Hartz said with a smile. "First sign of spring, I guess. Baseball starts soon."
For obvious reasons, the banner that adorned the truck at the start is removed once the ceremonial route through the city is completed.
"The banners are gone when I leave Boston," Hartz said. "It's just another moving truck."
When the truck arrives sometime Monday in Fort Myers, there will be more than just bats, balls and baseball equipment in tow.
"All the uniforms, mouthwash, everything for the bathrooms, exercise equipment, lots of luggage," Hartz added. "On the way back, we have all the players' stuff, so we end up with two trucks on the way back."
Mike Petraglia is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.