Somewhere along the line, truly obsessed, baseball-hungry Red Sox fans--the type mocked as masochists prior to the Great Awakening of 2004--started marking the start of a new season at the earliest possible point: the departure of the equipment truck from Fenway Park, bound for Florida and the Grapefruit League.
Today, what started as a small moment has blown up, like everything else Red Sox, into a spectacle that makes it feel more like a real milestone. For example, it has a name now. Truck Day. And according to the Globe's Extra Bases blog, this year there'll even be a ceremony of sorts, as Johnny Pesky will officially start the engine of the truck before it departs.
As this lionization of an 18-wheeler continues, I can't help but wonder how the guys who work for the freight company feel about having to wait for a nonagenarian to turn the keys before they can get on their way. I'm sure someone will use the word 'ridiculous' at least once today.
But you know, it's a ritual, and a benign one at that. The more fervently we focus on the Red Sox, the more involved, in-depth and even strange we get about soaking in every detail, the more we are escaping a wider world that, in this particular year, grows crueler by the day. The more we obsess over a truck, the more we are choosing to embrace instead "the spring, when everything is new again."