There were cheers, boos, chants, reactions to plays and one fan even tried starting the wave.
Most importantly, the Red Sox could look up and see people sitting in the seats at Fenway Park.
For the first time since September 29, 2019, fans were allowed in the ballpark on Friday as the Red Sox opened their 2021 season against the Orioles on Friday at Fenway Park. Though there wasn’t a lot for them to cheer about in a 3-0 loss, it was certainly a welcomed sight after a 2020 season played in empty ballparks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Awesome,” Red Sox pitcher Nathan Eovaldi said about having fans back. “Having our fans out there, they’re the best out there. Having them out there supporting us throughout the entire game, it was, given the cold weather and everything like that, the national anthem, the flyover, all of it was just unbelievable. Perfect.”
Though it was 37 degrees for first pitch, a crowd of 4,452 made their way through Fenway’s gates, as the ballpark is allowed to hold fans at 12% capacity to start the season. Most of that number made it in for pregame ceremonies, where Alex Cora was given the loudest ovation as he returns in his second chance as Red Sox manager.
“It was good,” Cora said. “I know how fans feel. I’ve been saying all along, some of them agree with it, others don’t. I just want those that don’t to give me a chance. Get a second chance to manage the Red Sox, but it was good to look up and see the boys and Angelica and Camila. That meant a lot.”
Kiké Hernández was looking forward to playing at Fenway for the first time as a member of the Red Sox, and he was not disappointed despite the limited crowd. Though he played in front of fans with the Dodgers during their World Series run last season, he certainly wouldn’t want it any other way.
“It was nice,” Hernández said. “I obviously didn’t play here last year, but games were pretty boring last year. No energy. I don’t think sports are meant to be played in front of no fans, and it was nice to have fans here tonight.”
E-Rod makes progressEduardo Rodriguez on Friday pitched four innings in a simulated game in Worcester as he works his way back from a dead arm, and early reports were encouraging. The hope is for him to return when he’s eligible to come off the injured list late next week.
“He felt great on the mound I just talked to (assistant athletic trainer) Brandon (Henry), everything went fine,” Cora said. “Obviously we’ll wait for tomorrow when he comes in and go through all the testing and all that and the hope is for him to be with us, like I said, sooner rather than later.” ...
Dustin Pedroia made an appearance on the video board during pregame ceremonies as the former Red Sox second baseman and his three sons delivered the traditional “Play ball!” message.