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Red Sox fans out in droves as ST truck departs

Boston-area faithful relish in city's sports accomplishments, look ahead to 2019 season
MLB.com @IanMBrowne

BOSTON -- What a time to be a Boston sports fan.

The day after the Patriots won another Super Bowl -- their sixth in the last 18 seasons -- Red Sox fans lined up outside of Fenway Park on Van Ness Street to watch Boston's equipment truck get loaded and depart for Fort Myers, Fla.

BOSTON -- What a time to be a Boston sports fan.

The day after the Patriots won another Super Bowl -- their sixth in the last 18 seasons -- Red Sox fans lined up outside of Fenway Park on Van Ness Street to watch Boston's equipment truck get loaded and depart for Fort Myers, Fla.

New England's four major pro sports teams have combined for 12 championships since February 2002. It is a big contrast from 1987-2001, when the Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins and Celtics didn't win a single title among them.

"It's sort of ho-hum," quipped Red Sox president and CEO Sam Kennedy. "The Patriots win another Super Bowl, and the next morning, the truck leaves. It's just remarkable. What an incredible performance by [Tom] Brady and [Julian] Edelman and [Bill] Belichick. Just another great night and still hard to believe we've got two championships within a few months of each other. It's just a very special time."

Tweet from @RedSox: Ready for Another Banner YearSee you in the Fort! 👋#TruckDay 🚛 | @JetBlue pic.twitter.com/YbTNavrIXh

And forgive Red Sox fans if they are bold enough to anticipate their team having the makings of a team that could be baseball's first repeat champions since the Yankees won their third consecutive World Series in 2000.

Last year, Boston won a franchise-record 108 games before downing three worthy opponents (the Yankees, Astros and Dodgers) at an 11-3 clip in the postseason. Most of that team is back, along with manager Alex Cora, who was tremendous in his first season. After going 86 years without a World Series title, the Red Sox have won four in the past 15 seasons.

"Every bit as good as last year," said Sharon Morin of Peabody, Mass., when asked her expectations for the 2019 Red Sox.

Sharon attended truck day with her husband, Bob, and the couple will make their first trip to Spring Training next month.

"We have Cora and the core of players so everybody should be chasing us," Bob Morin said. "This is great. Amazing. We had a big gathering at the house last night for the Super Bowl, and this [Truck Day] is much more important to my wife than last night, to say the very least. It's so cool to be here."

Video: The crazy phenomenon that is Truck Day

The real stunner was that the weather was not cool. The temperature was a pleasant 55 degrees with the sun shining as fans watched the truck prepare for takeoff.

In nine days, Red Sox pitchers and catchers will partake in their first official workout in even more pleasant weather conditions.

"We spend a lot of time talking about repeating and what goes into repeating, and we don't really need to look further than talk to the Patriots about winning multiple championships," Kennedy said. "Players are excited. I know guys are down there already and ready to get going."

Of course, you aren't a true Boston sports fan without a little healthy skepticism.

"I'd be a little bit more comfortable if we shore up the back of the bullpen," Bob Morin said.

"Signing [Craig] Kimbrel would be nice," added Sharon Morin.

Tweet from @RedSox: Lots of love ������#TruckDay | @JetBlue pic.twitter.com/RmYSK38IN8

Fans discussed the bullpen and many areas of the team during their Monday gathering.

Why does a fan take time out of their Monday to watch an equipment truck get loaded up?

"It's the beginning of Spring Training," said Melanie Sparks, who made the two-hour drive from Minot, Maine. "Why not? And they won the World Series last year. Why not? Play hooky."

Monday marked the 21st consecutive year that Milford, Mass., native Al Hartz drove the 53-foot truck from Boston to Fort Myers. The truck was loaded with 20,400 baseballs, 1,100 bats, 200 batting gloves, 200 batting helmets, 320 batting practice tops, 160 jerseys, 300 pairs of pants, 400 T-shirts, 400 pairs of socks, 20 cases of bubble gum and 60 cases of sunflower seeds.

The hope is that the equipment will be on hand for many more wins that will continue a glorious run for Boston sports teams.

"We're now going on two decades of 12 championships, all the teams, all the ownership groups. There's something to the rising tide lifting all ships," Kennedy said. "You feel that competition, and you want to keep up with the gold standard that the Kraft family [who owns the Patriots] has set for all of us. They kicked it all off, no pun intended, back in 2001, and it's just continued, and it's terrific."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.

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