BOSTON, MA – The Red Sox open their 120th home season, and their 109th at Fenway Park, this Friday, July 24, starting at approximately 7 p.m. with pregame ceremonies that will air live on NESN and WEEI. The team plays the Baltimore Orioles at 7:30 p.m., the first time in 10 years the club has opened the season with a night home game, which last occurred on April 4, 2010 with a Sunday Night Baseball game on ESPN against the Yankees.
Beginning about 30 minute before the game, the two teams will be introduced along the base lines. With the American flag draped over the Green Monster, the national anthem will be performed by indie gospel recording artist, and Springfield native, Michelle Brooks-Thompson.
Supporting the Black Lives Matter Movement
Fans watching Friday’s home opener will see elements of the Black Lives Matter movement incorporated into the pregame ceremony and physically represented throughout the ballpark. As part of a league-wide effort for Opening Day, a stencil behind the mound will features MLB’s logo with the acronym “BLM.” The base jewels and line-up cards will also feature the “BLM” acronym.
Within the walls of Fenway Park, there will be a prominently featured “Black Lives Matter” sign stretching 120 feet wide and 20 feet high covering several sections of the Bleacher seats in center field. Outside of the ballpark, the Red Sox Foundation has affixed those same words on their 254-foot-long Lansdowne Street billboard that faces the Mass Pike. A link to photos of the Bleacher sign and Mass Pike billboard can be found below.
Outside of these public-facing elements, the Red Sox have taken steps internally to promote social justice, inclusion and equity. Information about the Red Sox’ commitment to racial justice and details about the organization’s ongoing internal work can be found by clicking here.
Auxiliary Dugout and Bullpen Seating
Consistent with MLB’s health and safety guidelines for the 2020 season, expanded dugout seating areas have been constructed at Fenway Park using seats adjacent to both the Red Sox and Visitor’s Dugouts. Sections of the lower rows of Field Box seats located between the home plate and dugout field doors on both the first base and third base sides have been converted into covered seating that will allow for proper physical distancing.
Expanded, covered seating areas for the bullpens have also been installed in front of the Bleachers, immediately behind the existing Red Sox and Visitor’s bullpens. The new auxiliary seating areas include direct access to and from the bullpens with the installation of new, temporary stairs within the bullpens.
Visitor’s Clubhouse Expansion
The existing Visitor’s Clubhouse facilities at Fenway Park have been augmented and expanded for the 2020 season to allow for appropriate density and physical distancing between players and staff. The lockers for the players have been moved out of the existing locker room and into a newly created auxiliary locker room in the third base concourse area outside the Visitor’s Clubhouse.
Additionally, the Gate A Concourse, typically a concession area and walkway for fans, has been transformed into an expanded training and workout area with artificial turf and strength and conditioning equipment. Accommodations for dining and meeting space will be provided on the Ketel One Third Base Deck.
Similar to the reconfiguration of the Red Sox Clubhouse areas, these covered but not fully enclosed spaces are intended to provide the visiting team with facilities that are in line with MLB’s health and safety guidelines for the 2020 season.
With the 2020 regular season getting underway without fans, a crowd noise system has been implemented to create a “bed” of noise that is designed to mimic the natural sound created by fans in the ballpark. Fans watching at home will hear these enhancements, among others planned by NESN, as part of their broadcast.
In an effort to enhance the game broadcast during this unique season, a Red Sox player or coach will periodically wear a microphone during select home games, and fans will be incorporated at various moments via Zoom. For Opening Day, centerfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is scheduled to wear a microphone.
NESN’s Opening Day broadcast will include Dennis Eckersley, Dave O’Brien and Jerry Remy in the remote broadcast booth at NESN’s Watertown studio, Guerin Austin as the sideline reporter from Fenway Park, and Tom Caron hosting all pre- and post-game coverage. Tim Wakefield, Jim Rice and Steve Lyons will join Caron as analysts during pre- and post-game coverage, and Jahmai Webster will host select exclusive player interviews that will appear throughout NESN’s Red Sox coverage.
Opening Day coverage on NESN begins at 5 p.m. with a showing of Wally’s Opening Day, followed by Red Sox Opening Day Memories at 5:30 p.m. The Red Sox pregame show starts at 6 p.m. and will include live Opening Day ceremonies before the 7:30 p.m. game against the Orioles.
WEEI Radio Broadcast
The WEEI Red Sox Radio Network will start its Opening Day coverage beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Friday. Red Sox Hall of Famer Joe Castiglione, Lou Merloni, and Will Flemming will be on the call.
WEEI will air a 2020 Red Sox preview show tonight, Thursday, July 23, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m on “Mut at Night” featuring Mike Mutnansky and Rob Bradford. Following “Mut at Night,” WEEI will air Game 4 of the 2004 World Series from 9 p.m. to midnight.
On Friday, July 24, Red Sox President & CEO Sam Kennedy will join the Greg Hill Show at 8:30 a.m. Chairman Tom Werner will join the afternoon “OMF” Show at 2:30 p.m.