Triple-A Pawtucket will return to the event after a one-year absence and will host the Charlotte Knights—the International League affiliate of the Chicago White Sox—in the second game of the twinbill. In the opener, short-season Single-A Lowell will face the Hudson Valley Renegades, the New York-Penn League affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays. It's the second straight year the Spinners and Renegades have battled in the opener.
Pawtucket played in the inaugural "Futures At Fenway" in 2006, when the PawSox faced the Rochester Red Wings, the International League affiliate of the Minnesota Twins.
Tickets for the games range from $5 for upper bleacher seats to $30 for popular seats in the Green Monster, behind the dugouts and in the EMC Club and State Street Pavilion Club. Prices are unchanged from last year. Hot dogs and soda will also be $1 cheaper than usual.
Tickets go on sale to the public at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Sox' official website (www.redsox.com) or by telephone at (617) 482-4SOX. Fans with disabilities may call (877) REDSOX-9 to purchase accessible seating (while supplies last). The Red Sox' TTY number for hearing-impaired fans is (617) 226-6644.
Other family-friendly features include random children being picked to participating in mascot races and other on-field activities. Players from both Sox affiliates will also be available to sign autographs throughout the day on the Big Concourse.
The "Futures At Fenway" idea was originated by Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, who wanted to come up with a way to allow more people to attend a game at continually sold-out Fenway Park.
"Events like ‘Futures At Fenway' reflect the team's commitment to creating more opportunities for more fans to experience ‘America's Most Beloved Ballpark,'" Sox president/CEO Larry Lucchino said in a statement released by the Sox. "Thanks to the suggestion of Mayor Menino, this annual new tradition gives many of our fans the chance to spend a family-friendly day at Fenway Park watching the future stars of this franchise in action."
The 2006 and 2007 editions of "Futures At Fenway" were played in front of near-capacity crowds. Last year, both Double-A Portland and Lowell won in "walk-off" fashion in the ninth inning. Portland edged Harrisburg, the Eastern League affiliate of the Washington Nationals, 12-11 while the Spinners nipped Hudson Valley, 2-1.
"Some of these guys will never get back here again," Portland manager Arnie Beyeler said afterward. "Some of us may never get back here again. So it's a great honor to be here and we'll probably hang out here on the field as long as we can and take it easy."
Although records are incomplete, the Sox believe the games in 2006 were the first minor league games played at Fenway Park since the 1977 Eastern League All-Star Game. The last known regular season minor league game played at Fenway had been a 1966 Eastern League contest between Pittsfield (Red Sox) and Pawtucket (Indians).
Diehard managing editor Jerry Beach can be reached at email@example.com. To receive a free issue of Diehard, call 888-501-5752.
Futures At Fenway Tix On Sale Saturday
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