The crowd of fans that braved a cold, damp October night at Fenway didn’t just say farewell to the team until the spring, they made what might have been their final goodbyes with a trio of long-tenured Red Sox.
While Dennis Eckersley states that he will assuredly return to Boston in the future, his days as a full-time broadcast as done. The Hall of Fame pitcher is stepping away from his duties at NESN after 20 seasons with the Red Sox’s broadcasting network.
The fan favorite received a standing ovation from fans and players alike when the team displayed a video tribute on Fenway’s scoreboard.
The video mixed highlights from his 24-year playing career and calls from his time in the NESN TV booth.
“I’m lucky to have had the career I’ve had, and I’m lucky to have been a part of this,” Eckersley said in the pregame show. “Four championships. Got some rings -- I didn’t have anything to do with it. But to be around this, to be a part of it, man, we’re lucky.”
Shortstop Xander Bogaerts collected a pair of hits in what might have also been his last game as a member of the organization. The 30-year-old infielder has a player option this year and fans have long prepared for the possibility of Bogaerts leaving for greener pastures.
The only holdover from the 2013 World Series championship team, Bogaerts exited the game in the seventh inning to a standing ovation from the rain soaked crowd.
Bogaerts’ teammate on the 2018 championship team, JD Martinez, is a unrestricted free agent this season and, like Bogaerts, is far from a guarantee to return to Fenway next year. And like Bogaerts, he ensured he left fans with a lasting memory if it was indeed goodbye. The 35-year-old slugger hit two home-runs in the 6-3 victory.
Like Bogaerts, Martinez was showered with applause from the remaining fans when he was pulled in the eighth inning.
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