Boston Red Sox designated hitter J.D. Martinez celebrates with a teammate after hitting a home run in the third inning of a spring training baseball game against the Atlanta Braves ON Monday, March 29, 2021, in North Port, Fla. Credit: John Bazemore / AP

Everything has been wicked out of whack for more than a year — in our world and the world of sports.

Example: for the life of me I have not been able to follow the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. I have no freaking idea when those games are being played. 

But that confusion is nothing compared to the shock I received when I confirmed that the Red Sox 2021 season opener is this week! 

Kate Upton showing up at my door in an evening gown, holding a box of pizza and asking if she could come in and watch “Goodfellas” with me would not have been more surprising than learning that the Sox play at Fenway on April Fools’ Day. Wait! Is somebody messing with me? Is this an April Fools’ joke? I don’t think so.

I’ve been following spring training some. This team actually looks pretty darn good! They have some pitching and have been hitting the ball out of the park like crazy in Fort Myers.

Some media members and other folks on Twitter, including Jason Varitek’s wife, keep calling this team “sneaky good.” Some would call them just “sneaky” because the previously suspended Alex Cora is back at the helm and who knows what he’s got up his sleeve.

But even if Cora was banging on a garbage can in my backyard, I think this MLB season still would have snuck up on me.

This team was so bad last year. I’ll be perfectly honest and confess I watched very few of their games. It seems the World Series team of 2018 might as well have existed 100 years ago. Mookie, Bradley and Benny Biceps are all gone.

TV ratings were way down last year, a fact Jerry Remy even referenced during a preseason game this year.

But COVID-19 numbers are decreasing, more folks are getting vaccinated and summer is approaching. And now that I have discovered the return of the Sox, life is starting to feel a bit less surprising.

Every year for decades I have watched or listened to the Sox season opener and you can bet on Thursday I will be right there again, analyzing every pitch and critiquing every Cora move.

And just like I was legit surprised that the team is taking the field this week for real, perhaps Boston will surprise us all and be playing in October this year.

That would be overcoming the odds, considering the tough teams in the AL East. But still there’s probably a better chance of the Sox in the postseason than the Kate Upton scenario playing out as I outlined it above. Too bad. I love pizza and “Goodfellas.”

Play ball!

Jeff Solari Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

Jeff Solari is the founder of the Maine Sports Chowdah, Maine’s only free, weekly sports email newsletter. He has been in sports media since he was 17 and is not shy with his opinions or perspective on the world of sports. Solari has won more than 15 Maine Association of Broadcasters and AP broadcaster awards.

Sports Chowdah

Jeff Solari is the president and founder of the Sports Chowdah, Maine’s only free, weekly sports email newsletter. Recently, the Mount Desert Island native was the co-host of "The Drive" on 92.9 FM in...