It’s always something like this on Opening Day in Fenway. Some Cecil B. DeMille, some Knute Rockne and even some Zero Mostel.
Yes, Tony Conigliaro returned. He singled in his first at-bat in 3 ½ years and in a double steal helped bring in the first run of the season. (The sun broke through the clouds for each at-bat.) Luis Tiant debuted again as El Conquistador, protecting his lead like it were one’s homeland, getting Henry Aaron and George Scott on two pitches with two on in the eighth and a three-run lead.
Yes, there were the countless standing ovations and brawls out in Boone’s Farm Country – the bleachers – but this year there was something added. What began as a normal pregame, preseries meeting turned into a very serious open discussion about this club’s attitude and leadership, led by Carl Yastrzemski, who among many things said “this is the worst attitude in spring training of any team I’ve ever been on. If it continues like this, we’ll finish in last place.”
So, when it was all over, it was a 5-2 victory over Aaron and the Milwaukee Brewers. The 34,019 had its Conigliaro-Aaron show, its heroics from Tiant, Bob Montgomery, Tony and Yaz and had seen their Olde Towne Team charge the field like impassions North Vietnamese guerrillas.
Tony edged Aaron, 4-2, in standing O’s, but Henry’s American League debut means little to the Brewers in comparison to his return to Milwaukee Friday. Fenway’s Prodigal received his first standing O in the pregame introductions, but the one following his hit (nearly three minutes) was his best.
You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month
Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.
- High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
- Convenient access across all of your devices
- Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
- Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
- Less than 25¢ a week