The Red Sox return to the field for Major League Baseball’s Opening Day on Thursday, after a relatively quiet six months for the team. The Sox made just one major lineup move — signing slugger J.D. Martinez — since last season ended with an Oct. 9 playoff loss to the Houston Astros.

For the rest of the world, however, it was a dizzying stretch, with jaw-dropping news rocketing past so quickly that it was hard to process it all. With the start of the season upon us, we’ve compiled a lineup of nine of the biggest developments since Dustin Pedroia grounded out to end last season, a snapshot of how quickly, and decisively, the world can change.


Leading off: Stormy Daniels. We’re tempted to put her in the bullpen, since she starred in “The Closer” (2005), which sounds like a baseball movie. There’s no detailed plot synopsis for the film at IMDB.com, but it couldn’t be any crazier than a future president’s lawyer arranging hush money for a porn star to silence a story of spanking, sex, and sharks.

The first news reports on the accusations of sexual misconduct against filmmaker Harvey Weinstein were just days old when the Red Sox left us. The #MeToo reckoning that followed toppled powerful men in business, politics, and media, including casino mogul Steve Wynn. Now the company that’s building Greater Boston’s first casino is facing more scrutiny than a Red Sox manager on a losing streak, with thousands of jobs in the balance.

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III filed his first indictments a few weeks after Sox players cleaned out their lockers, and few people had a busier offseason. Manafort, Gates, Flynn, Papadopoulos, Pinedo, van der Zwaan, a bunch of Russians – you need a scorecard to track who is charged with what, who pled out, and who flipped.


It was a rough offseason for “shithole countries,” as President Trump referred to them in a January meeting with lawmakers. The remark broke long-standing profanity norms for TV news chyrons. (This is not a good thing: DO NOT CONGRATULATE)

Reeling from a data misuse scandal, Facebook is facing congressional hearings and possible regulation, while the company lost $100 billion in market capitalization in weeks. That sum would be enough to fund the state budget for more than two years, even accounting for State Police overtime.

Early in October, Las Vegas was burying the victims of the deadliest shooting in modern US history. Since then, the country endured two more mass shootings that ranked among the 10 deadliest: Sutherland Springs, Texas, and Parkland, Fla. After Parkland, teenaged survivors have emerged as the leaders of an unprecedented nationwide movement for new gun laws, which last weekend inspired demonstrations across the country.

The White House exodus since last season has included enough high-level staffers to field a starting nine, with late-innings subs: national security adviser, FBI deputy director, secretary of state, president’s personal assistant, head of the National Economic Council, White House communications director, deputy communications director, White House staff secretary, deputy national security adviser, reality star Omarosa Manigault, and, on Wednesday, Veterans Affairs secretary. Does anyone even remember the federal government shut down briefly in January?

The two Koreas marched together at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, lowering geopolitical tensions, on the biggest stage in sports. It was a good February for North Korea’s Kim dynasty. Closer to home, it was a bad February for the Belichick-Brady dynasty, which lost the Super Bowl to the Philadelphia Eagles amid reports of locker-room tension.


Last fall faded into a winter that included historic cold and a string of nor’easters that brought widespread flooding to the Boston area. The flooding put renewed focus on climate change and the need to combat it, beyond changing the city’s name to Atlantis.

Mark Arsenault can be reached at mark.arsenault@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @bostonglobemark