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Why is truck day such a big deal all of a sudden?

Feb 8, 2010, 5:18 PM EDT

They’ve made a mini-celebration out of “Truck Day” in Boston — that day when the semis full of gear leave Fenway and head down to Ft. Myers — for the past ten years or so. Kinda silly, but a nice enough little ceremony. Better than the groundhog as far as harbingers of spring go anyway.

This is the first year, however, where I’ve heard of other teams — or fans of other teams — making hay over their own Truck Days.  The chatter on this has been growing all week.  MLB.com has a whole article about it today, talking about various trucks leaving various parks for various spring training destinations.  Which leads me to ask two questions:

1) Has this always happened? I’ll grant that I may have missed it in the past — I’m obviously following things a lot closer this winter than I did back when I was a working stiff — but I have no memory whatsoever of anyone but the Red Sox making a big deal out of it before this year, and even then it was a really minor and relatively recent phenomenon;

2) If I’m not imagining it and it is a new thing, do we give the people at MLB credit for coming up with a new marketing/promotional thing, or do we heap scorn on them for synthesizing some phony fan event, ripping off the Red Sox or whatever?  Because I’m kind of confused about it.

  1. Moses Green - Feb 8, 2010 at 5:05 PM

    It’s not as big a deal as “truck-party day.” Just ask Stephon Marbury. Call the biggest, most expensive hotel in Taiyuan, Shanxi, China, ask for the guy with the tattoo on his head and ask him for yourself. Truck-party day is a MUCH bigger deal.

  2. Chipmaker - Feb 8, 2010 at 5:09 PM

    I can recall that Boston’s truck day merited at least a brief mention in the Globe and/or Herald as far back as the late 1980s.

  3. Chipmaker - Feb 8, 2010 at 5:12 PM

    I can recall that Boston’s truck day merited at least a brief mention in the Globe and/or Herald as far back as the late 1980s.
    But if it’s now gone viral and is being pre-packaged an An Event — yeesh. What, no tee shirts? Commemorative caps?

  4. Ryan - Feb 8, 2010 at 5:13 PM

    I’m sure there are people out there like this for other teams, but I have a really hard time imagining many Royals’ fans getting this excited for Truck Day.

  5. Ryan - Feb 8, 2010 at 5:17 PM

    Hopefully New Era can come out with a new line of jerseys (in addition to normal, alt, road, road alt, BP, ST, ASG and throwback) for the teams truck days. I always wanted a David Mellor BP jersey.

  6. Okobojicat - Feb 8, 2010 at 5:37 PM

    Do Orioles fans celebrate truck day? Those Mayflower trucks hauling shoulder pads and blocking skids are still pretty fresh in memories.

  7. Connecticut Mike - Feb 8, 2010 at 6:28 PM

    I’m 31 and grew up in Maine and Connecticut, and I feel like I remember truck day being briefly mentioned around this time every year by guys like Bob Lobel, so that dates back into the late 80s at least. I always just assumed other places must do the same thing, especially northern cities. Truck Day is really just a brief distraction from thinking about what a fool you are for living somewhere cold.

  8. Old Gator - Feb 8, 2010 at 6:37 PM

    Why does the image of these trucks loading in and heading south cause me to flash on little Dumbo, out there in the rain and lightning, hauling on the hawsers while they set up the circus tent?
    .
    Incidentally, Craig, are you planning to make the rounds of the spring camps this year? I’m definitely going up a few times to watch the Feesh try to eliminate as many salaries above the major league minimum as they can and will, of course, report back gleefully as this tragic scene unfolds. I might could force myself to get interested in the Aureoles too, seeing as they’re just a fall off a unicycle up the road from here – even though clearing customs and immigration at the Broward County line can occasionally be time consuming. I would go to Tucson maybe, but I fear stuffing myself on the green corn tamales at Larua’s until my eyeballs bug out.
    .
    ‘Course if you and the gang don’t want me reporting live, or even undead, from those camps, why then, I’ll just sit home and brood on human folly, which is what I pretty much do all the time anyway.

  9. Craig Calcaterra - Feb 8, 2010 at 6:42 PM

    I am going to be making the rounds, Gator. Plans are still a little vague, but I’m going to do a little circle of a road trip, hitting Port St. Luice, Ft. Myers, Tampa and Clearwater. I’ll probably be dropped in via Miami and evaced via Tampa or vice-versa. Not real plan at the moment. It’s kind of like Fear and Loathing on the Spring Training Trail.

  10. Old Gator - Feb 8, 2010 at 6:44 PM

    “Truck Day is really just a brief distraction from thinking about what a fool you are for living somewhere cold.”
    Indeed – a distraction you wouldn’t have if you lived down here in Macondo, except maybe one or two days a year when you might also have to worry about being brained by a cold-shocked iguana falling out of a tree. We’re just lucky that the manatees don’t climb trees and have the courtesy to die in the canals. But otherwise, thermal equanimity reigns.
    .
    Instead, you can spend your time being distracted by our unique brand of hybrid Latino/Good Ole Boy municipal corruption, the occasional hurricane, and our late Pleistocene right-wing exile politics. But after that special senate election, who knows, you might still feel right at home here.

  11. Old Gator - Feb 8, 2010 at 6:50 PM

    Hmm, I sense the embryonic stirrings of a theme here. Better go out back to my study and blow the dust off my Gonzo.

  12. Moses Green - Feb 8, 2010 at 7:09 PM

    Borges story?

  13. spudchukar - Feb 8, 2010 at 7:12 PM

    Stay confused. You are a more interesting writer that way.

  14. Old Gator - Feb 8, 2010 at 7:35 PM

    I suppose that given the absurd statistical obsession of our fellow Great American Game lovers, “Funes the Memorious” (a sort of Pategonian Ken Rosenthal) would work…but I’ll let that gestate during my flight to Albuquerque for the annual Texas/Southwestern Popular Culture Association conference:
    http://swtxpca.org/documents/49.html
    I’m co-chairing a session there under one of my many aliases. You will notice that there are eleven sessions on the Grateful Dead alone. Almost as many for Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Yes, that’s right – Jos Wheedon is taken seriously up in the ivory tower. And that is, indeed, where your taxpayer dollars are going as far as your state universities and community colleges are concerned. Too goddamned bad about the lot of you. Anyway, this is my one can’t-miss event on the annual academic calendar. Once you’ve read through the program, you’ll understand. I’ll be in touch via my portable mental dialysis unit, and if I seem a little off the wall this week, well, no you’ll know why.

  15. Richard Dansky - Feb 8, 2010 at 7:51 PM

    “We were somewhere around Clearwater, on the edge of the Phillies’ training complex, when the PEDs began to take hold…”

  16. TF in Tampa - Feb 8, 2010 at 10:10 PM

    Professor, am I to understand that you’ll be lecturing a session or two on ‘the Dead’? And might you have any relationship to Fordham U? I ask that for a reason, if so I’ll be happy to explain later, and you might be quite surprised, thank you.

  17. Old Gator - Feb 8, 2010 at 10:30 PM

    No, I’ll be speaking and chairing a non-Dead session (which is as much to say that I won’t be talking about vampires or chairing any cannibal zombie sessions either).
    .
    Uh-oh.
    .
    I do have connections with Fordham – I got my undergaduate degree in Theology there as a mere child (it was primarily in Hinduism and Buddhism, by the way, with a minor in Sanskrit and Literary Tibetan – really – and anyplace else would have called it a degree in “comparative religion” but you know how radical the Jebbies can be).
    .
    One of the big machas of the Dead group, though, is a professor of – I think – music from Fordham, but I don’t know him other than from meeting him at these sessions over the years. He’s a good ten years younger than me so he wouldn’t have been there when I was there in the late sixties and early 70s – unless he’s an arrested progeriac. Wish I could recall his name. At the special session on “Dark Star” last year, I mentioned that the Dead often used that song like the “mother ship” from Close Encounters for their second set, that when you heard the opening cadenza it was like watching it rise over Devil’s Tower, and that at some point the hatch would open, most of the rest of the set would spill out of it, and then they’d segue back into “Dark Star” again and, oh, you know, fly away, usually into the hardcore “space/drums/space” set. Well, our Fordham guy really liked that and we wound up walking back through downtown Albuquerque at one AM discussing “Dark Star” as a grand metaphor for the fear of annihilation.
    .
    Is it becoming clearer why I never miss this conference?

  18. Old Gator - Feb 8, 2010 at 10:33 PM

    Hank Steinbrenner: what did you say your name was?
    Craig: Craig Calcaterra, sir.
    Hank Steinbrenner (leaning closer and zipping his fly): Calcaterra, you say?
    Craig: Yes sir.
    Hank Steinbrenner: Calcaterra, fuck the doomed.

  19. Craig Calcaterra - Feb 8, 2010 at 10:36 PM

    Where the Buffalo Roam, eh? Nice.
    Haven’t seen it in ages. I did watch No Country for Old Men last night for the third time. But you wouldn’t know or care about that, I’m sure.

  20. CT Mom - Feb 8, 2010 at 10:56 PM

    I love Truck Day. Sure, with capital letters it is complete marketing hype, but baseball fans are an optimistic breed (wait ’til next year!) and Truck Day announces that it is soon “next year”. I have a nine year old who circles on his calendar the day pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training – not opening day, because that is too much like reality. On Truck Day, your team is the best in the league! I think it is nice to include the fans in this part of the process. We debate over players’ contracts and positions, the business of baseball, so is it so hard to understand how someone who loves the Red Sox would be interested in how and when the equipment leaves Fenway? I’d probably watch a show on grounds maintenance if they’d put it on. Baseball season starts long before the first pitch and Truck Day is anticipation at its essence. Go Sox!

  21. Old Gator - Feb 8, 2010 at 11:06 PM

    Aww shit, Craig, you put me in a very awkward position. However, I do know a terrific crabhouse in Fort Lauderdale and I will forgive you if you buy lunch there when you come down to inspect the Aureoles. Failing that, I challenge you to a session of “The Most Dangerous Game” in the Everglades.
    .
    Pardon me – gotta go throw another mouse to Friendo to tide him over while I’m in Albuquerque.

  22. Old Gator - Feb 8, 2010 at 11:18 PM

    Oh, and before I let Calcaterra pitch me into a paranoid tailspin, let me not forget to add, as long as we’re sort of on the subject, that I also have a great – and true – Bela Lugosi story that has much to do with Fordham University as well. It’s an alltime classic, so pardon me if I wait for an opportune moment to unburden myself of it.

  23. TF in Tampa - Feb 9, 2010 at 12:10 AM

    I’ve just errantly erased a well thought out post back to you that I’ve been working on regarding my association with Fordham. I’m getting too slaphappy now cause its late. I’ll revisit it in the AM. Sorry, see ya then.

  24. MVD - Feb 9, 2010 at 3:57 AM

    It probably just makes sense to copy the team that’s had 500 consecutive sell-outs and (no offense to real Red Sox fans) is probably one of the trendiest franchises in all of sports.
    Why else would they play “Sweet Caroline” at Nationals games?
    At least Baltimore has their own theme song at Camden Yards.
    I wish the Reds would get on the ball with that.

  25. Old Gator - Feb 9, 2010 at 8:58 AM

    “Sweet Caroline.” Wasn’t that on his Please Squash Me Like a Bug album?
    .
    To be honest, I can’t figure out why anyone would ever want to play or listen to Neil Diamond. His dreck is the very apotheosis of kitsch.

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