Thursday, February 28, 2008

Let the games begin!

Well, it all starts tomorrow, folks. This is why they've been training hard all off season. The title defense begins now. Yes, friends, I speak of the coveted Mayor's Cup and game 1 of the 5 game series with crosstown rival, the Minnesota Twins. It's hard to imagine but the Mayor's Cup was not always the hottest ticket in town. Nope, in fact it was only quite recently that the series 'officially' began.

That said, the Mayor's Cup does have deep historical roots. In the spring of 1910 the Boston Pilgrims and the St. Paul Doublets faced off in a bitter turf war for Hot Springs, Arkansas, supremacy. It seems there was not enough Hot Spring to go around. One afternoon little-used Boston infielder Doc Moskiman got into a shouting match beside the Springs with Doublets center fielder Percy Staunton shortly after Staunton had absconded with the Pilgrim's bath robe. Moskiman was left with nary a garment to cover his loins and several Doublets in the vicinity made sport of his plight. Tempers flared, a wager was made, games were played, and in the end the Doublets took the series in 17 games. The Pilgrims were banished to Redondo Beach, California, for Spring Training 1911. So concludes the first chapter in the legend of the Mayor's Cup.

Red Sox Spring Training Homes 1901-Present
1901 Charlottesville, Virginia
1902 Augusta, Georgia
1903-1906 Macon, Georgia
1907-1908 Little Rock, Arkansas
1909-1910 Hot Springs, Arkansas
1911 Redondo Beach, California
1912-1918 Hot Springs, Arkansas
1919 Tampa, Florida
1920-1923 Hot Springs, Arkansas
1924 San Antonio, Texas
1925-1927 New Orleans, Louisiana
1928-1929 Bradenton, Florida
1930-1931 Pensacola, Florida
1932 Savannah, Georgia
1933-1942 Sarasota, Florida
1943 Medford, Massachusetts
1944 Baltimore, Maryland
1945 Pleasantville, New Jersey
1946-1958 Sarasota, Florida
1959-1965 Scottsdale, Arizona
1966-1992 Winter Haven, Florida
1993-Present Fort Myers, Florida

A few notes of interest:
Four World Series titles in seven seasons of training in Hot Springs and they decide to pack up and leave the Valley of the Vapors for Tampa? There's your curse! I kid. Maybe. Why turn your back on the natural healing powers of the Hot Springs? There must be more to this story. Please also note those World War II years when the Sox trained in Medford, Baltimore, and Pleasantville. A third note of interest, the Sox traitorously joined the Cactus League for seven years from '59-'65.

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