BOSTON -- Red Sox pitcher Chris Capuano grew up in West Springfield, Mass. which means that even if he didn't ever get to Fenway Park for Opening Day, he understands what it means: It's a defacto holiday throughout New England.
One day after pitching his first regular-season game for the Red Sox, throwing a scoreless seventh inning in Baltimore, Capuano explained what it meant to him to be a member of the team for which he grew up rooting, and to be at Fenway when baseball in Boston officially begins for another year.
"It's special," he said. "It's something that I've always looked forward to throughout my career, hoping to have a chance to play for the Red Sox. Now having gotten to pitch in first game yesterday and to experience Opening Day today, I have a really big appreciation for it."
Capuano said he hasn't been to Fenway in any capacity since he was playing in the Cape League in the late 1990s and went as a fan to watch the Sox play.
In his first trip back, not only is he on the roster, and not only is it Opening Day, but it's Opening Day after the Sox won a World Series championship in 2013. Though the goal for Capuano throughout his 10-year career has been to win a World Series, he said that seeing his current teammates get ready to accept their championship rings -- and watching them go to the White House earlier this week -- makes that desire for a title grow even stronger.
"Absolutely," he said. "Last year was my first time every pitching in the playoffs with LA. When we finally got knocked out and lost to St. Louis, that's just such a crushing feeling because you put so much work in. Now being here with these guys, the guys who've actually won it, and played and won that last game, there's a sense of wanting to get back there even more."