FORT MYERS, FLA. – Faded Roots is a four-person band with a following in Southwest Florida, offering a mix of rock, alternative and reggae. On Saturday, the group was on the stage in the large food-and-drink area that’s set up outside Jet Blue Park for Boston’s exhibition games.
This was the big-league opener for the Red Sox’ ninth spring at Jet Blue, and kept them perfect — 125 out of 125 — for sellouts at the ballpark nicknamed “Fenway South.’’
The gates opened at 11:05 a.m. and Faded Roots soon greeted the early arrivals with a mashed-up version of “Let It Be,’’ Paul McCartney’s song offering comfort in troubled times.
This could not have been a coincidence, considering the angst currently surrounding the Red Sox — some based on the forthcoming results of an investigation into sign stealing; more so, this month’s trade of outfielder Mookie Betts, a tremendous and extra-popular player.
Lauren Brock was among those wearing an authentic Betts’ No. 50 jersey Saturday. She was here from Boston with her husband and two sons, 11 and 8, and was more upset about Mookie’s departure than the family males.
“I loved him so much,’’ she said. “Mookie was just such a regular guy. And he wanted to stay.’’
How about the Red Sox’ insistence that he wouldn’t sign a contract?
“He would’ve stayed,’’ Brock said. “I know it.’’
Diane Connor from Lewiston, Maine also was with her family.
“Our youngest, Nathan, he’s 9, keeps saying, ‘Why would they trade Mookie?’ ‘’ she said. “The rest of us understand. Mookie was going to leave. The Sox won’t be that good for a couple of years, but then we’ll be awesome again. It’s going to be OK.’’
That’s right out of the message from “Mother Mary’’ in McCartney’s famous dream.
Warren Kelson, mid-40s and a Boston sports zealot, is in that same camp.
“Mookie wasn’t signing; they had to do something,’’ he said. “Long-term, it will be good. We’ve been spoiled with our sports — Red Sox, Pats, Celts, Bruins. This is a little adjustment.’’
So it’s time for Tom Brady to leave, too? “Never,’’ Kelson said. “NEVER.’’
• Andrew Benintendi’s No. 16 was the only name jersey for sale in Jet Blue’s souvenir store. Leftover No. 50 (Mookie) carrying bags were available.
• Kevin Pillar was in right field Saturday. The Red Sox signed the exceptional fielder last weekend: one-year, $4.25M.
• Red Sox’ exhibition sellout streak is expected to end next week. They are also 300,000-plus behind the 2019 pace for Fenway Park ticket sales, when they were defending World Series champs.
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