Red Sox unveil 2009 schedule

Red Sox unveil 2009 schedule

Finally, Red Sox fans will have a true Opening Day. It was announced on Wednesday that the Sox will open their 2009 season at Fenway Park, marking the first time they've done so since 2002.

The opponent is a good one -- the Tampa Bay Rays, whom Boston has spent virtually all of this season battling with for the American League East title.

The Rays will be at Fenway for a three-game series that starts April 6, with an off-day the next day, and then contests on April 8 and 9.

But there won't be much of an opening homestand for the Red Sox, as they immediately head to the West Coast following that series with Tampa Bay to take on the Los Angeles Angels and Oakland Athletics.

As always, the Red Sox will celebrate Patriots Day -- also Marathon Monday -- with a home game, this time against the Baltimore Orioles.

The Yankees will make their first of three visits to Boston on April 24 for a three-game series.

But the more anticipated event will be May 4-5, when the Red Sox play at the new Yankee Stadium for the first time.

Interestingly, the Yankees won't come to Fenway Park in September. Their last visit to Boston is Aug. 21-23. However, the Red Sox will be in New York Sept. 25-27.

The other rivalry showdowns are as follows: The Yankees are in Boston June 9-11 and the Red Sox are at New York for a four-game series from Aug. 6-9.

As for the Interleague slate, the Red Sox will kick things off by hosting the New York Mets from May 22-24. This is the second time the Mets have been to Fenway since 2006, though the Red Sox haven't played the Mets on the road since 2001.

Boston resumes Interleague Play on June 12, traveling to Philadelphia for a three-game series. Citizens Banks Park has become a familiar haunt for the Red Sox, who will be making their fourth visit there in five seasons. The Sox then come home to host two other NL East foes -- the Marlins and Braves.

After that, the Sox play the Nationals on the road for the first time, venturing to the Nation's capital from June 23-25. Then, it's on to Atlanta for three games. The Braves are the only team the Red Sox play twice during their Interleague schedule.

For the fifth consecutive season, the Red Sox will finish their regular season at home. The Blue Jays will be at Fenway from Sept. 28-30, followed by the four games with the Indians Oct. 1-4.

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.