Take heart, winter weary New Englanders. Spring can't be far away if the Boston Red Sox equipment truck is on its way to Florida.

Hundreds of fans gathered outside Fenway Park to bid the truck farewell as it left Boston on a 1,480-mile trip to the team's spring training home in Fort Myers shortly after noon on Thursday.

The 53-foot truck is being driven for the 17th consecutive year by Milford native Al Hartz.

It's hauling an assortment of baseball equipment and supplies including 20,400 baseballs, 1,100 bats, 400 pairs of socks, 20 cases of bubble gum and 60 cases of sunflower seeds.

Red Sox pitchers and catchers will be the first players on team to report to spring training on Feb. 20.

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