Yes, it is still summer. Early summer. And lately the weather has been incredibly good.
But I know some of you are already thinking about the Fall. It’s in your blood. You can’t wait for the Patriots, and the NFL, to return.
So this one’s for you.
Individual game tickets for the 2014 season will go on sale July 15 at 10 a.m. through Ticketmaster. I know some of you have complained in the past that the tickets have sold out in minutes. That’s why it’s important that you not only put this number (800-745-3000) on speed dial, that you not only remain logged into www.ticketmaster.com for days leading into the sale, but that you have all your family members, close friends and pets do the same. That’s right, train your dogs and cats to point and click. (Of course, with cats, getting them to learn to work with a mouse could be tricky.)
Seriously though, there is only a limited number of tickets available. And the only way to get them is either on-line or on the phone. Tickets will not be sold at Gillette Stadium. And, of course, Visa (that long-time NFL sponsor), will be the only form of payment accepted.
This year the Patriots are using variable pricing for their games, creating three levels of pricing: preseason, premier and marquee.
The preseason games are Aug. 15 (Philadelphia) and Aug. 22 (Carolina), both at 7:30 p.m.
The premier games are Oct. 5 (Cincinnati, 8:30 p.m.), Nov. 23 (Detroit, 1 p.m.), Dec. 14 (Miami, 1 p.m.) and Dec. 28 (Buffalo, 1 p.m.).
The marquee games are Sept. 21 (Oakland, 1 p.m.), Oct. 16 (N.Y. Jets, 8:25 p.m.), Oct. 26 (Chicago, 1 p.m.) and Nov. 2 (Denver, 4:25 p.m.).
(Oakland? A marquee game? Really?)
To view a seating map with pricing for all the Patriots home games, go to: http://www.patriots.com/tickets/single-game.html.
And if you’re one of the lucky ones who actually get tickets to a home game at Gillette Stadium – or even if you’re not and just want to drive down to Foxborough for an early look at the boys – training camp opens on July 24, with its first public practice at the fields behind Gillette.
The Patriots have set the schedule for the first week of practices, with each starting at 9:15 a.m. on July 24, 25 ,26 and 27. Beyond those dates, you should check www.patriots.com/trainingcamp for a daily schedule update.
The annual in-stadium practice for season ticket holders will be at 7 p.m. Aug. 1. Earlier that day, Ty Law will be inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame.
The Patriots will hold two joint practices with the Philadelphia Eagles on Aug. 12 and 13 at 2 p.m., leading into their preseason game at Gillette on Aug. 15.
The Eagles, of course, are coached by Chip Kelly, who has long ties to Maine.
Kelly’s mother grew up in Scarborough and attended UMaine. His family had a summer home on Pine Point and his parents now live in Saco.
And from his time as a coach at the University of New Hampshire, he has a strong following among high school coaches in the area.
It should be an interesting training camp. All the draft picks are signed. Several veterans are coming off injuries and will be pushed for their positions.
Enjoy the Summer, even as you start to plan for the Fall.