Friday, October 9, 2009

ON SPORTS ~ The Aftermath...


The Aftermath:

where previously Molly's prayers to a red moon were finally answered...

After their victory over the Cardinals in 2004 the Sox and the City of Boston had initially announced tentative plans for a World Series parade for Friday. Thankfully they changed their minds and decided to hold it Saturday morning, the day before Halloween. This allowed for kids as well as people traveling to Boston from throughout the far reaches of Sox Nation to attend without skipping school and work. And by beginning the festivities at 11:00 in the morning, the likelihood of knucklehead college students rioting and endangering lives would be greatly reduced.

My brother and my future sister-in-law, unlucky to live in New Jersey surrounded by Yankee fans, immediately made plans to make the trip to Boston so that they could actually be a part of that magical season – having had to live vicariously through us and the media until then. They pooled their money and hopped a bus to Boston straight after work Friday arriving at our house around midnight. We were so excited about the season and the reason they had made the trip into town that we stayed up late and went to bed weary. Just like an awful lot of nights after Sox games that post season. I tell you, that team was the ONLY team that I would sacrifice so much sleep for. The things you do for love.

We all woke up at the crack of dawn to catch the first commuter rail train into Boston. It was drizzly and cold – and early, SO early. It was the most beautiful day in the world! All the happy faces everywhere you turned. Sox garb decorated hats, coats, scarves, T-shirts, backpacks and every other item of clothing and accessories covering all the cold, wet, beaming people waiting for the first train in to the party.

The players, coaches, management, staff, and former Sox greats met inside Fenway Park where they greeted a select group of lucky guests – mostly employees, charities, and sponsors. Then they all piled into Duck Boats – I think there were about 16 Duck Boats total. Duck Boats are amphibious people carriers – converted from old army vehicles – used to give tours of the city by land and by sea, uh Charles River that is. And so the Sox got a tour of the City of Boston by land, starting at Fenway Park, making their way through the Back Bay, to Government Center, and then into the Charles River to the MIT Bridge and back. On this tour they saw swells of incredibly happy and vocal fans – some of whom had traveled from other continents – cheering and clapping and holding signs declaring pride and devotion to them every inch of pavement and riverbank along the way.

And we were there. Having arrived in the city early, we camped out inside of my company’s Boston office located on Boylston Street, across from the Public Library. We had a bird’s eye view of the gathering crowds lining the streets, standing on balconies, roofs, and perched in trees and on top of taller people’s shoulders. It began to change from a drizzle to a steady rain – but there was no raining on that parade. As the radio and TV alerted us to the closer proximity of the parade to our location, we ran downstairs and planted ourselves anxiously on the street for an up close and personal experience.

The rain stopped as the first Duck Boats approached. The Sox were tossing beads into the streets, waving at everyone, pointing and smiling and appearing to relish the role of heroes. Many of them had video cameras pointed back at the faithful. Somewhere early along the route, someone had given Left Fielder Manny Ramirez a very hysterical sign joking about Yankees Shortstop Derek Jeter back home golfing while Manny was participating in what Mayor Menino dubbed the “Rolling Rally.” Manny’s glorious grinning smile beaming from ear to ear was found on the faces of every man, woman & child along the route that day.

Catchers Jason Varitek & Doug Mirabelli chose to perch themselves on the hood of their assigned Duck Boat rather than up high in the back like everyone else.

The World Series trophy, golden and gleaming amidst the sporadic showers, with all its little flying banners forming a beautiful tall circle was passed along from boat to boat. It was always hoisted high above someone’s head – as if it were the American Flag that isn’t allowed to touch the ground but rather be displayed with pride and awe, high above us. Good thing these were athletes with strong muscles holding the grand prize!

Pitcher Derek Lowe tossed beads with glee and Pedro Martinez stood next to him with a Dominican Flag doo-rag on his jheri curled head. Shortstop Orlando Cabrera waved the Columbian flag – exhibiting the globalization of baseball and the pride of his home country.

Right Fielder Johnny Damon drew huge roars from the crowd along with countless marriage proposals which I don’t think amused his fiancĂ©e aboard the Duck Boat on the lower deck.

The Sox had their kids and wives aboard with them, just as the fans flocked to the parade with their families. Generations in fact. That season had made all of these millions of people rush to the city and stand in the cold rain for a quick glimpse of that hairy, goofy, band of idiots for one reason. They made us smile. Boston and Sox Nation was one big smile that day – bigger than Manny & Papi’s combined. And that smile, with a burning glow of happiness residing in our hearts, kept us toasty and warm through the winter until pitchers and catchers reported to Fort Myers, Florida in the spring to start another season all over again. Except that spring, they were reigning World Champions.

next week, THE EFFECT, in which we discover if a World Championship affects a fan's outlook...


Sandy Nawrot said...

That is true dedication! What I an wondering is if the pink hats were standing in the rain on their cell phones, or did they forego the festivities for a mani/pedi?

Mike said...

The Twins got screwed last night with a bad call! I love my Yankees, but hate to see them win like that.

ds said...

I didn't know about that bad call...I just know that A-Rod hit a couple of big ones at crucial times to save the Yanks' rears, and the screaming from downstairs shook the rafters.
Howevah, in 2004, Sox Nation deserved its celebration.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Die Hard Red Sox fan here who is glad the pain is over for them :( They just did not deserve to be champs this year IMO.