Around 5:30 p.m. yesterday, local sports talk show hosts Felger and Mazz took a call from a man in Easton. “Felgah, you’re a donkey,” the caller said emphatically, taking the voice behind the mic to task for his record of pessimism regarding this Boston Red Sox team before Game 6 of the World Series that seemed so improbable 12 months ago. I had to head to Fenway Park and be surrounded by a sea of fans of his kind.
Shortly before first pitch, the lines outside each area bar stretched impossibly long in every direction. People trotted up and down Lansdowne and Yawkey Way, some in costumes, some donning fake beards — a signature of this team — and all anxiously awaiting 8:07 p.m., though a vast majority were no doubt ticket-less.
Saint Brady, Our Tom of Michigan stood as tall as ever, sporting his most heavenly UGG boots, on a billboard over the Mass Pike. His gaze into the mob served as a communion wafer of sorts. “Do you accept this team into your heart?”
John Lackey’s first pitch was good for strike one. “Yes, Father. I do.”
A couple of bros contemplated crawling through the cracked window of the WEEI studios as a means to an illicit entrance into the game. A tall gentleman dressed in all black, molding a very serious look on his face, adorned with a badge that read “SWAT” on his jacket, stood by the park’s nearby Gate C entrance. The bros thought better of it and walked away with their manhood intact.
Boston sports fans get sort of a bad wrap. We’re either fairweather poseurs or drunken idiots (the latter true in some cases, but that’s across the board no matter where your allegiance lies). This crowd, for its part, was docile as the game progressed. It was a scene of the utmost civility, save for some choice, unprintable words from a few that were hurled like a fastball at a small group of people begging the sea of red and blue to repent for their sins, playing the part of an opposing slugger crowding their plate.
There was a man with a pet pig named Bobby.
Roughly halfway through these nine innings, state police on bikes formed two adjacent rows and started marching in opposite directions in the middle of Lansdowne, thinning and separating the massive crowd. “Move back,” they chanted in unison, like a group of Spartans about to kick a bunch of baseball fans into a sinkhole.
“We can’t pull over any farther,” yelled one fan, channeling his inner Super Trooper, before he too receded with the tide. The crowd was split in halves, one on each side of Brookline Avenue, a certifiable ghost town between us.
— Ethan Long (@EthanM_Long) October 31, 2013
I found two blokes on my side of town, each one wonderfully intoxicated. Cameron Bush, 23, and Jeremy Kempton, 25, both proudly displayed their Boston sports tattoos. Neither had their shirts on when we first met. Both planned to skip work for the parade.
“What’s work?” asked Kempton.
Really any moment of eavesdropping provided for some truly unforgettably ridiculous quotes.
“Meet me at the intersection with the lights.”
“No one wants to celebrate. No one wants to cause horrible problems.” (This was said as a complaint.)
A chant of “three more outs” has broken out, with some obscenities mixed in for good measure
— BDCwire (@BDCwire) October 31, 2013
And then, it was all good. The Sox had won the World Series, the team’s third since 2004 but the first clinched at Fenway in nearly a century, and people were happy.
Three titles in less than a decade. It’s fair to say that most of the people who lingered around for the party had absolutely no comprehension whatsoever of what it’s like to suffer as a sports fan. This generation just missed out on enough failure to last a good, long lifetime.
For us, it’s all been “unicorns, show ponies, and where’s the [expletive] beef?” At least according to Ikey Dinakis. That’s all he’s known. The 21-year-old North Shore Community College student has seen his baseball and football teams win six titles in the new millenium alone (not to mention titles for the Celtics and Bruins).
So where is the beef?
Don’t ask. It’s not a question. The beef is five fully-grown men climbing what looks like the saddest, most brittle tree to ever sprout from the soil of Boston. It’s draped in toilet paper and its about to buckle under the weight of a city #rejubilated.
[Photo credit: Yoon S. Byun/Globe Staff]
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