Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Opening Day at Fenway

Aside for the whole grad school quagmire, I must admit that I lead a pretty darned good life. Yesterday, I attended opening day at Fenway Park, complete with the ring ceremony to celebrate the Red Sox 2007 World Series victory.
I went to the game with my roommate Ern and her brothers Colin and Timm. We had standing room only tickets but nabbed a decent little area in which to stand up in the grandstands behind first base. The reason why I am wearing a ridiculous hood in this photo is that, despite the sunshine, yesterday was really frickin cold and windy. For some reason, I don't mind watching football games in 20 degree weather, but when it comes to baseball, anything less than 60 degrees is practically intolerable.

We got there early to watch the ring ceremony, which was by far the highlight of the day. They started out by lowering banners for each one of the 20th century World Series Championships:

FYI: the little flags along the scoreboard are the "Flags of the World" and the orchestra in the middle contains members of the Boston Pops.

Next came a giant banner for the 2004 win:

At this point, the cheering was getting louder and louder as everyone awaited what we knew was coming next. However, the strong gusts of wind created some technical difficulties, so there was some initial trouble getting the 2007 banner to properly unfurl. Apparently whoever was in charge of this never hung a homemade banner out a dorm window, because they would have known to weigh down the bottom.

Aaah, that's better:

The lowering of the giant 2007 banner was my favorite part of the day. I'm getting goosebumps again just thinking about it. Next up was the ring ceremony. Red Sox coaches, staff, and players proceeded down the red carpet one by one down to receive their rings.

Youk (easy to spot by his big, bald head):

Everyone knew when Papelbon was about to come out...because since when did the Pops start covering the Dropkick Murphys?

Last up was the team's heart and soul, David Ortiz:

After Papi picked up his ring, he beckoned to the rest of the team and they started following him into the outfield. I was initially confused "Where is Papi taking them?" until it was announced that they were going to raise the smaller, permanent 2007 World Series flag.

Once that was through, they hung a gigantic American Flag across the Green Monster (In case you're wondering, those holes were deliberately cut into the fabric to mitigate the wind problem, a fact that I realized a split second after I loudly exclaimed "Oh no! It ripped!"), the Pops played the anthem, and the now-forgiven Bill Buckner threw out the first pitch. Play ball!

Here are some photos from the game. Anchored by a strong performance by Dice K, the Red Sox ended up defeated the Detroit Tigers 5-0.

Outside Fenway before the game:

Ladies Love Jason Varitek at bat:

Ern and I during one of our numerous trips to the beer line:

Colin attempting to warm himself against some sunny bricks:

Steven Tyler singing "God Bless America." For the record, I hate this new tradition. The Yankees started it; let it be their thing. I don't see why the rest of the league had to start copying them.

We can have our own traditions, like a hawk that attacks anyone named A Rod. I did see the Fenway hawk swooping around during the game, but luckily it didn't get close enough for me to see the bloody dead rat it was carrying.

For the 8th and 9th innings, we moved down to the good seats after all of the corporate types had cleared out. Okajima on the mound:

Overall, it was a great day, a perfect day except for two little mishaps. Somehow, both Ern and I managed to fall down and injure ourselves on the uneven Boston sidewalks after the game. Multiple trips to the beer line had nothing to do with it, I swear.
I had never been to an Opening Day before, and as a Red Sox fan, it was really a special treat to be there for the ring ceremony.
If the Celtics win the NBA title, this year will be my apex as a sports fan.


Caity said...

I was there too! What a fantastic day! I'm waiting on some better pictures before I write my post. :)

Anonymous said...

"God Bless America" is sung/played during the baseball games not because it was a Yankee tradition but because the teams voted to do it to honor America right after 9/11. The Sox have continued the tradition. However many teams just do it during important or nationally televised games.

eileen said...

I know that's why they started doing it, but I still consider it copying the Yankees. I'd prefer it if the Sox could find an alternate way to express patriotism, perhaps by donating a certain percentage of ticket sales to the families of soldiers killed or wounded in battle, or something like that. But that's just my opinion.

Briana said...

Hey E- Great pix! I wish I was there. I'm moving up to Vermont in August, so I'll be back in Sox territory soon...

Wanted to express my appreciation for the Fenway hawk link as well. That picture of the fans behind the hawk is hilarious! The chicken wings!

Talk to you soon,

Ryan said...

Voted? I am not sure why but that seems comical.

Kevin said...

That's cool that you were at Opening Day. Good stuff. As for this year being the apex, it would have been slightly (ok, significantly) better if a certain team won in Arizona in February. Oh well.