Go Red Socks: Wait What?

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The 2013 MLB season was an emotional and disappointing one for most Yankee fans. For only the second time since 1996 they failed to reach the postseason, two of their most beloved pitchers, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera, retired and the Boston Red Sox won the World Series. With the Yankees out of the postseason picture, the all-around baseball fan in me came out to make the best of it. That landed me at Fenway Park with my best friend on October 19th for Game 6 of the American League Championship Series. I hate to admit it, but we ended up becoming Red Sox fans for the night.

The idea of going to Game 6 stemmed from a trip to go visit my best friend, Tom Petrini, who is studying at Northeastern University, which is about a 1.5 mile walk from Fenway. Tom is from Wantagh and graduated from Chaminade High School. While watching Game 3 of the ALCS, I thought of how cool it would be to experience a playoff baseball game somewhere other than New York and a place as iconic as Boston. So I searched every ticket website I knew of and found two tickets after about three days. As two die-hard Yankee fans, we could never picture ourselves getting so excited to see the Red Sox play.

So now fast forward to that Saturday. As soon as I step out of my train, you can tell what this game means to the city. It really hit me what this could mean when my friend walked us past Copley Square where the Boston Marathon bombing occurred earlier this year. Some buildings were still repairing damage from the attack.

As we were walking to Fenway, we saw traffic jams of people in Red Sox gear yelling “Let’s go Sox!” out of their windows. It was the perfect night for playoff baseball: a cool, brisk night with a great pitching matchup in an old ballpark. I always felt like the older the park, the more of a mystique it adds to the game. Fenway is a great facility. It’s a smaller capacity ballpark but it’s always one of the loudest. One thing that was cool to see in person was the “Green Monster,” the 37 foot high wall in left field. There’s seating all the way at the top but it’s used for the auxiliary scoreboard and advertisements. There was a lot of tradition involved, old and new. One of those traditions, started during the 2004 ALCS, was having Boston-based Celtic rock band The Dropkick Murphy’s perform the national anthem and their song “Shipping Up To Boston” during home playoff games where the Sox could win the series.

You could feel the energy in the stands as soon as Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz sailed his first pitch in for a strike. I went into the game thinking I would just be neutral and enjoy the game. That became harder to do with the numerous chants and the sense of urgency that you felt for Boston to win the game. By the 6th inning, Tom and I were rooting for the Sox as much as every other fan.

Then, one of those magical postseason moments happened in the 7th inning. The bases were loaded; Detroit had just brought in a new pitcher with the Sox down by one run. The batter was Shane Victorino, who was having a terrible time offensively during the whole series. Prior to Victorino’s at-bats throughout the night, he would walk up to the song Three Little Birds by Bob Marley and the crowd would sing along and you could practically feel the stadium shaking. On a 0-2 pitch from Jose Veras, Victorino would make everyone forget about his struggles as he sent the pitch deep into the “Green Monster” for a grand slam. That sent Fenway into a frenzy as the Sox took the lead 5-2.

From that point on, it was the Red Sox game to lose. Every fan stood until the last pitch when Koji Uehara struck out Jose Iglesias to send Boston to their first World Series since 2007. The ballpark exploded, all the Red Sox players ran out and started mobbing each other. During the trophy presentations, David Ortiz briefly mentioned the marathon bombing saying “I just want to say one thing… This is our bleep city!” referring to the speech he gave the first Red Sox game after the attack, which wasn’t as clean. They would go on to beat the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series four games to two. This was also the first time the Red Sox would clinch the World Series at home since their 1918 championship.

To Tom and I, this was probably the best baseball game we had ever been to. From the crowd atmosphere, to the actual game, to watching the celebration on Yawkey Way and much more made it awesome. This was a Red Sox team that was very hard to root against. They played a big role in relieving some of the pain felt after the bombing and you could just see there was a lot of camaraderie between the players. Also, from a baseball fans perspective, it was incredible to see them win it all after being the worst team in the AL East during the 2012 season.

My allegiance to the Yankees will be back in full swing by April, but I have no problem letting the Red Sox enjoy this victory. They deserved it.

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