Now, the prospect of going to Opening Day would be exciting enough for me... but the fact that our boys won the World Series last October (had you heard?) and the opening ceremony would therefore be a MAJOR CELEBRATION was just icing on the cake with sprinkles.
As you can probably imagine, anybody within about a 5 mile radius of Fenway was in full Red Sox gear (my party included). And the just by the sheer number of people in total excitement mode within a 10 mile radius of the park, I couldn't help but wonder, "Does anyone in Boston work!?"
I guess that's why they call Opening Day the first unofficial holiday of the year in Boston.
Once inside the park, we had the required beers, Fenway Franks in hand and got to our seats, which are along the first base line, just as the outfield begins.
The Boston Pops played as the "2007 World Series Champions" flag was draped over the Green Monster. Talk about chills!
Then they announced the Boston Bruins, Boston Celtics and New England Patriots players who had come to celebrate the festivities. I was happy to see my mom's bud Tedy Bruschi had made the trip there. ;)
And then it was time for the ring ceremony.
The players came out one by one to receive their rings to a huge standing ovation, with the Boston Pops playing a different song for each guy.
Of course, you probably already know (or can make an educated guess about) what they played when Jonathan Papelbon came out:
I was hoping to get a little dance out of him, but I guess the timing wouldn't have been too appropriate. Oh well.
And then it was time for the first pitch. Now, I was kind of too young in 1986 to fully appreciate the whole hullabaloo around Bill Buckner's fateful error in the playoffs.
I just remember still hearing about it years later and thinking, "It couldn't have been JUST this guy's fault they lost."
In any case, there was some chattering in the stands about who would be throwing out the first pitch. The annoying woman from Medford behind us (who did not stop talking loudly the entire game) had heard it was going to be Bill Buckner.
Well, soon enough we discovered she was right. (She was, however, wrong in saying that the New Kids On the Block would be singing the National Anthem, thank goodness. As one of my brothers said, if they wanted to hear 40,000 drunk people boo, bringing out NKOTB would have been a good move.)
When they announced that Bill Buckner would be throwing the first pitch, and he started walking to the pitcher's mound from left field, the crowd went crazy. I'm not sure about the name of the piece the Boston Pops was playing as he walked out, but it fit the moment perfectly.
Buckner was wiping his eyes as he walked out, waving to the cheering crowd, and I must say, even I felt myself getting a little Verklempt. It was a beautiful thing to witness.
Then, during the 6th inning, we heard another person sitting behind us say, "I just saw Aerosmith when I went to get a beer! He was surrounded by like a million security people."
Now, we all know (besides, of course, that guy) that Aerosmith is a band, not a person. He was obviously referring to Steven Tyler OF Aerosmith. And lo and behold, guess who came out during the 7th inning stretch to sing "America The Beautiful?"
a little bit feminine looking Steven Tyler. We were pretty close to him, so I was able to get a few good shots. Here's one:
The actual game itself was pretty uneventful, but the Red Sox did shut out the Detroit Tigers, so the "win" part was pretty nice.
It was a good day.