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2004: Diary of a Season

Thursday, October 28, Fenway Park

The First Day of the Rest of My Life

They did it! They really did it! The Red Sox won the World Series!

Game 1Game 2Game 3Game 4
No sooner had radio broadcaster Joe Castiglione uttered his now-famous "Can you believe it?" call, than I was jumping up and down screaming, dialing my parents. The phone call went something like this:

My father: "They did it!"
My mother: "We won the World Series!"

At least that's all I remember. I talked with my brother for a while. Later I called the friend I go to games with to celebrate with her. I popped a tape in the VCR to record the postgame celebration. I called in to work to say I'd be taking a vacation day tomorrow. I watched the coverage on every channel until they all went to info-mercials at 3:00. Then it was time to update this website, before the morning news programs started at 5:00. At 6:30 am, I finally went to bed, but I got up again at 8:30 because I didn't want to miss anything. I drove all over town looking for a newspaper, but they were all already sold out. (I should have gone at 6:00 while I was still up!) I watched the news some more, then called in to work, to talk to a couple of co-workers about the victory.

Fenway Park, home of the World Champion Red Sox In the early afternoon, I took the T into Fenway Park, home of the World Champion Red Sox. The line to get inside Twins souvenir store stretched out the door, down Yawkey Way, then turned the corner, and went a block down Brookline. TV crews from the local stations were there, and everyone in the line was grinning ear-to-ear. I grabbed a slice of pizza from the stand next to the souvenir store, and got in line. It was about an hour's wait, but what's another hour when you've already waited 86 years? Cars honked as they drove past. One pickup truck had a guy in the back holding a World Champions pennant and a broom. All of a sudden, I saw a crowd of people running down Yawkey Way chanting "MVP, MVP, MVP!" Sure enough, it was Manny Ramirez, the World Series MVP himself, driving down the street. He stopped the car halfway into the Yawkey-Brookline intersection, and reached out the window to sign autographs. A mob surrounded the car, and I ran over but couldn't get close enough before he drove off a couple of minutes later.

When I finally got inside the souvenir store, and wound through roped-off lines for another half hour, I picked up t-shirts, hats, and pennants for my family and myself. I walked around Fenway Park, but there wasn't much going on. The players' entrance was empty. There were a lot of television cameras, but it was mostly just other fans walking around and smiling.

Saturday, October 30

The Rolling Rally

When the Patriots won their first Super Bowl in 2002, I went to the victory parade. When they won again two years later, everyone asked why I wasn't going to the parade this time. I told them I was going to wait and not go to a victory parade until it was for the Red Sox. Now I had my chance! (And it only took 86 years.) I was on the train before 5 am, and had a great view of the rolling rally from Copley Square. Read the full write-up and see my pictures here.

Thursday, December 2

The trophy tour

My trophy picture The Chairman of the Board at the company I work for is one of the limited partners in the Red Sox ownership group. I knew there had to be some way in which that fact would benefit me, and on December 2, it did. The World Series trophy was coming to work! I was so excited, because I hadn't actually caught a glimpse of it in person during the parade. I figured I'd have to take a day off and travel to one of the rallies at the other New England states to get to see it (this was before they announced it would come to all 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts), but now it was coming to my office, where I could have my picture taken with it! There's normally a fairly conservative dress code, but we were allowed to wear Red Sox t-shirts, sweatshirts, and hats for the occasion. As I got my morning coffee, I watched as a backdrop was set up to look like the Green Monster. I recognized it as part of the set used during the Red Sox Hall of Fame induction which had been televised a few weeks earlier. The trophy was scheduled to arrive at 11:00, with the line forming at 10:45. So I rounded up the people in my group and headed down to the lobby at 10:30. (They teased me that they expected I would have camped out in the lobby all night.) We were in line for about an hour (I spent the whole time hopping up and down saying over and over, "This is the coolest thing ever!"), and then I finally got to see the holy grail of Red Sox Nation, the World Series trophy, the very piece of hardware that Big Papi and Curt had passed around in the clubhouse, in all its glorious splendor. I was wearing my "Wait Till This Year" sweatshirt, and I used the picture on my Christmas cards.

Embree gets to hold my trophy As we neared the end of the line, we heard that Alan Embree was going to be coming between 1 and 2 pm. He wouldn't have time to sign autographs, but would pose for pictures with people. After we'd all taken our turns, it was lunch time, then I went back to my desk to at least get a little bit of work done. Just before 1:00, I grabbed a co-worker and got back in line. Embree showed up on time and as each person got to the front of the line, he'd shake their hand and pose with them next to the trophy. We were almost up the the front of the line as the 2:00 time limit approached, but I didn't think they'd just cut off the line arbitrarily at exactly 2:00. I was sure they'd go a little longer to let those who were already in line have a chance. I was literally the very next person in line to meet Embree, when they came and cut off the line and said that the trophy could stay another two hours but that he had to leave. I said, "One more?" One of the women in charge said, "OK, one more", but Embree apparently wasn't convinced. I walked up anyway, but instead of posing with me, he picked up the trophy and held it over his head. I was right next to him, and my co-worker had my camera, so I leaned over and pointed up at the trophy. It was a good one or two minutes he held up the trophy with me grinning and pointing, while everyone still in line took pictures. I was laughing because I had joked that they didn't need to send a player because I would be willing to pose for photographs with the trophy for eveyone... and now I was! I figured they were all thinking, "Who's that random girl and when is she going to get out of the way?" but hey, when would I ever have this chance again? I did start to step out of the way, but the woman in charge said, "Get back in there, move closer," so I did. It was definitely the coolest thing ever!

Saturday, December 11

Christmas at Fenway

I had just recovered from the lack of sleep during the 2004 postseason and its aftermath, when tickets were already on sale for the 2005 season. For the second year in a row, the Red Sox were hosting Christmas at Fenway, with four-game Sox Pax packages and single-game tickets for a few games in April and May. I had been buying the Opening Day package every year, and it used to be that people who had bought them the year before got the first chance the next year. But now they were up for grabs by anybody, including scalpers. Last year I had gotten to Fenway at 8 am, was #380 in line, and had my tickets by 11:00. This year I knew demand would be higher, because on Opening Day they'd be raising the Championship banner and handing out rings, all while playing the Yankees. There are always some people who camp out overnight, but I figured I'd hit the first train out of Riverside at 4:55 and be one of the first non-campers there. I made the train (the Red Sox are the only thing I will get up that early for!) and was at Fenway by 5:30 am.

The line started at Gate D on the corner of Yawkey Way and Van Ness Street. It was tent after tent of people who had stayed out in the pouring rain all night. The line of tents went down Van Ness to the Ted Williams statue, turned down Ipswich Street, around the corner past the Howard Johnson's and McDonald's on Boylston Street, then turned back onto Yawkey - all four sides of the whole block were tents of people who had been there all night. The end of the line went back to Gate D, then down Van Ness the other direction away from the park, which is where I finally found the end. I got in line, but it did not bode well. It was still dark as one group of campers played wiffle ball in the street. Then shortly after 6:00, the line started to compress as people came out of their tents. We followed the line back around the whole block and wound up on Van Ness near Gate B. The sidewalks were littered with tents, tarps, and folding chairs, abandoned by their owners when the line had moved up.

Curt holds court It was after 9:00 that I finally got in, but I was wristband #1140, which was not good at all. The .406 Club was already full, so we had to wait in the Hall of Fame Club downstairs, where we were able to watch on monitors as Larry Lucchino and Lenny DiNardo showed up with the World Series trophy. A little while later, it was announced that the Opening Day package was already sold out, and they were only up to #450, meaning there were a lot of people who were out in the rain all night who didn't even wind up with them, and it dampened my enthusiasm for the rest of the day. A short while later, they said they had a signing to announce. A couple of days earlier I had heard that a Pedro Martinez deal was all but official, and that an announcement would be imminent. So I assumed that's what the news would be today, but instead I was shocked to hear that the Sox had just signed David Wells to a two-year deal. That was really puzzling, because with Pedro about to re-sign and the Sox having the inside track on free agent Carl Pavano, I didn't see how a 41-year-old, former Yankee, all-around bum fit in. Did that mean Pavano was going to go elsewhere, or that - God forbid - Pedro was not coming back? At Christmas at Fenway last year, Keith Foulke's signing was met with applause. This announcement received confused silence and a smattering of boos.

Posing with my trophy The only redeeming thing about this day was the chance to get our pictures taken with the trophy for a donation in any amount to the Red Sox Foundation. My wristband number came up for trophy viewing before being able to buy tickets, so I went to the suite downstairs where it was on display. (And this time I got to touch it!) When I was done, I went up to the .406 Club, where Curt Schilling had arrived. He answered questions for about 45 minutes, and we gave him a huge standing ovation when he walked off, on crutches after his November ankle surgery.

By the time my friend and I were finally able to get tickets, there wasn't much left. We did manage to find a package that didn't conflict with any of the games in our Tenth Man Plan. We wound up piggy-backed, one behind the other, starting 41 rows back, but we were happy to at least get something.


2004 was certainly a historical season - not just because baseball history was reshaped by that lovable bunch of idiots - but because the personal history of myself and every other fan in Red Sox Nation changed for the better. I always knew they'd win it at some point in my lifetime, but the concept was always so abstract that it was impossible to imagine what it would be like. The world didn't end the night of October 27; instead a whole new world was born. We were liberated from 86 years of pain and frustration, and rewarded for all those dark, trying times when we kept the faith. Being able to see and touch the World Series trophy was the ultimate sign that I was in some small way responsible for the victory. Oh, sure, the players took care of the details on the field, but we fans have put our hearts and souls into this team for generations.

So even though I wasn't able to get a ticket for Opening Day, I'll be there in spirit that day and all year long. How could next year possibly top this one? I can't wait to find out!

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Read other years' diaries:     2001     2002     2003     2004     2005     2006     2007

If you enjoyed my accounts of the 2004 season, you'll love Feeding the Green Monster by Rob Neyer. It was reading his book about the 2000 season that inspired me to write about my experiences in 2001-04. You can read the first chapter online by following the link below.

Feeding the Green Monster Feeding the Green Monster, by Rob Neyer.
The columnist who grew up a Kansas City Royals fan proves you don't have to be from Boston to appreciate Fenway Park. Neyer attended every home game at Fenway in 2000, and his book chronicles the season from a baseball fan's viewpoint. Experience sitting through a cold April game, catching a foul ball, and witnessing a walk-off homer as if you were in the stands yourself.
Paperback - Buy from Details/Order is happy to feature Chapter 1 of Feeding the Green Monster online, courtesy of

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This page and all photos copyright © 2004-2005 by Kristen D. Cornette.