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2007: Diary of a Season

Friday, October 5 - Fenway Park, Section 32

Division Series Game 2 - Red Sox 6, Angels 3

When I had gone to Game 1 on Wednesday, I went to Fenway early. As I walked around the park, I noticed that the day-of-game ticket line on Lansdowne Street was only halfway down the street at the time. It looked reasonable that everyone who was there at that point would get in. I decided I'd have to try for Game 2. I'd be crazy not to! So I took a vacation day off from work on Friday and went in to Fenway after lunch. That night's game wasn't until 8:37, with day-of-game ticket sales starting just after 6:30 when the gates would be opening. I brought a backpack with a Red Sox beach towel to sit on the sidewalk on, a sweatshirt in case it got cool later, printouts of all the Red Sox stories from that morning's Globe and Herald websites, a couple of Sudokus to pass the time, and my Walkman so I could listen to the Indians/Yankees game at 4:00. The line starts at Gate E, and I settled in halfway down the length of the Green Monster in the early afternoon. The weather was unseasonably warm that week. It was sunny and in the 80's during the day, an absolutely beautiful day to be sitting outside in the shade of the Green Monster all afternoon, and completely unlike every other playoff game I had ever been to. As I read my newspaper articles, a guy got in line behind me. He was carrying a metal folding chair that he said he had just bought from some guys down the street for $2. He said he had waited in the day-of-game ticket line for Game 1 also, and although he was a little closer in line that time, he said that we were close enough that we should have no problem getting in.

The day-of-game ticket line at Fenway Park for 2007 ALDS Game 2 Around 3:00 some Red Sox staffers came by and handed out free water bottles and Red Sox bracelets to everyone in line. At 4:00, they passed out numbered slips of paper, then they returned an hour later to make sure that no one was cutting in line. As the afternoon went on, the line extended all the way down Lansdowne Street to Gate C and beyond. When the Sausage Guy set up his cart in front of the parking garage, I grabbed one for supper. People played catch with a football and a frisbee in the street, moving out of the way whenever a car drove past. It was hard to follow the early game on my headphones, but it sounded like the Yankees had taken a 1-0 lead. 6:30 came and everyone stood up, expecting the line to start moving. I know the gates never open exactly two hours before the game like they're supposed to; it's often 15 minutes later than we expect. But it was closing in on 7:00 when the line finally started to move. Now I just had to wait for the 150 or so people in front of me to purchase their tickets. On the radio, I heard that Cleveland had tied up the game.

I finally got to the front of the line around 7:30. There were still some $25 bleacher tickets available, but since this was a special occasion, I opted for a $45 grandstand ticket. It was great to be able to get into a playoff game at the last minute for face value. All it took was a little patience on my part, but that was a small price to pay! The seat was a great one in Section 32. There were no poles near me to block any part of the field, and since it was the no-alcohol section, I didn't have all kinds of people walking up and down in front of me the whole game. In fact, since I was almost in the middle of the section, I only had to get up to let people pass twice during the entire four-plus-hour game. (They were showing the Yankees/Indians game on the Jumbo-Tron before our game started, so I put my Walkman away when I entered the park. But I did get updated on the final score. When the Indians finally won in the eleventh inning, a guy in my section who had been listening on the radio stood up and announced, like a modern-day Paul Revere, "The Yankees just lost! The Yankees just lost!" earning himself an ovation from everyone in the section.)

Read all the details of what ended up being one of the most thrilling playoff wins in Red Sox history in my ALDS Game 2 recap.

This was not the quick, crisp game that Josh Beckett had pitched in Game 1. Daisuke Matsuzaka labored through his outing with his usual high pitch count. And since the game hadn't even started until 8:37, I was worried about making the last Green Line train out of Kenmore at 12:35. If the train was not running when the game ended, it would be impossible to catch a cab back to my car with 37,000 other people all trying to do the same thing. ("You'd better hurry up, Dice-K," I kept muttering, "or you're going to have to drive us all home.") The ball Manny Ramirez launched over the Monster for the game-winning shot may never have come down, but he crossed the plate into a leaping mass of teammates at 12:45. He actually did an interview, which was shown on the Jumbo-Tron. I stuck around to watch, although I couldn't hear any of it because we chanted, "Manny, Manny" through the whole thing. People were still chanting as I waited in line for the ladies' room, and as I walked down the street toward Kenmore Square. Much to my relief, when I got to the T station, the trains were still running, so I wouldn't have to hitchhike home with Dice-K after all. I got back to my car at 2:00, and was home just before 3:00.

Wednesday, October 24 - Fenway Park

World Series Game 1

The Red Sox wrapped up the Division Series with a win in Game 3 and sat back to await the winner of the other series. The Indians beat the Yankees in four games, and arrived at Fenway Park for Game 1 of the ALCS, where they were promptly shut down by Josh Beckett. Cleveland came back to win the next three games and push the Sox to the brink of extinction. But considering their comeback from being down 3-0 in the 2004 ALCS, a 3-1 deficit didn't seem as daunting. Beckett dominated again in Game 5, bringing the series back to Boston. Game 6 was J.D. Drew's turn to step up, and his first inning grand slam put the game out of reach. In Game 7, the two teams battled through a close game with the Sox clinging to a 3-2 lead... until the seventh and eighth innings when they broke it open with eight runs, thanks to huge hits from Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis. Coco Crisp made a great catch crashing into the center field wall to end the game, and the Sox were on their way back to the World Series! And just like I did in 2004, I went in to Fenway Park on the afternoon of Game 1.

Jonathan Papelbon's dog, Boss I didn't have a ticket for the game, but I just wanted to be at Fenway and experience the World Series atmosphere. My friend and I met for lunch in Kenmore Square and then walked up the street to the park. The ticket line was really long, and it looked like most of the people had been there overnight as well as all day. (One had a sign, "No cameras, please. My boss thinks I'm sick.") We went around to the players' parking lot and watched as they all drove in: Jason Varitek, Hideki Okajima, Royce Clayton, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Alex Cora, Julio Lugo, Manny Delcarmen, John W. Henry, Johnny Pesky, Kevin Youkilis, David Ortiz, Curt Schilling, Eric Gagne, Jon Lester, Coco Crisp, and J.D. Drew. Jonathan Papelbon drove up with his whole family, including his parents, his wife, and his dog. His father waited outside with the dog while the others followed him inside. Someone in the crowd asked what the dog's name was, and we found out it was Boss. He was wearing a Red Sox doggie sweater and Red Sox leash. Boss would become famous at the end of the week, when Papelbon claimed that his dog ate the World Series final out ball. I assumed that was just a joke and that he had kept the ball, but the dog does look - just as the closer himself often does - like he's up to some sort of mischief! We recognized another famous face when Bronson Arroyo arrived, ready to watch his old team.

When the players had all arrived, we went around the corner onto Yawkey Way. I took a couple of pictures of the "2007 American League Champions" banner at the end of the street. When I turned around, I saw a reporter from Channel 56 and a cameraman. They asked my friend and I if we were Jon Lester fans. We said yes, and they said they were doing a piece on him and wanted to interview us. I don't remember saying anything eloquent; we both basically said his story was inspiring, his comeback had been impressive, and that we were happy for him to be getting a chance to start in the World Series. After that, it was time for an Italian sausage, and then we left so we could be back home in time to watch the game. One of my co-workers saw my interview on the 10:00 news, and shared that info with the other early arrivers at the office the next morning. When I walked in, they all started clapping and asking for autographs. The funny part is that one of my friend's co-workers saw it too, and she received the same reception when she got to work the next day.

Monday, October 29 - Fenway Park

Just past 10 pm Mountain time on October 28, 2007, Jonathan Papelbon blew strike three past Seth Smith of the Colorado Rockies, and the Red Sox were World Champions! Watching a new cast of characters achieve the ultimate prize was every bit as sweet as our original curse-breaking triumph of 2004. There was so much to do - tape the post-game celebrations on every channel; talk for hours to my parents, my brother, and my friend; and of course update this website. Just like I did in 2004, I stayed up all night to celebrate. But unlike last time when I went to bed at 6:30 am just to find that all the newspapers in town were sold out when I woke up later, this time I went out at 6 am to look for a paper. Out here west of Boston, most stores just had early editions which said "Late scores not included". I did find a MetroWest Daily News that proclaimed the Red Sox champions, but the victory editions of the Globe and Herald hadn't made it out here yet. I went back home and watched a little of the early morning news shows. I went to bed around 7, but set my alarm for 10:00. At work we had an upgrade scheduled to go in at noon, and I had worked it out with my boss that I'd use a half vacation day and be there by noon.

2007 World Series Champions Everything went smoothly at work, and we started talking about how the team bus would be arriving back at Fenway just before 5:00. I hadn't planned on going in, because I figured I'd be at work all afternoon. So I was dressed in my business clothes, including high heels, and I hadn't brought my camera. My co-workers convinced me that since I'd be done with my half-day at 4:00, I could still make it to Fenway in time. It was kind of crazy, but I borrowed a digital camera from one of my co-workers and headed in. I didn't think there'd be enough time to take the T, so I drove in and looked for a parking meter. What was I thinking? I circled around, but it got closer and closer to 5:00, and I didn't want to come all this way and then end up missing it. So I put the car in a garage somewhere off Mass. Ave., and proceeded to walk, still in my heels, over half a mile to Fenway.

People were lined up behind barriers all along Yawkey Way and Van Ness Street, so deep that it was hard to squeeze past. I made it to the corner where the players' parking lot is, but the crowd was about 20 deep at that point, and I couldn't see much of anything. I did have a good view of the brand new "2007 World Series Champions" banner, and of the stage on which NESN was broadcasting its coverage. My parents were watching on TV, and they called to tell me when the buses were getting close. All I could see was the tops of the buses. I cheered when the players were supposedly getting off, but I couldn't see them or the trophy that they were taking turns holding aloft. Most players went inside to gather their things, and after awhile the crowd started to thin. As it got dark, I was able to get closer to the front, so I did catch a glimpse of Curt Schilling as he drove away. Finally I realized that there wasn't much else left to see, plus I was exhausted and my feet were killing me. I walked all the way back to the car and drove home. I finally crashed at 10:00, but I set the alarm for 4 am, because the Rolling Rally victory parade was the next day, and I needed to get a good spot.

Tuesday, October 30

The Rolling Rally

I work in IT, and twice a year we have a Disaster Recovery Test, to verify that we could recover our systems offsite in the event of a disaster. The tests run for 36 hours and coverage is mandatory for everyone in my group. As luck would have it, our next test was scheduled for Tuesday, the same day as the parade. I was supposed to work the day shift, 8:00 am to 6:00 pm, but I was able to trade with one of my co-workers so that I could still make the parade. The catch was that I'd have to be at work at midnight after the parade, and stay till at least 10 am the next day.

The day of the parade I sprang out of bed at 4:00 am like only a newly-crowned World Champion could do. I was in Copley Square by 6:30, where I met up with my parents, brother, and friends. Read all about the Rolling Rally and see my pictures here.

I got back home around 4 pm, and after I had already walked in the door it occurred to me that I had forgotten to go to Taco Bell to claim the free taco that Jacoby Ellsbury had won for everyone in the country when he stole second base in Game 2. I was too tired to go back out at that point. I went to take a nap at 7 pm, but set the alarm for 10:00 so that I could make it to work by midnight. Somehow I was able to stay awake all night to complete my shift (thanks to a lot of caffeine). I drove home from work on Wednesday morning, and watched my tape of NESN's parade coverage. I finally went to bed at 7:30 that night. It was Halloween, but I hadn't had time to buy any candy. I don't know if any trick-or-treaters came by, but after three straight nights with only a couple of hours' sleep, I was so soundly asleep that they could have knocked on the door all night and I wouldn't have heard them. It was finally time to catch up on my sleep and start savoring the victory.

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This page and all photos copyright © 2007-2008 by Kristen D. Cornette.