Monday, October 01, 2007

My Celebration Pictures

Friday night, September 28th, 2007. The Red Sox have just won, putting the magic number at one.

By chance, my friend Joanna, aka Empyreal Environs, was at the game, in the same section as me, 10 rows down and five over, with Matt, who used to do that Red Sox Mojo site. There are the two of them facing you and taking pictures. This must be Joanna's "final score shot." (Her pics of the night are here and here.)

After "Dirty Water" played, my dream of seeing the Yanks' game on the scoreboard came true. I was hoping for the watch 'n' clinch, which, as we know, totally happened. However, the Yanks had been winning all night, and when their game went up on the board, it was 8-6 Yanks in the eighth. The first two batters we got to watch got hits, making it 9-6. Lots of fans left Fenway at that point. (With a chance to see a celebration--terrible job!) The moon is barely visible above the scoreboard.

Of course, Empy, Matt and I are now able to hang out together, in the front row in center field, leaning on the wall, looking up at the board, as much of Fenway is now dark. After the top of the eighth, Fenway plays "Tessie," and the board scans what remains of the crowd, before throwing it back to "My9" (a few Yanks games are on free TV, channel 9, with the same crew as their Yes Network games). As if this night isn't surreal enough already, Michael Kay is basically now your Fenway Park public address guy, even mentioning twice that the folks at Fenway are watching the game on the scoreboard, causing us o break into applause.

Did you know some of the seat numbers at Fenway are written in? Anyway, the O's don't score in the eighth, and "Joy to the World" is played, in its normal position, but with the interruption of an inning of the other game, just like with "Tessie." This is rare, people. We know the O's only have one more chance, and lots more people leave.

I wanted to get closer to the dugout in case the O's win, and there's a celebration. Of course, we don't even know if the Red Sox players have gone home or not. But we're hoping. So we end up in the right field grandstand, not getting too close to the dugout as to jinx anything. "Don't worry, baseball goddesses, we're just moving so we, uh, don't have to crane our necks...."

We end up going to the bottom of the ninth in Baltimore. Now, you gotta realize something. I bought tickets to the last three games of the season back in December 2006. Not for shits and giggles, but to see the Red Sox clinch. So when my girlfriend's mom and her boyfriend, both big Sox fans, inexplicably announced this summer that they'd be getting married on the last weekend of the regular season, worry set inside me, and wouldn't leave until this night. I could tell by my girlfriend's tone of voice when we started talking about it that there would be no "attend wedding and then rush out door to game" on that Saturday. But when the talk turned to how I might have to be there Friday for the rehearsal, Sunday for some kind of post-marital brunch, I had to stand my ground. I was totally happy to give up my tickets Saturday. I was theirs for that entire day. Of course. But Friday and Sunday--as long as they didn't end up being totally meaningless, I had to hang on to. And there was no problem with this--it turns out I wasn't even going to be invited to the rehearsal anyway, and we could have a nice brunch Sunday well before the 2 PM game. So, as the weeks went on, we could see these games would have meaning. I'd given my Saturday tickets to a friend who'd never been to Fenway, and I was willing to live with the consequences. But after Thursday, when the Sox failed to clinch with me at the park, I was starting to wonder if I would ever be able to let these newlyweds live this one down, as Saturday looked like the most likely clinch day. So what I'm trying to say is, I NEEDED THIS TO HAPPEN ON THIS NIGHT. That's why I'd fully visualized the whole thing. We win, we watch the Yanks lose, the players come out and we celebrate with them. Above, my will-power amazingly allows the O's to tie the game in the ninth, with a two-out, three-run triple off the Great Mariano.

As the Twins players headed for their hotel, we'd moved even closer to the dugout. We sweated the top of the tenth out, as Jeter led off with a double, but Chad Bradford somehow held them to no runs. It was so cool watching this game, and doing all the stuff you'd do if you were actually there. After Kevin Millar couldn't get the job done, Melvin Mora won it with a bases loaded, two-out bunt in the tenth. And "Dirty Water" starts to play AGAIN, as we all go absolutely bananas.

We're down by the fence now, hoping the Sox would come out and run around the field. The scoreboard was showing them in the clubhouse, celebrating. Then we heard cheers and saw flashes. We knew they'd come out onto the field. This shot is from then--you can tell there's cool stuff going on down there. At that point, we sprinted toward the dugout.

Papi is out on the field, with some others. And we are going crazy.

Papi and Lowell, as Coco pops a cork.

Look in the air! A flying cork!

Some guys went out and showered the bullpen cop.

Schilling and Pedroia.

Schilling, Youk, and Beckett hugging his young son--I mean Pedroia! (At right, the "American Psycho" security guy--you know what I'm talkin' about?)

Ortiz is interviewed. The celebration has yet to turn totally crazy.

Papi went out to the outfield and came back.

You can see Papi being interviewed, with a live shot of it on the board.

Bobby Kielty with a bottle.

A few people hung out on the other side, and got sprayed a few times, too.

At far left, Papelbon, who came out in his underwear and goggles.

Pap goes to hug Delcarmen.

Lil' Papi and Lil' Manny.

David Ortiz and Mike Timlin.

Papi and Timlin hug.

More from the "Papi Sprays Pap" collection.

And even more.

Now Pap and Papi embrace.

And the moon still hangs over Fenway.

Mad celebrating.

The way it worked was, a player would be interviewed, and then doused with beer or champagne. Over and over and over.

This is Schilling getting it.

Crazy Chris Collins from NECN! You called it, dude! The division was wrapped up all along. Here he interviews Coco.

Much of the team celebrating together. Absent were Drew and Manny.

Then Ortiz starts doing that Hulk Hogan move, putting hand on ear to try to get each side of the crowd to outdo the other. I shot a brief video of this, a little too late, which I'll add later. That's Wakefield behind him. (Update, video below.)

Chris interviews David.

Two shots of Coco, who was psyched!

Al East Champs!!!!

Kevin Youkilis is doused.

More Youk-dousing.

A big spray.

Coco in his sandals, which would later disappear.

Papelbon had been running around the whole time like a nut job. Here he is with a beer box over his head with eye-holes poked out. To the right of him, you see all the players patiently waiting for an interview to end so they can....

...douse whoever it was.


Tito interviewed, with Larry Lucchino at right.

Beckett takes a sip.

Pap's box has just been ripped off his head, and Youk does kind of a fall-back douse.

Jon "Sid" Lester!


Coco sprays people, including Kelly! (aka Sitting Still--click here for her pics--TRUST ME) The "L" in Volvo is pointing right up to her. After the celebration, I'd meet Kelly in person for the first time. The only other person I knew at this game was JS, but unfortunately I didn't find her.

Coco Crisp, now barefooted.

Papelbon and Gagne went on top of the dugout, the closest I got to getting actual cele-spray on my person.

Lowell and Cora on the other dugout.


Tek up on our dugout.

Theo pours champagne on Tito, who covers his face.

Lots o' Sox. This freakin' celebration would not end! And we loved it! Fun trivia: when the Red Sox won the Al East in 2007, the second-place club was the New York Yankees.

All of a sudden, everyone was looking up behind me. It was Alex Cora up in the press area.

Here, some players start to notice him. What he was doing was deejaying. He'd play each of the players' theme songs, and that player would dance to it or whatever. Cora would start a tune, and the dudes would either approve or reject it. They all said no to "Iron Man," which I thought was bogus. But I didn't see Lowell complaining.

Here they are, acknowledging Cora.

When "Shipping Up To Boston" came on, Papelbon broke into a jig.

Here, he's still dancing, with the serious "dance face" on.

Beckett is happy to hear whatever countrified "rock" song that just came on.

With this, one of the final dousings, my battery finally runs out. It was almost midnight. Incredible night. My one regret was not getting a shot of Castiglione, who I saw on the field after my battery was dead.

We'd already made the playoffs, as had the Yanks, but this was just one "in your face" to all the people who assumed we'd choke. All these fools for some inknown reason, acted like our team is one that automatically blows it every year. I seem to recall a year VERY recently in which we won the World Series. But all these goddamn Yankee lovers in the national media have joined Yankee fans in ERASING IT FROM THEIR MEMORY. Okay, you wanna say we "never" win the division, or whatever? Consider us not winning the AL East in 2004 a small stumble on the way to winning a marathon. No one should remember the stumble, just the final result. You'd think Yankee people would know this. So to all you trendy ass holes who thought you'd get a little attention for going with the "Here's why the Red Sox will choke--again, haha! I'm so clever!" angle, well, first of all, the trend you were following didn't exist, as the Red Sox had already erased decades of disappointments by WINNING THE WORLD SERIES (remember?), and second of all, TERRIBLE JOB, you were totally wrong. See you in hell, jealous scumbags.

(The initial set of pics I posted from that night are below, or click here.)

Oh, I almost forgot. The next day, the wedding was perfect, and we worried not about baseball--save for me showing everybody my pics from the night before, which I left in my camera for just that purpose. Congratulations to the newlyweds! You planned it perfectly after all!

Great pics, Jere. I put up a post on my blog today alerting other Sox fans to check them out.

Good job my friend!
Thank you, Quinn! You rule!
Thanks to all your quirky (and I mean that in the best possible way) traits and superstitions, they did it! It was only right that you were there in person to see it happen. Now you gotta step it up a notch, well three actually, to see them all the way through to World Champions.
Your enthusiasm is highly contagious.
Thanks! Just added the Papi 8-second video to this post.
Wow, Jere--what a fabulous set of pictures! Pity your battery died, though. I've been victim of dead-battery-syndrome several times I wish I hadn't been...
Jere, thank you SO much for this post and all the great pics. You really captured the spirit of the celebration, as much as one can catch a wild thing with a blog.

I really loved this and will link to it tomorrow. Not that wmtc readers necessarily care, but so what.

Congratulations to Jere's Girlfriend's Mom and Her Boyfriend on their wedding. Your timing was perfect!
Liza, I'm not even regretting the battery dying, as it lasted me the whole game, plus nearly all of the celebration. I was just about out of pictures anyway, so it worked out. I really didn't miss anything except Castig. (But I made up for that today at the Rally, pics of that to come.)

L: So glad you enjoyed. Thanks for linking me!
Awesome pics. Man I miss Fenway - unfortunately, all 3 games I went to this year were at Yankee Stadium. Hope you're able to see some playoff games in person and post more pics. I linked to the gallery on my blog. Keep it up!

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Location: Rhode Island, United States