I took the day off today because I just really felt like I and my sore back needed an extra day off. I spent the last two days getting up at 4:30 and getting home at 6:30, driving 175 miles round trip in the process. But I guess I'm not as dedicated a Red Sox fan as I used to be -- in my younger days there is no way I would not know long before the season started what time the home opener would start. Well, lucky for me I decided for other reasons to take the day off because now I'm home to watch not only the first game of the season at Fenway but also to see the team awarded the 2013 World Series Championship banner and ring ceremony...strange I didn't realize given the fact that Rick and I had originally planned on going to the Sox/Brewers game on April 5th, which is tomorrow.
So I'm going to sort of play-by-play this a little. The ceremony begins with a video highlight, of course, of the 2013 Red Sox season, showing from the start the hiring of a new manager and bringing in guys most people thought were support players but not the kind that would ultimately lead to a championship by season's end. The beards were very short. Then we jump to the bombing during the Boston Marathon, which spawned Boston Strong and frankly the springboard for the belief of this team. Remember how close and unexpected Daniel Nava became?
A quick side note: The Red Sox traded outstanding shortshops in two of these three champions
hip seasons -- Nomar in '04 and Iglesias in '13. Would you ever expect that to happen even once? Ortiz and Uehara in the playoffs and World Series, along with "Every little thing gonna by alright," right #18? This all still brings a near tearful smile watching it all unfold again.
Now they start unfurling the World Series banners down the Green Monster, starting with 1903. then 1912, 1915, 1916, 1918. Then all those small old ones are covered over with a gigantic 2004 championship banner that covers the whole Green Monster, then covered by the 2007 banner and then (as if you didn't know what was next)...(while the Boston Pops play) 2013!!!! (refer back to the previous statement about a tearful smile).
Now a bunch of "average folks," presumably fans who won this honor, are walking out of the Monster with 617 numbered Sox jerseys and ring boxes in hand. They could be Sox staff and vendors, sponsors because their seems a lot of familiarity between these folks and the Sox owners and players.
Now the staff, lead by GM Ben Cherrington and the manager and coaches are receiving their rings. This is the only kind of awards show I can get into. There must be close to 100 rings being handed out. Wow. Now to the players, lead by Dustin Pedroia, then John Lester and the rest of last year's starting pitchers. Then on to the rest of the players, lastly Big Papi getting his THIRD championship ring including a special World Series MVP ring that the Sox had made for him.
There might be a bit too much man hugging going on here though.
Now the firefighters of Engine 33 and Ladder 15 are being honored and they're all walking out on the field. People who are not from Boston or New England have little idea how much of a small town and community Boston truly is, and the Red Sox have always been at the heart of it. Now the wives and children of the two firefighters lost recently in that tragic fire.
Alright, where's the damn trophy? It's been sitting on the ring table the whole time but apparently it's not going to be displayed anymore prominently, as we are now introducing the Brewers players for today's game. Yup, Ryan Braun got a big boo.
"And now the defending champions of Major League baseball, can you believe it?" says Joe Castiglione, "the Boston Red Sox!"
I'll note for those who didn't know it, the Red Sox uniforms are very subtly trimmed in gold around the red. Now let's play ball, shall we. Well, of course we need the National Anthem, played by the Dropkick Murphys accompanied by the Boston Pops, followed by "Shipping Up To Boston." Then, just to rub it all in, former Bruin, Celtic, Patriot and Red Sox players carrying in the last 8 championship trophies for the City of Boston. (Mark Recchi, Leon Poe, Teddy Bruschi, Ty Law, Troy Brown, Jason Veritek, Mike Lowell and Pedro Martinez)