Tuesday, April 08, 2008

A Gracious Opening at Fenway

The Red Sox easily handled the shockingly hapless and fangless Detroit Tigers this afternoon at Fenway Park. The score was 5-0, with Dice-K Matsuzaka baffling the Bengal batters, but that was not the real story of the day. The real drama occurred before the game as the Red Sox, in a cavalcade of showmanship and class, celebrated their Word Series Championship of 2007 – and laid to rest the ghosts of the one that got away in 1986. The 2007 Red Sox received their World Series rings - amidst a sea of former Boston championship athletes from the Sox, Celtics, Patriots and Bruins. Championship trophies from all four Boston professional teams caught the afternoon sun and reflected it into the wide eyes of the sellout crowd. The World Series banner was lowered from the wall and the pennant hoisted up the center field flagpole.

And then came the most moving moment of the day. To thunderous applause – atonement being poured out like a healing balm from the throats and the hearts of true baseball fans – ambled Bill Buckner, wiping tears from his eyes. No fan of Red Sox baseball needs to be reminded that Buckner had unfairly been fitted with the goat horns as a result of the stunning collapse in Game 6 of the 1986 Series, allowing the Mets to come roaring back in the 10th inning. Buckner had finally come home from his exile in Boise, Idaho. He had come to face his demons, and found himself enfolded in the loving, decibel drenched angelic embrace of a forgiving Nation. He threw out the ceremonial first pitch, aptly caught by is old teammate, Dwight Evans. In a mid-game interview on WRKO radio, the former Sox first baseman called that walk from the outfield “a healing moment.”

The cry of “Play ball” was uttered by the venerable Johnny Pesky, a living Red Sox icon.

It was a moving and memorable day orchestrated by a franchise that has taught us how to win with elan and dignity and how to celebrate with class and grace.

Go Sox!

Al

2 comments:

C-Money said...

Just got home from the game - the pregame festivities were truly top-notch!

Anonymous said...

Matt C - Being out of town on Opening Day is not easy. It does however, give one the opportunity to see Red Sox Nation from afar. Everyone was talking about the Buckner Homecoming. The First Pitch became much bigger than the game and the sight of all those Boston Champions, now joined by Billy Buck, left others green with envy - not only for championships - but for moments like those the Sox created yesterday. In Boston, we get it right, even if it takes a while, just ask Bill Buckner.