Sunday, April 06, 2014

A Perfect Opening Day Celebration At Fenway Park (Except For The 9th Inning)

I was so moved by the Opening Day ceremonies at Fenway Park on Friday that I determined to try to capture the essence of the event in a Blog post.  And then I read Chad Finn's piece on  I realized that he had seen the event through the same eyes that I had seen it and had felt many of the same emotions that had given me chills.  And he told the story in such an engaging way that I knew I could not do much to improve on his version of the iconic moment.

Here are some of his thoughts as laid out in his piece:

"Dr. Charles Steinberg, the maestro and mastermind of these celebrations, got it right again, and that cannot be an easy thing to do. Opening Day 2005 was the completion of the catharsis, the blueprint for how to celebrate. Finally, the championship flag we thought we may never see was draped over the Green Monster. Derek Lowe and Dave Roberts came back to celebrate one last time with the teammates they'd left behind. Mariano Rivera was in on the joke, the ever-gracious most-respected opponent. It could never be better.

Yet in 2008 -- the tribute to the unsung machine that the '07 champs became -- it was pretty damn close. The tears in Bill Buckner's eyes told us that the forgiveness sent his way so long ago finally had reached him. Johnny Pesky was still with us. Ol' Yaz even managed a couple of smiles. It was a swell time, original enough from three years prior to stand alone. 

But this? This today? Well, I wondered. It would easy for it to devolve into saccharine sentiment. It would be easy to be redundant. Instead, it was perfect. Perfect. And if you could not see it that way, it's time to wipe the clouding cynicism from your eyes." 

Click below to read the entire article:

Later in his article. Mr.Finn describes what to him and to me was the most moving moment of an afternoon filled with gems to be treasured in memory forever.  The Red Sox players had received their rings and lined up in center field to grab the rope that they would all pull on together to raise to the top of the flagpole both the American Flag and the World Series banner.  Once they had hoisted the flags, they were joined by Boston firefighters from Engine 33 and Ladder 15, and together the Sox players and firefighters gently lowered the flags to half staff in tribute to their comrades who had fallen last week in the tragic fire that raged just a few blocks away from the Fenway neighborhood.

It was a stellar moment in a ceremony filled with class, dignity and the proper sense of proportion that walked the fine line between celebration and somber remembrance.

The Boston Pops under maestro Keith Lockhart added their special sauce to the Dropkick Murphys' "Shipping Up To Boston,"  Mayors Menino and Walsh combined to thrown out the first pitch accompanied by players from the Celtics, Bruins, Patriots and Red Sox who hoisted the eight championship trophies local teams had won during Menino's incumbency.  In light of the former mayor's declining health, it was another poignant moment.

It was a special day.  Now, if we can just find a way to beat the mighty Brewers, everything will be fine in old Beantown.



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