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2007: Diary of a Season
Stop & Shop Food Drive
After finally catching up on my sleep after those hectic few days following the victory, my next goal was to see the new World Series trophy up close. I got my chance a few weeks later, when David Ortiz sponsored a food drive to help victims of flooding after a hurricane had struck the Dominican Republic. It was held at the Stop & Shop in Plainville, MA, and was scheduled from 1:30 to 5:30. I got there at noon. A platform had been constructed as a stage with a Stop & Shop truck behind it to supposedly be the backdrop. There were ropes set up in the parking lot for people to wind through. The line started moving at 12:30, as we handed in our donations of non-perishable items and got in a second line. The Red Sox contingent arrived early, around 1:00, and I was excited to see they had brought both trophies, the one from 2004 as well as the current prize.
As we waited, they had loudspeakers playing "Tessie" and other Dropkick Murphys songs, as well as people to announce the rules: non-perishable food items, toiletries, and cash would all be accepted as donations; one picture per person; and no touching the trophies. We also found out Big Papi himself would be coming around 4:30. The line moved quickly, and I got to the front and had my picture taken at 1:30. I wondered if I should stick around until Papi got there, but I knew that even if he did pose with people, it would just be a few lucky fans who happened to be at the front of the line at the time. So I headed home, and started printing the picture out onto Christmas cards.
World Series DVD Premiere
WBZ's Dan Roche and radio announcer Glen Geffner were the emcees. Each player was introduced and spoke briefly. Manny Delcarmen said how happy he was to have won the World Series with the team he grew up rooting for. Hitting coach Dave Magadan said his wife was from the area, so he knew about the Fenway park atmosphere and jumped at the chance to coach for the Red Sox. Terry Francona received a standing ovation and gave credit to the whole team. Casually-dressed Curt Schilling entered carrying the 2004 trophy and sarcastically thanked Tito for the memo about wearing a suit. Finally, President and CEO Larry Lucchino carried in the 2007 trophy, and the movie began. There was brief coverage of the Red Sox' and Rockies' regular seasons, and all the playoff series each team had to reach the Fall Classic. In the theater, people raised their arms in triumph when Manny Ramirez's walkoff home run against the Angels was shown, and clapped at all the dramatic moments. A month had passed since that glorious night, and it was starting to sink in. The games were so intense when they were played, that there were plenty of details I had forgotten. With Thanksgiving a few days away and winter almost upon us, it was fun to look back on the summer and relive the thrilling championship run.
World Series Trophy Tour
One Thursday in December, the Boston area was pounded by snow. It took me almost two hours to drive the 20 miles home from work that afternoon, but some of my friends and co-workers who have to drive on Route 128 had six-to-eight-hour commutes. In the car, I listened to WEEI, where they were analyzing the Mitchell Report, which outlined steroid use in baseball and had been released that afternoon. The next day, while everyone dug out from the snow, I drove to Maine.
The World Series trophy tour was making its stop in Portland. Hadlock Field, home of the Red Sox' Double A affiliate Sea Dogs, had scheduled the trophy viewing from 11:00 to 4:00. I met up with my parents, who live in Maine and hadn't been able to see the 2004 trophy when it had toured the New England states. We arrived at 10:30, and waited in a line outside in the snow. The local TV stations were there to cover the event, and a couple of people in front of us were ducking behind the snow banks so they wouldn't get caught on camera, because they had called in sick to work to come see the trophy. Finally the line started moving, and we went inside. It would have been cool to have the field and its replica Green Monster as a backdrop, but instead the line wound through the concourse and into a function room. There was the 2007 World Series trophy, in all its splendor, and we all got to have our pictures taken with it. Some people in line had babies and even small dogs dressed in Red Sox attire for their photos.
I was hoping they would bring both championship trophies, instead of just the most recent one. And it would have been fun to see some of the World Champions who had played for the Sea Dogs on their way through the minors like Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Kevin Youkilis, and Jonathan Papelbon. But even without any ceremonial hype, everyone we saw was thrilled just to be able to get up close and personal with the World Series trophy. (I didn't feel snubbed until the following week when I saw that they brought both trophies on the Connecticut portion of the tour.)
The 2007 season had its ups and downs, and I was there for all of it. There were sweet victories in the cold and rain of April and May, including back-to-back-to-back-to-back home runs and a doubleheader sweep, as the Red Sox built a 14-game lead. Then came the hot summer months, and a bunch of frustrating one-run losses when it seemed like clutch hitting had taken a vacation, although fun wins in a game against the Giants and Clay Buchholz's major league debut kept me from losing hope. By the time September rolled around, they kicked it back in gear, and I got to witness yet another Big Papi walkoff home run, an occurrence which never gets old. The Red Sox won the East for the first time in twelve years, and I got the chance to see two memorable playoff victories. When they finally won it all, they may have been 2000 miles away in Colorado, but I knew I had played a role in their Championship season. And that made it every bit as sweet as the first time around, and certainly something I hope I get to be a part of many more times!
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