Buzzing Boston ready to celebrate -- safely
Red Sox can clinch World Series at home for first time since 1918
BOSTON -- Rarely does a sporting event alter the schedule of the President of the United States.
But so prepared is the city of Boston to celebrate a potential World Series title on Wednesday that President Obama will be leaving before Game 6 begins at 7:30 p.m. ET on FOX (first pitch 8:07).
President Obama, in town to speak on health-care reform at Faneuil Hall in the late afternoon, will be gone by 7 p.m., mayor Thomas Menino told local reporters. Menino is asking businesses to let employees leave by 4 p.m. to reduce traffic and ensure safety.
"The city is ready," Menino said.
Fenway Park should be, too. Up, 3-2, on the Cardinals, the Red Sox have a chance to win a World Series at home for the first time since 1918, when Babe Ruth was still in a Boston uniform.
"I don't know what happened in 1918," said David Ortiz, who is hitting .733 this Series. "But tomorrow we're going to try to make it happen and make people proud and happy in Boston and New England."
Just a warning: After the seventh inning, people won't be allowed into Fenway or the surrounding streets. And if they decide to leave, there's no coming back.
Although the Boston Police Department is encouraging all fans to use public transportation to get to Fenway Park, the city remains ready to deal with pedestrian traffic. Local bar owners have been asked to remove outside displays and cover windows before the fifth inning to deter crowds from lingering around the windows to watch the TVs.
Party time in Beantown?
|10/28/2007||Bos. 4, Col. 3||Coors Field||Denver|
|10/27/2004||Bos. 3, Stl. 0||Busch Stadium||St. Louis|
|9/11/1918||Bos. 2, Chi. 1||Fenway Park||Boston|
|10/12/1916||Bos. 4, Bro. 1||Braves Field||Boston|
|10/13/1915||Bos. 5, Phi. 4||Baker Bowl||Philly|
|10/16/1912||Bos. 3, NYG 2||Fenway Park||Boston|
|10/13/1903||Bos. 3, Pit. 0||Hunt. Ave. Grounds||Boston|
There should be a unique feel at McGreevy's on Boylston Street. McGreevy's opened in 1894, when "Nuf Ced" McGreevy opened a bar and called it "3rd Base Saloon." It quickly became the home of the "Royal Rooters," the original fan club, equivalent to the modern-day Red Sox Nation. The Royal Rooters were so energetic that they're often credited with helping Boston win the first World Series, in 1903.
McGreevy's, like all local bars, is dealing with restrictions from local law enforcement, but it is still preparing to host its regular group of hardcore fans.
"We're pretty much a Red Sox bar," said friendly employee Chris. "We have our pictures and memorabilia all over the place. We're expecting a crowd."
Although Boston has gotten used to its championships -- the Sox won in 2004 and '07, with the Patriots ('05), Celtics ('08) and Bruins ('11) also winning titles -- there is no shortage of security.
"Everybody wants to be safe, but it gets crazy out there," said Tom Halbringer, a 26-year-old accountant who celebrated on Lansdowne Street in 2007. "You honestly don't even know what's going on at certain points, you're just so happy. That's part of the fun. Everyone is high-fiving, jumping up and down. Just don't be stupid."
At nearby Northeastern University, the office of student affairs sent an email to all students reminding them to "enjoy the games safely and responsibly." As do most urban colleges, Northeastern ramps up its security when local sports teams make it to the playoffs. When a championship is at stake, there are no holes left unfilled.
Hemenway Street was so packed with celebrating students when the Red Sox won the World Series in 2007 that cars could hardly pass through. To aid in safety precautions, all of Northeastern's resident assistants are asked to be on duty during clinching nights.
Shane Victorino, who is in his first year of a three-year contract with Boston, can't begin to fathom what the celebration would look like.
"Incredible. I can only imagine," Victorino said. "I've been in that position and had that luxury and been on the other side, going to a World Series that we lost [with the Phillies in 2009]. But I can only imagine what Fenway's going to be like, what the city is going to be like, how much excitement there is.
"This is what you look for, this is what you train all offseason for, this is what you work in Spring Training for. When Day 1, Opening Day, starts, this is where you want to be, the position you want to be in. I'm excited right now. I want to get back. I want to play."
Although the Red Sox are trying to treat Game 6 like just another game, manager John Farrell acknowledged that his players understand what's at stake.
"We don't take for granted the passion that our fan base has or that our fans have," Farrell said, "and I think our guys get it. They understand their place here, and they understand what the Red Sox mean to this region, particularly this city. And I think there's kind of a rekindled relationship between this team and the fans. And that has grown out of the personalities that are here now, and like I said before, the way we play the game."
John Lackey, who will start the game, is used to the big stage. He pitched in Game 7 of the 2002 World Series, when the Angels defeated the Giants.
"We're definitely confident," Lackey said. "We played pretty good [at Fenway] this season. And the place, the atmosphere, is going to be great. The fans are going to be crazy. But you've still got to focus on the task at hand and executing. And just still playing baseball.
"We're still one win away."