Have I ever told you the story of a close friend and his trip to the World Series?
Well, maybe it’s true or maybe it’s not, but if you haven’t heard it before, strap on your seat belt because it’s quite the tale.
Here we go:
Picture it, a cold October Friday night in Boston back in 2004. The streets on Yawkey Way, Lansdowne and their neighbors are eerily quiet on this night. The lights were out through the bulk of the city a little earlier than usual as countless people were tucked away in bed, snug in their Red Sox pajamas, resting up for Game 1 of the World Series against St. Louis, which was set to take place that Saturday. It marked the Red Sox first World Series contest since 1986, and possibly the first of the four wins needed to claim the title for the first time in 86 years.
It was a special time in Boston, and throughout New England. There was a feeling, after years and years of heartbreak, that this was the year the “Curse of the Bambino” would finally be broken. Everybody (many of whom weren’t even Boston sports fans) wanted to be inside Fenway Park to say they were at one of the games that would put nearly nine decades of misery to rest. I, and a large group of friends, certainly
had that same desire. But with ticket prices through the roof, — well-beyond what a college student could afford — it just wasn’t feasible. But one of us had a different tactic. This guy (who for the purposes of the story we’ll call, I don’t know, “Andy”) wouldn’t allow money, or the law, to stand in the way of his World Series dream.
So “Andy” decided to head up to Beantown the night before the Series opener. And, undoubtedly with a few beverages in his system, patiently waited for the area around Fenway to fall asleep. When it did, long after Friday night had turned into Saturday morning, “Andy” made his move. It was the type of move only he could a) think of; b) actually go through with; and c) execute to perfection.
Now, it should be known I wasn’t there to witness it (mainly because I do my best to be a law-abiding citizen), so everything that pertains to this endeavor reached me secondhand. You can decide for yourself whether it’s fact or fiction.
For purposes of background, earlier in 2004 the Sox unveiled a statue of Ted Williams. It sits on the corner of Ipswich and Van Ness streets, in front of Gate B. It’s just about the right height for say someone of “Andy’s” stature to climb up and, with a perfectly calculated leap, latch onto the top of the wall above the gate.
“Andy” decided to see if those calculations were accurate.
He climbed. He jumped. He grabbed a hold of the wall with his fingertips, and he just hung there for a moment.
I can’t imagine what was going through his head. He had to be rethinking this idiotic decision, right? But at this point, he was in too deep. He had come too far to turn back. He pulled himself up and tumbled over the wall. “Andy” was in. But a problem still remained. With about 15 hours remaining before first pitch, odds were he wouldn’t be able to go undetected for that long. If I were a betting man, my money would have been put on him sitting in the back of a police cruiser at some point that day, not in a Fenway seat.
I would have been wrong. He hid — for hours.
He remained silent as rats, dragging boxes of Cracker Jacks, ran past. He sat, undercover in what he described as a maintenance shed, hungry, thirsty and tired until the gates opened. Then, he timed his exit and blended in. And at 8:05 p.m. on Oct. 24, 2004 he watched Tim Wakefield float in a knuckleball for the first pitch of the World Series. He watched as the Sox scored four runs in the bottom of the first and later cheered as Mark Bellhorn smacked a 2-run homer off Pesky’s Pole in right field to break a 9-9 tie in the bottom of the eighth. He even left with a World Series towel that was being handed out as a souvenir.
“Andy,” as the story goes, did the unthinkable, as only “Andy” could do. You wanted so badly to be mad at him for doing something so stupid and careless. But I hate to say it, it was one of those situation in which you just couldn’t be angry.
The Red Sox won Game 1 by an 11-9 tally. They went onto sweep the Cardinals and bring the championship back to Boston for the first time in 86 years.
Tomorrow night they’ll take on St. Louis again, as they look to grab a 1-0 series lead in their quest for a third title in 10 years. I’d like to guarantee that “Andy” will not be in attendance. But knowing him, I simply can’t say for sure!
Let’s Go Sox!