November 5, 2013

DAVID'S CITY:

The Red Sox take back Boston (Hunter Felt, 11/05/13, Guardian)

It feels like only in Boston that a championship parade would count as a return to normalcy, a side effect of holding eight of them in the span of eleven years (across four sports). Long-time residents, or return visitors, had an idea of what to expect. The sidewalks well packed by early morning, well before the parade's 10am start time ( the estimated attendance was around one million, alleviating concerns that fear or anxiety would keep more fans away). Radio stations and other businesses distributed placards to the growing mass of fans for cheap but effective advertising. Day-drunk townies chugged liquor only nominally hidden in Gatorade containers or water bottles, using the day as an excuse to get wasted at 9am in the morning. The Dropkick Murphys, essentially Boston's house band at this point in their career, played a three-song set including, as is probably required by Massachusetts law, "I'm Shipping Off To Boston".

In fact, before the duckboats carrying Red Sox players, front office people and media members made its way to Boylston St, where bombs exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, there were only a few hints that this parade was under much different circumstances than previous ones, most notably in how the police officers involved in the procession were applauded almost as much as some of the players. Nobody had forgotten how well law enforcement handled the aftermath of the bombings as well as the day-long manhunt for the surviving suspect. Considering the circumstances it was fitting that the enduring image from the Red Sox run featured Officer Steve Horgan raising his arms triumphantly in the bullpen at Fenway Park while the Detroit Tigers' Torii Hunter took a tumble in a failed attempt to rob David Ortiz's season-saving grand slam in the American League Championship Series. (Yes, he was involved with the festivities as well.)

The celebration took a serious turn when the duckboats carrying players and personnel stopped at Boylston, where outfielder Jonny Gomes placed the World Series trophy on the finish line as onlookers sang "God Bless America" and chanted "Boston Strong". Following this, World Series MVP David Ortiz, quite possibly the most beloved person in Boston, hopped off his duckboat to jog across the iconic yellow and blue line across from the library for his own homage to the marathon. Then it was time to complete the parade as the line of duckboats made its way through the rest of the city until the amphibious vehicles reached the Charles River.

Posted by at November 5, 2013 2:33 PM
  

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