That is opening day at Fenway Park. Every new season, Fenway Park pulls out all the stops to make opening day at the park a special event. This year’s opening day was no exception. Last season the Red Sox became World Series Champions, after finishing the 2012 season in dead last place. You can watch the opening ceremonies on tv, but you can’t fully understand the pomp and circumstance of it all. This year’s opening day on April 4th, was emotional and really special. It will be something that I’ll never forget. Being able to witness the opening ceremonies first hand at Fenway Park, I fully understood the pomp and circumstance. A lot of careful planning goes into every single little detail on opening day, and that was evident.
For this season’s Fenway opener, the Red Sox received their 2013 World Series Championship rings, but before the team got their rings, a video recapping the 2013 season was shown on the video boards, with Drake’s “Started From The Bottom” playing as background music. After that, another video was played, with images from the Boston Marathon bombings and highlights of games played after Patriots Day. It was real emotional to see these images again, but it was an important part of the 2013 season.
Something that I’ve never seen done, even watching the opening ceremonies on tv, was the unfurling of all the World Series banners on the Green Monster, maybe it has been done before, but I’ve never seen it. Starting with the 1903 banner, every single World Series banner was unfurled on the Monster. The 1903, 1912, 1915 and 1918 banners were all unfurled, and then the 2004, 2007, and 2013 banners were unfurled. The 2004, 2007 and 2013 banners took up the majority of the Green Monster. When the banners were unfurled the theme song to “2001: A Space Odyssey” was played throughout the park.
After the banners were unfurled, the first emotional moment of the ceremonies happened. The song “Lean On Me” started playing and a message was shown on the videos boards. The message read, “We now welcome those who represent the strength of so many. They inspired us all year, and still do today. We celebrate their courage and resilience. And yet it is they who come bearing gifts. Here to thank the champions who helped lift their hearts and replenish spirit.” Delivering the rings, were survivors of the marathon bombings, along with the families of Martin Richards and Sean Collier. Everything about that moment was just perfect.
First, the coaching staff got their rings, and then the players got their rings. When the players got their rings a little introduction video played showcasing the player’s best moments from 2013, and the Who’s “Baba O’Rily” was used as background music, at least for a little while. Shane Victorino, “The Flyin Hawaiian,” was introduced to Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds,” which also serves as his at bat music. And yes, the entire Fenway crowd sang along. “Don’t Stop Believing,” by Journey was also used as music when players got their rings. After the majority of players got their rings and were standing in the outfield, there was only one player left, Big Papi. Big Papi was the last player to get his World Series ring, but he also got another one too. Before Big Papi was given his second ring, the following message appeared on the video board, “David Ortiz is also receiving, with gratitude from the Red Sox, a unique World Series MVP ring.” It was Big Papi that got the loudest ovation, and rightfully so too.
After all the players were lined up in the outfield, they all raided the American and 2013 World Series flag next to the Green Monster. And this was when the second emotional moment happened. Firefighters from Engine 33 and Ladder 15 came out and joined the team in the outfield, the flags were then lowered to half staff. It is Engine 33 and Ladder 15 who also, not only protect Beacon Street, but they also protect Fenway Park.
After the starting lineups were announced caps were removed, here was a moment of silence for firefighters who lost their lives in the Back Bay fire. After the moment of silence the National Anthem was performed by none other than the Dropkick Murphys accompanied by the Boston Pops. Another wicked awesome moment, was when the Dropkick Murphys started playing “Shipping Up To Boston,” also accompanied by the Boston Pops Orchestra. I loved seeing the Irish Step Dancers dancing. The Coast Guard helicopter fly over was wicked cool because it flew right above me.
There were some extremely special guests for the ceremonial first pitch. Mark Recchi from the 2011 Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins drove out former Mayor Tom Menino on a golf card, Tedy Bruschi, Troy Brown and Ty Law carried the three Vince Lombardi Trophies, Leon Powe from the 2008 World Champion Boston Celtics carried out the Larry O’Brien Trophy, Jason Varitek, Mike Lowell and Pedro Martinez carried out the Red Sox trophies from 2004, 2007 and 2014, while the Dropkick Murphys played “For Boston.” The ceremonial first pitch was kind of like changing of the Mayoral guard, as Tom Menino handed over the ball to new Mayor Marty Walsh. And then it was time to play ball.
This is one game that I will never forget, just because of all the emotion surrounding it. With the opening ceremonies, 2013 was officially over and it was on to 2014.