On Friday, April 4th, I had the opportunity to attend the 2014 Fenway Park home opener. All things considered, it was one of the most emotional experiences and atmospheres that I have ever been a part of. This was a special day in Boston that went beyond just a baseball game or the celebration of a championship. The city has endured so much over the last couple of years, and it was truly inspirational to see the celebration and remembrance of so many important people and events that meant so much to the city.
The championship celebration and raising of the banner itself was emotional given the context of what the team had been through: the collapse in 2011 that resulted in the firing of one of Boston’s most beloved managers in Terry Francona, a disastrous 2012 season marked by big contract players and a manager who were selfish and always involved in controversy, and the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park that was marred by these events during the same year. The 2013 Red Sox were a story of redemption, a team built with unselfish players and a manager who was respected by everyone, a team that did everything the right way and was rewarded a World Series championship just one year after a last place finish.
However, what was special about this day was not just the celebration of a baseball team, but the celebration of a city. The Boston Marathon bombing victims were honored in the pregame ceremony, as well as the Back Bay firefighters who lost their lives just last week. In addition, mayor Thomas Menino was honored by the team for his 20 years of service during the ceremonial first pitch. All eight championship trophies from the last twelve years were brought on to the field during the opening ceremonies by former players before current mayor Walsh threw out the first pitch. Red Sox personalities Don Orsillo and Joe Castiglione were on the field to announce the starting lineups. Each player had highlights shown on the scoreboard while they were receiving their World Series rings. The stadium was packed and the crowd was electric, and to cap it off the Dropkick Murphys were there to play the national anthem and shipping up to Boston. I truly have never been more proud to be a part of this city, and will remember the experience for a lifetime.
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