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October 30, 2013 Wednesday
SPORTS; Pg. 6C
|BOSTON BRACES FOR HISTORY;
Red Sox haven't clinched title at home since 1918
Bob Nightengale,firstname.lastname@example.org,USA TODAY Sports
Mike Romano, sitting in the window seat of the exit row on Flight 3703, can't believe what he's hearing Tuesday morning when the plane touches down at Logan Airport.
It's the pilot, or perhaps it's a flight attendant, but someone is screeching on the intercom:
"Let's go Cardinals! Let's beat those crybaby Red Sox!"
Romano, 53, a life-long Red Sox fan despite growing up in the Bronx in New York City, is fuming.
"Fortunately for that guy, this is a half-empty plane," says Romano, wearing a Red Sox cap. "Come on, you don't throw that in people's faces. This is Boston. He's got no clue what this game means to us.
"This is going to be the greatest night in the history of Fenway Park."
In the last 95 years, maybe.
Tonight, for the first time since 1918, the Red Sox can secure a World Series title at Fenway Park with a victory against the St. Louis Cardinals.
"If they happen to win the World Series at home, they may as well start the parade after the final out because this city won't sleep," Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson said.
The Red Sox, leading the series 3-2, have won two World Series championships in the last 10 years. They won in St. Louis in 2004 and in Denver in 2007. None in Boston.
Even when they became the first team in baseball history to overcome a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-seven series in 2004 to stun the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series, the last two games were at Yankee Stadium.
Yet, they haven't clinched a World Series championship at home since the Woodrow Wilson administration, when a fella named Babe Ruth was pitching for them.
"When we won in '04, that was huge here," says Casey Polaski, 65, a life-long Red Sox fan from Worcester, Mass. "But our World Series was beating the Yankees.
"If we win this here, at Fenway, I'm not sure it would be greater than '04. It had just been so long. But, oh boy, it sure comes close."
Romano, a licensed ticket broker by trade, has the fistful of tickets -- along with wads of money -- for proof that Game 6, or a potential Game 7, is more significant to Red Sox fans than any game ever played at Fenway.
"Haven't seen anything like this at a World Series game," he said. "Nuts."
Romano opened up his iPad. He showed a credit-card transaction of $10,200 for the purchase of six tickets. They were grandstand seats. At a face value of $200 per ticket.
They might have gotten a sweetheart deal.
When the flight landed, standing room-only tickets were going for $1,079.45. If you want the good stuff, check out StubHub. You can sit in front row, Box 49 seat for $13,202. Per ticket.
The average price on the re-sale market is the highest in Boston's history, an average price of nearly $2,000, with two tickets purchased on StubHub for a cool $24,000.
Let's see, Honey, would you rather have a new Mercedes for Christmas or tickets to a ballgame?
"I know my choice," says Polaski, who will be bundled up, sitting in Section 89, Row XX.
"This is the World Series," says Romano, who saved a ticket from his boss' stash to watch the game. "This is the chance to see something nobody else has ever seen."
And the proud folks of Boston are willing to pay just about anything to be part of an event that hasn't been witnessed in generations.
"We don't take for granted the passion that our fans have," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "They understand their place here. And they understand what the Red Sox mean to this region, particularly this city."
It's unknown how passionate New Englanders were to the Red Sox 95 years ago, but just 15,238 fans bothered to see the team knock off those powerful Chicago Cubs 2-1 on the afternoon of Sept. 11, 1918, paced by Carl Mays' three-hitter.
Ninety-five autumns have come and gone.
Today, walking along Yawkey Way outside Fenway Park, anticipation is palpable. It's the waning days of October. It's chilly. It's Fenway Park. And it is the World Series.
They will gather at Fenway Park for the first Game 6 since Carlton Fisk was seen waving his home run fair in 1975, followed by a Game 7 no one in these parts wants to remember. It's time, these bearded wonders say, for another indelible image.
"That's one of the more memorable swings that has taken place in this ballpark," Farrell said.
"Hopefully, there's somebody (tonight) that can wave their arms just the same."
October 30, 2013