The ring ceremony took place yesterday at Fenway Park to honor the
2007 World Series Championship Red Sox Team.
Although the ceremony was only broadcasted locally, I was able to find video clips of the ceremony on NESN when I got home from work. It was almost as good as watching it on TV. Thank goodness for the internet!! As a Red Sox fan, the ceremony was pretty exciting to watch.
Photos and descriptions of some of events of the day:
The ceremony started off with a parade of flags from 62 Red Sox Nations, lining the outfield. The nations represented by the 62 flags (Afghanistan, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Austria, The Bahamas, Belgium, Bermuda, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Columbia, Costa Rica, Cuba, The Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Guam, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Lithuania, Malaysia, Mexico, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russian Federation, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America, Venezuela, and Vietnam) were either Red Sox Nation member residents or were nations with citizens who have been in touch with the Red Sox organization via letters and e-mails professing their love for the team. (see the end of this post for the significance of the flags)
Once the flags were all lined up, the banners for the five previous championships, 1903, 1912, 1915, 1916, 1918 dropped in sequence. Then the large 2004 banner unrolled covering the entire Green Monster. Finally, the new 2007 World Series Championship banner was unrolled on top of the 2004 banner. The Boston Symphony Orchestra (otherwise known as the Boston Pops) accompanied many of the events during the ceremony.
Photo (from the Boston Globe) of the 2007 World Series Championship banner and flags from some of the Red Sox Nations:
The World Series rings were handed out one by one to the members of the the 2007 Red Sox team with different music themes played for different groups of recipeints. The eight players who played for both the 2004 Red Sox and 2007 Red Sox ( David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Jason Varitek, Curt Schilling, Mike Timlin, Tim Wakefield, Kevin Youkilis and Doug Mirabelli) received rings with a different inscription engraved on their rings noting both seasons.
Photo (from the Boston Globe) of David Ortiz (Big Papi) with both his 2004 and 2007 rings:
Once all the rings were handed out, the team walked towards the flagpole in center field. Johnny Pesky along with some help from David Ortiz raised the 2007 World Championship flag.
The big secret of the day was the person throwing out the Ceremonial First Pitch. Earlier in the week, it was announced that this person would provide a "goose bump" moment. Yesterday morning the name was either leaked or purposely printed.
After the 2007 World Championship flag was raised, Bill Buckner appeared on the field. He received a loud standing ovation. I personally would not rate it as "goose bump worthy" but did think it was pretty cool! He was pretty emotional, both on the field and afterwards during an interview. If you have not heard of Bill Buckner, just google Buckner and the 86 Red Sox. I personally don't hold him responsible for our loss that year. Once they put Stanley in, I knew the game was not in the bag. Unfortunately though, the ball that rolled through Buckner's legs was the play that will always be remembered. He ended up being the scapegoat sort of like Steve Bartman was (the guy who tried to catch the foul ball in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series few years ago).
Steven Tyler sang "God Bless America" in the middle of the 7th inning and Neil Diamond made a surprise appearance (broadcast over the scoreboard in center field) in the 8th inning singing "Sweet Caroline". We also won the game 5-0 against Detroit. What a great day to be a Red Sox fan. Someday hopefully, I will be able to experience one of these events in person.
Now, for those wondering about the 62 Red Sox Nations, let me explain what I believe the flags signified. I did not bring this up earlier in my blog but since the flags were part of the ceremony, I thought a little background information would be interesting to know. Back in early March of this year, Hank Steinbrenner, one of two new Yankees bosses said, and I quote from ESPN:
"Red Sox Nation?" What a bunch of [expletive] that is," he said in an interview with The New York Times' Play magazine. "That was a creation of the Red Sox and ESPN, which is filled with Red Sox fans.
"Go anywhere in America and you won't see Red Sox hats and jackets, you'll see Yankee hats and jackets. This is a Yankee country. We're going to put the Yankees back on top and restore the universe to order."
Funny, I remember seeing lots of Red Sox hats while in Rome last summer. Oh, wait a minute, Rome is not part of the US...hmm, but then why do I see Red Sox hats and shirts and license plate holders all over the island, and even in my townhouse complex. Must all be one big mirage.
I also was not aware that the universe was somehow out of order. Although I am a huge Red Sox fan (as you can probably tell), winning a World Series, in my opinion, does not rank in the scope of things, when considering if or if not the universe is in order.
In response, John Henry, principal owner of the Red Sox Team, offered an olive branch to Mr. Steinbrenner. John Henry proclaimed that he was a "big Hank fan" and he officially inducted Hank as a member of the Red Sox Nation, sent him his very own membership card which provides access to Red Sox newsletters, bumper stickers, pins, Green Monster seats, and sent Hank a hat personally autographed by David Ortiz so that he would know just how cool the Red Sox Nation is.
The first Red Sox/Yankees game of the year is two days away (Friday). It should be another fun year of baseball!!