Heavy police presence doesn't dampen mood

10/28/2004 - Boston Red Sox

BOSTON -- The Red Sox returned to Fenway Park on
Thursday to meet throngs of cheering fans who have waited
generations for a World Series victory.

After too many disappointing Octobers, the Red Sox beat the St. Louis Cardinals 3-0 Wednesday night to sweep the World Series in
four games, bringing the city its first title since 1918.

Several hundred fans welcomed players home to Fenway on a clear,
chilly morning, watching as designated-hitter Ellis Burks carried
the championship trophy off the team bus.

"They've waited their entire lives, every year saying this is
the year and meaning it, and this is the year," team owner John
Henry said.

Center fielder Johnny Damon said players had a feeling they were
going to make history. "We knew we were going to get the job
done," he said.

Across New England, joyous fans popped champagne corks, hugged
strangers and flooded streets and college campuses in celebrations
that lasted into Thursday morning.

Tens of thousands of giddy fans gathered near Fenway to be near
the historic stadium where so many of the team's previous traumas have played out.

"It doesn't get better than this," said Eric Imhof, 23, of
Boston. "And to be alive during this is one of the greatest things
to happen to us, because you never know when it's going to happen

Amid the jubilation, the city's two largest newspapers rolled
out special editions, carrying single-word headlines to capture the
historic moment.

The Boston Globe doubled its press run to more than 850,000 for
Thursday. The third edition -- dubbed a "victory edition" -- was
rolling shortly before 2 a.m. with the headline "YES!!!"

The Boston Herald doubled its press run to about 600,000 copies,
adding an extra with the headline "AMEN!"

Mayor Thomas Menino said Thursday morning that a parade for the World Champions would most likely be held Saturday, which would be better than Friday for the city and for families who might want to bring school-age children, Menino told WBZ radio. Official word was likely Thursday afternoon.

In Kenmore Square on Wednesday night, one man got on his knees and, with tears
welling in his eyes, shouted "Thank you God!" over and over above
the din of the crowd.

At the corner of Boylston and Overland streets near Fenway Park,
people shook trees until one of them fell over.

About 20 yards away, a yellow-orange cloud of smoke began
billowing near where the trees had been brought down, and the
police moved forward to push back the crowd. The crowd backed away
as a car alarm on an SUV wailed.

Police were out in full force, intent on avoiding the ugliness
after the Game 7 win over the Yankees in the playoffs, when a
college student was killed after police fired pepper-spray pellets.
Some officers were in riot gear and gas masks, using percussion
grenades and smoke canisters to clear the streets.

Police said 35 arrests were made, 14 revelers were taken to
hospitals and 30 were treated at the scene. One officer was at
Boston Medical Center with a shoulder injury.

University of Massachusetts Police made about 25 arrests during
a celebration on the Amherst campus. There were no injuries
reported there.

The heavy police presence didn't dampen the mood among fans.

Keith Lyons, 36, a Myrtle Beach, S.C., bar manager originally
from Beverly, Mass., took the week off from work and drove north with his wife, Jessica, 29, just so he could be on Sox home turf to witness it all.

Lyons recalled getting out of school early to watch the one-game
division playoff between the Red Sox and Yankees in 1978.

"When Bucky Dent hit that home run, I wanted to leave the room.
But my mother said, 'You can't be a fair-weather fan.' From that
point on, I knew what it was like to be a Red Sox fan," he said.

"It'll be a big sigh of relief," Jessica Lyons said. "Life will get back
to normal. Then again, I love this and don't know if I want to get
back to normal."

In 1986, the last time the Red Sox were in a World Series, Keith Lyons made sure to have a bottle of champagne chilling for what he
thought would be a victory over the New York Mets. He still has the
same bottle.

"The champagne is sitting in my hotel room cooling for the
first time since 1986," he said. "I really don't care how it

Bill Ryan, a Boston computer consultant who saw his first Red
Sox game when he was 8 in the 1950s, said it will take time for
fans to adjust to the team's winning ways.

One thing's for sure: There will be no more "1918!" chants
from Yankees fans.

"They just have to get this off their backs and no one can make
fun of us anymore," said Peter Roy, 47, of Boston. "And then we
can say 'Year 2000' to the Yankee fans because they haven't won
since then."