Red Sox laud NBA champion Celtics with pregame ceremony

Updated: June 20, 2008, 11:39 PM ET
Associated Press

BOSTON -- A fast-moving thunderstorm didn't dampen the Fenway Park fans' spirit for the NBA champion Boston Celtics on Friday night.

[+] EnlargePaul Pierce
AP Photo/Charles KrupaCeltics forward Paul Pierce throws out a ceremonial first pitch Friday before the Red Sox host the Cardinals.
Honored during a brief pregame ceremony as heavy rain was falling, the NBA champs -- atop three duck boats -- entered from center-field and circled Fenway to a standing ovation, a shortened scene from their parade through downtown on Thursday.

With the Red Sox players wearing green jerseys usually reserved for St. Patrick's Day during spring training in Florida, the Celtics brought the NBA championship trophies from four seasons to Fenway. The players wore their warmups, with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett leading their teammates with pumping fists and waves to a crowd as the rain was pouring and the grounds crew was putting the tarp on the field.

The Red Sox also had their grounds crew cut out a shamrock in the center-field grass before the game.

After about an hour delay due to the rain, the champions were reintroduced and came running in from center field, with Finals MVP Pierce sliding into the second.

Pierce then took the mound to chants of "MVP" before firing a high and hard first pitch that tipped off the glove of leaping catcher Jason Varitek.

Coach Doc Rivers then said "Play ball!" before the Red Sox took the field for their 5-4 loss to St. Louis, which began after a one-hour, 14-minute delay.

On the center-field scoreboard, a brief video tribute was played before they rode out with Queen's "We are the Champions" playing in the background. The team brought their trophies from this season, 1981, '84 and '86, four of the NBA-leading 17 the franchise has captured.

Former Celtics Jo Jo White and Cedrick Maxwell also were in attendance.

A few minutes after it was over, a large rainbow was shining in the distance.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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