I'm so totally overstimulated right now it's not even funny. At this moment, I'm watching the Rolling Rally on my TiVo, editing pictures from said Rolling Rally, and viewing Globe photo galleries. I am all but literally overdosing on the Boston Red Sox. And this is all in an attempt just to absorb the events that are still happening, much less reflect at any length on anything that's already occurred.
Before I begin my parade post, however, there's one item of business I need to attend to. Josh Beckett, I am calling you out. So far I have seen no evidence that there was dancing from you today. You made us a promise, sir.
Today I kept my promise to myself, at least, and I went to the parade. It's a long story, but my frantic dash to the parade finally landed me on Tremont St. a few minutes before the rally rolled around the corner.
The weather last time was cold, clammy and damp; today was the polar opposite. Sunlight was streaming from a cloudless October sky, catching in the confetti streaming down from the windows of buildings when I came upon the scene. I could not believe it was real. I still can't believe any of it's real.
There were several false-alarm cheers from the crowd that piqued our attention as they jumped around for TV cameras a block or so down, but then finally we heard the thumping bass from the Dropkick Murphy's flatbed truck, and as the rumble got louder a crowd that had already looked like a teeming mass of millions just milling aimlessly seemed to multiply in size, just from the sheer volume of arms and banners and cameras and pennants and signs being waved in the air as the Sox approached.
Someone in one of the buildings on the corner of Tremont St. let out a huge burst of red, white and blue confetti just as the first Duck Boat made a lolling turn onto the block where I was standing. I shielded my eyes against the glare of the sun and watched it emerge from shadow, and I thought to myself, rather matter-of-factly, this is one of the purest, happiest moments I've ever experienced.
It was nothing but sheer joy, just us and our team, communing there on the street. I liked to think of all the miles of roaring crowd they'd passed as representing all the audiences that have filled Fenway Park this season, returning en masse to give them an hours-long curtain call.
Seeing Curt Schilling was the first highlight of the parade for me. The players alternated sides of the Duck Boat they stood on, so neither side of the street was left out, and Schilling was on my side (meanwhile, I never so much as caught a glimpse of Josh, Tim Wakefield or Jon Lester). Just the way he smiled at us--he looked comfortable, waving and nodding at the crowd as if he was seeing an old friend crossing the street, at times pointing to a particularly clever sign or raucous fan. As he went by I waved for all I was worth.
Next thing I knew, Hideki Okajima's little face came bobbing into view, riding along on the top of the cab of the flatbed truck that bore the main attraction of the parade, at least as far as I'm concerned: the Dropkick Murphys, Mike Timlin, and Jonathan Papelbon.
All I wanted was to see Papelbon. That's it. He could have been standing stonefaced on the truck as it drove by and I would've been delighted.
But what to my wondering eyes should appear--when I finally caught sight of him, he was front and center among the Dropkick Murphys, jamming out with a broom as if it was a guitar. I just...I...I really have no words. So here's a picture:
BTW, the Globe gallery devoted entirely to Papelbon on the flatbed is a must-see. I keep looking through it going, "No, no, THIS one is the best picture ever." Also do not miss the audio slideshow for Papelbon over there.
Anyway, that alone would've made my life complete, but the icing on the cake was the float that followed toward the end, bearing Papi and Manny...and a microphone.
"Yeeeeahhh!!" Manny hollered over the amplifier as the crowd went absolutely insane and Papi pointed and laughed and grinned and waggled his eyebrows and teased fans along the sidewalk. "We numbah one!!" Manny held up one finger to demonstrate. I thought people's heads were going to explode from screaming so much. Those two know how to rile up a crowd like I've never seen.
And the love--the LOVE that exists for David Ortiz. You could feel it all around us, as people cried "Papi!" and pressed up against the barriers and reached out their hands towards him, as if it was a tangible force. And Papi just grinned his grin and lounged there in that duck boat like he was holding court over a party in his own living room.
What an experience. I keep shaking my head, just remembering today--let alone the games that made it possible.
There we were. Just us and our team.
Full photoset here.
P.S. This is totally random, and just one of a million tidbits I want to note here, but I just discovered it so I have to share--here's a quote on Manny from the Plane Ride Home gallery, which incidentally is another total classic: Manny Ramírez got a ride from a Massachusetts state trooper on the tarmac. He tried to open the back door, which is reserved for bad guys. A trooper moved in quickly. "No Manny, you can't go in the back," said the trooper, smiling and opening the front passenger door.
And look. at his fucking. suit.