EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

November 3, 2013

It was a Ducky Day for Champion Red Sox

Red Sox take third title ride through Boston in 10 years

By Sara Brown

---- — BOSTON — “Don’t worry about a thing ‘cause every little thing is gonna to be alright.”

Every little thing was more than alright here yesterday morning.

Hundreds of thousands of fans sang lyrics from Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” as the 2013 Word Series champions Red Sox rolled down Boylston during their victory parade on duck boats.

The overwhelming energy was electric as fans cheered, blared horns and even wore beards — imitating their beloved bearded baseball heroes.

The “rolling rally” of 25 duck boats began at the team’s historic Fenway Park and passed landmarks like Boston Common and City Hall before a cruise in the Charles River.

Countless fans flocked to the streets of Boston to cheer on the Red Sox including many from the Merrimack Valley and southern New Hampshire.

North Andover resident Krystal Townsend knew she had to be a part of the victory parade as soon as the Red Sox won the World Series.

“It’s been 95 years since the Red Sox won a championship at home. I knew I had to be here,” Townsend, 19, said. “I’m so glad I came. This has been an awesome day.”

Townsend took an MBTA train into Boston with friends and fellow North Andover residents Cara Balsamo and Carly Powers.

Balsamo said she wanted to go to display her Boston pride.

“It’s all about showing off pride for our city and how proud we are of our team,” Balsamo said.

The trio had the time of their lives at the parade, they said.

“It was amazing,” Powers said.

“The energy just filled you up. You couldn’t help but be excited,” Balsamo added.

Lynne Brown, of Methuen, took her two young nieces, Gianna and Jenny Grelle, to the parade.

“They are sports nuts, so they loved this,” Brown said.

Both nieces loved seeing the players up close.

“I liked seeing Napoli and Ortiz,” Gianna Grelle, 12, said.

Her younger sister is more of a Dustin Pedroia fan.

“He’s my favorite player,” Jenny Grelle, 9, said.

Brown twisted her ankle during the parade and had a sore back from holding up Gianna on her shoulders.

“It was worth it though,” she said.

Brown noted that the fans of her nieces’ generation are very different than the fans from her generation.

“They have got to see so much success and winning,” she said. “They’re spoiled.”

The Grelle sisters said they are fans of the beards which many of the players started growing during the season.

“They’re funny,” Jenny Grelle said.

Players have yet to shave their beards off.

“Hopefully, we can all get together and shave them for a good cause,” Will Middlebrooks said.

The beards are coming off for World Series Most Valuable Player David Ortiz and outfielder Shane Victorino tomorrow, as part of a promotion. The Red Sox players’ beards became a symbol of their solidarity as they went from worst to first and won the team’s third World Series title in 10 years.

Suddenly famous bullpen policeman Steve Horgan and a fan chosen by social media will join them during a shave-off at Gillette headquarters in Boston.

Horgan became a fixture in Boston after he was photographed with his arms in the air celebrating Ortiz’s grand slam in the AL championship series against Detroit.

Haverhill resident Joseph Martineau yesterday said his favorite part of the parade was when Ortiz rolled by and the crowd erupted with cheering and chanting.

“Everyone was chanting “MVP” when he came out,” Martineau said. “It was amazing. You could really feel the unity of the city then.”

Lawrence resident Jarlin Gomez got to see the players get ready for the parade and come back from it inside Fenway Park.

“It was awesome,” he said. “You could just tell everyone was so excited to be there.”

Gomez said his favorite part of the day was getting to see Ortiz as well.

“He’s the best,” Gomez simply said.

Eight Methuen police officers went to Boston to help out with crowd control, according to Methuen police Chief Joseph Solomon. The officers were assigned to foot patrols in the parade area, he said.

The rolling parade also stopped near the Marathon finish line where two terror bombs went off on April 15, killing three people and injuring more than 260. The tragic events of the Marathon were not far from many fans’ minds. “Boston Strong” became a rallying cry for this year’s team, as the Green Monster at Fenway Park sported the B strong logo in red on Navy blue while a huge logo was cut in the outfield grass.

Many fans said this season the Red Sox have been a helpful distraction from the terror of that fateful day.

“I think the Red Sox helped everyone forget a little bit,” Powers said. “It helped us heal in a way.”

Balsamo, like many fans, believes the marathon was motivation to the Sox’s successful drive to the championship.

“I think they really came together as a team after that,” Balsamo said.

“After what Boston went through, I think they wanted us to smile again. It’s all about being Boston strong,” she said.

Players Jonny Gomes and Jarrod Saltalamacchia placed the World Series trophy on the marathon finish line. They also presented “Boston Strong” jerseys with the number 617 — Boston’s telephone area code — to the city as “God Bless America” played. Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz also got off their duck boats to pay their respects at the finish line.

“That was an emotional moment,” Gomes said. “To bring the World Series trophy to the finish line, I don’t think that the story was written that way, but I was glad to be a part of it and put the exclamation point on it.”

“We played for the whole city, what the city went through,” Pedroia said.

The moment was also emotional to fans as well.

“I think today proved what Big Papi said. This is our bleeping city and we are back and strong,” Brown said. “Terrorists don’t win.”

Red Sox pitcher Jake Peavy enjoyed riding on a duck boat so much that he bought his own after the parade to take home with him as a reminder of the historic season he became a part of after a mid-season trade the Sox pulled off to bolster their pitching staff.

AP contributed to this story.

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