I’ve always felt that if you’re world champs, you should get to open the next season at home. No questions asked. You just sit there with your scepter and plates of meat, and the other teams travel to your park. Seems right to me. But apparently not to Major League Baseball. Which is why we’ve had to see our boys slog through three different countries (and, yes, we count Los Angeles its own country) before finally coming back to where it all makes sense. Where the girls are prettier and the beer, albeit grossly overpriced, is just a little bit sweeter. And it would seem that the Sox brass have a number of poignant surprises up their collective sleeves, at least according to redsox.com:
“It will be a great day,” said Red Sox chairman Tom Werner. “We have a lot of surprises — [including a] very exciting surprise about who is throwing out the first pitch so I’m going to tease everybody about it — but it will be a great experience. We’ve got a lot of great plans. Opening Days are great, but to combine it with the ring ceremony will be terrific.”
Any more hints on who will throw out that first pitch?
“All I can say is,” said Werner, “I think everyone will get goosebumps.”
Goosebumps, eh? Could it be Bill Buckner? Stephen Hawking? A group of inner-city kids re-enacting all four games of the 2007 World Series as interpretive dance with choreography by Debbie Allen? The mind reels. But no matter what transpires on the field, I have my own ideas as to how to kick off a new season at the Fens.
First things first, it should be an entire day. I’m talking Fenwaypalooza. And why not? We’ve waited over half a year for this creaky old bandbox to re-open its magical gates; you gonna make us stand behind a locked door while the grounds crew goes through its final rakings? Let’s have Breakfast With Beckett, where anyone earnest enough to show up early gets a meet-and-greet with Commander Kick Ass himself, complete with chef’s hat, as he makes his famous “waffles ‘n’ vodka” for the masses. On-field festivities would begin with John Williams directing the Boston Pops in a rousing chorus of “God Bless America.” After that, Harrison Ford comes running from the bullpen, followed by that huge rolling rock from the opening scene of Raiders. It’s a cheap promotional stunt for Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, sure, but as the rock is emblazoned with the Sox logo, no one seems to mind [Throughout the day, we’ll also get Indy-themed public service announcements on the jumbotron, with Ford telling us such things as, “Hey kids, don’t piss in the street. You could go to jail, for christ’s sake.”] Then Paul Giamatti, son of the late A. Bartlett, shuffles out to read from A Great and Glorious Game: Baseball Writings of A. Bartlett Giamatti. Jerry Remy and DO then take to the mainstage to engage in some colorful, G-rated banter, before breaking into a chorus of “I Got You, Babe.” An F-15 then shoots overhead, releasing Tom Waits, who parachutes into the infield to give us the National Anthem (played on a piano which is parachuted in along with him, adding a never-before-experienced “holy-shit-am-I-going-to-be-crushed-by-a-Steinway-in-the-Fenway-bleachers?” edge to the proceedings for a few lucky fans.) The K-Men then release The Pappet for the first-ever “Pappet Wave”, in which the Papelbon doppelganger is carefully handed fan-to-fan from the centerfield bleachers to the left field grandstands, then back again. The surviving members of the original cast of The A-Team then launch in over the Monster Seats via jetpack to introduce the members of the 2008 Red Sox (at which time Tom Werner proudly announces that August 18, 2008 will be “Dirk Benedict Appreciation Night” at Fenway.) Rings are distributed, with a special ring handed to Fenway assistant groundskeeper Weston Appelfeller for having the coolest f@#king name in baseball. During the seventh inning stretch, Neil Diamond sprints from the bullpen to sing “Sweet Caroline,” but is intercepted and dropkicked by Mike Timlin, allowing Tom Waits to bust with “The Heart of Saturday Night” with, inexplicably, Kevin Millar on bass. After the game ends, Papelbon emerges from the dugout in full Evel Knievel regalia to round the bases on a motorcycle before engaging in a series of Jackass-inspired stunts, despite Harrison Ford’s repeated Jumbotron warnings that it’s “a good way to rupture a colon.” Remaining fans are invited back to Julian Tavarez’ house for barbecue and torture porn.
And I view it all from the luxury suites. With one arm around Amalie Benjamin, and the other around a cold case of Strohs.
So that’s mine. Yours?