Let’s start this by flashing it back to June 14th. My buddy and I had wanted to go to a Sox game sometime before the month ended, so we decided on the game on the 23rd against the Angels. Somehow both of us spaced and didn’t realize that it was the day of David Ortiz’s jersey retirement. Once we found out that the ceremony was in fact on the 23rd and that tickets weren’t as expensive as the World Series, we immediately hit up StubHub and bought the cheapest tickets we could find.
I’ll be real – even as a Yankees fan, I was stoked to have the opportunity to see a number retirement ceremony live, even if it was for a man who had shattered so many of my Yankees hopes and dreams with one of his trademark moonshot home runs. Despite my hatred for all his home runs he has hit off of my pitching, I do appreciate what David Ortiz has done for the game, the Boston community, and just how he’s a genuinely good guy. He’s a guy I would cheer for, but I couldn’t really do that too often during his career. Now, I’d have that chance.
Our plan was going to be to meet at the ballpark at 5:15, get to our seats as early as possible, and set up shop for the ceremony. I left work, got on the T, and headed to Kenmore. Unfortunately, his Uber was running late, so I had to stand around and wait for him. But, it gave me an opportunity to put together this sweet video…
Everyone I asked to participate was very cooperative, kind, and insightful. It made me think about how, despite my alliance with the Evil Empire, that Boston is a great baseball town, with appreciation for their legends and what they do both on and off the field. My boy showed up at 5:45, and we made our way into the park. Here was our view for all the festivities:
The ceremony started with public address announcer Henry Mahegan welcoming everyone to the game, and the ceremonies. He read off all the players who had their numbers retired in the past. He also welcomed Tim Wakefield to the ceremonies, walking out to the mound amongst loud cheers. Then, the man of the night himself was introduced – Big Papi. A booming roar could be heard coming from all corners of the ballpark as Ortiz strode out on the red carpet, waving and thanking everyone in attendance.
After the boisterous applause, the number was unveiled:
Then, it was Pedro’s time to shine:
Pedro’s speech was actually quite funny – he’s got a good sense of humor.
Following Pedro was Papi’s teammate and current member of the Red Sox, Dustin Pedroia. Pedey gave a short speech, but a good one – he talked about how Papi’s biggest impact was not the home runs he hit, but the love he showed everyone around him, which brought David to tears.
After Pedroia, it was really David Ortiz’s time to shine:
Papi thanked everyone who had made an impact on him: his family, friends, agents, Sox ownership, and his late mother. It got so loud at times that I couldn’t hear myself think, but it was very well done.
Following the speech was his first pitch:
No wonder he was a designated hitter his whole career!
After all the ceremonies, the Red Sox took the field. The night wasn’t all just for David Ortiz – there was a game to play too! The Red Sox jumped out to a 3-0 lead thanks to a Xander Bogaerts RBI double and 2 wild pitches. From there, they never looked back. Sandy Leon had himself quite a day, going 3-for-4 with a dinger and 4 RBI. Hanley Ramirez also jacked his 250th career bomb, but because my friend and I were seat-hopping, we had no idea.
We sat up in the bleachers for the first 3 innings, then decided to walk around and find something closer. Let me tell you though, it was PACKED. I had to wait 20 minutes in line for a steak tip sub, but this is understandable – it’s not every day that a legend gets his number retired.
We ventured up to the Coke deck, only to find no open seats, which was surprising because there are almost always empties up there. After heading back down, we ended up on the third base side:
We weren’t done yet…
Now that’s an upgrade! We spent the final 2 1/2 innings in these seats, which was pretty cool.
Once the game wrapped up, we hopped in an Uber and went home. What a night.
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