Red Sox lift Curse with sweep

Champs: With the victory over St. Louis, the franchise ends its 86-year drought and misery that dates to its sale of Babe Ruth to the Yankees.

Boston Wins World Series

October 28, 2004|By Stephen Kiehl | Stephen Kiehl,SUN STAFF

BOSTON -- The Red Sox finally did it.

After 86 years of heartbreak and misery, the star-crossed team that seemed haunted by its own history has slain its demons, buried its past and, at long last, won the World Series. The storied Boston Red Sox completed a sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals last night, 3-0, to capture the team's first Series since 1918.

Somewhere, Babe Ruth is rolling over.

But there is joy in New England. Lots of it. After coming so close so many times and always finding a way to lose, a delirious Red Sox Nation now finds itself planning a victory parade. After always waiting until next year, next year is here. This will be a winter for celebrating, not second-guessing.

Even before the final out was recorded, a large crowd gathered outside Fenway Park and began chanting, "Sweep! Sweep!" as several hundred officers in riot gear, carrying clubs and pellet guns, kept a nervous watch.

One fan was holding a sign that read, "Curses are made to be broken." Fans shot fireworks into the sky and waved brooms over their heads.

A police officer on a bullhorn told the crowd: "This is the Boston Police. You must move out of the street. If you do not, we will move you."

The police used pepper spray gas to move the crowd away from Fenway. Glass bottles and full beer cans flew at officers.

Police at Kenmore Square changed their tactics from last week, when the American League Championship Series celebration got out of hand. With about twice as many officers deployed, police broke up the crowd into smaller groups, preventing revelers from moving en masse on Fenway Park.

The celebrating started early last night, when Johnny Damon hit the third pitch of the night over the right-field wall into the Cardinals' bullpen. Red Sox fans, who were still guardedly optimistic as the game began, started to realize their long wait could be over very soon.

Derek Lowe pitched seven shutout innings, holding the Cardinals to three hits, before turning the game over to the Boston bullpen. The Red Sox added two runs in the third to provide a more comfortable margin.

"What will happen to sports talk radio in Boston?" asked Rabbi Harold S. Kushner of Temple Israel in Natick, Mass. Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People, bought Sox season tickets 22 years ago as his first indulgence when he became a best-selling author, and he has suffered plenty for it.

"I'm having a wonderful time," he said in an interview yesterday. "But there's a part of me that wonders what will happen to the soul of Red Sox Nation. So much of our personality is always losing. And now Red Sox fans will have to make a tremendous psychological adjustment."

They seem up for the challenge. Hundreds of Sox fans crowded into Kenmore Square bars near Fenway Park hours before last night's game, securing prime seats. Some said they drove for hours, from as far away as Rochester, N.Y., because they wanted to be near the shrine that is the Red Sox's home.

"I came here because this is history in the making. This is a story I'm going to tell my grandchildren," said Paul O'Brien, 47, of Worcester, Mass. "They've been heartbreakers for 86 years. They take you there, but you never get there. But it's like how you love your family -- no matter what they do, you love them."

The Sam Adams, and lots of other alcohol, was flowing freely at the bars, even though some Boston officials had suggested last week imposing restrictions on bars near the park. In the celebration that followed last week's American League Championship Series win over the New York Yankees, an Emerson College student was shot in the eye with a pellet gun fired by police. The student, Victoria Snelgrove, 21, died early last Thursday morning.

In response, Boston police requested the help of outside police agencies that were used during the Democratic National Convention in July. An incident command center was stationed at the square, with officers standing atop it and bright lights illuminating the intersection.

The state prison system sent buses for police to round up rowdy revelers. Police said they would not be using the FN303 pepper spray pellet guns, which killed Snelgrove and hit several others in the face and body last week. A police spokeswoman said officers would have available another "less than lethal" pellet weapon.

Television stations were asked not to send their cameras into bars because, well, people tend to act like fools when cameras are around. Fifty police motorcycles lined up in a park near Kenmore Square, and fire engines were also stationed nearby. The engines had the Red Sox logo -- a pair of red socks -- taped to the windows. The firefighters, of course, are fans, too.

Support for the Red Sox was in full bloom across Boston yesterday. On Newbury Street, the Elizabeth Grady skin care salon featured a white board saying "Go Red Sox!" and then urging fans to relax with a facial or waxing. Indeed, "Go Sox!" seemed to adorn most public spaces in the city, from tollbooths to building facades.

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