Inspiration for Red Sox celebration found here

Steinberg helped plan Memorial finale for O's

April 12, 2005|By Laura Vecsey | Laura Vecsey,SUN STAFF

BOSTON - In perhaps their proudest moment since the Boston Tea Party, Red Sox Nation partied not like it was October 2004, but like they were swept back in time - and to another baseball-loving city.

"The origins of how we did this ring ceremony are in Baltimore," said Charles Steinberg, executive vice president of public affairs for the Red Sox.

"I reached into my memory of what I would have done in Baltimore."

In 1991, as director of public affairs for the Orioles, it was Steinberg's job to find the fitting way for Orioles fans to bid farewell to the old stadium on 33rd Street on Oct. 6.

Steinberg wanted to set a perfect mood, so he chose not use a public address announcer at the Memorial Stadium farewell he choreographed. He wanted a non-verbal atmosphere, allowing players to walk unannounced to their positions one last time, to allow the city to look one last time at one of the most familiar sights.

"Brooks [Robinson] walked out and went to third base. Frank [Robinson] went to right field. Don Baylor went to left and Boog [Powell] went to first. They didn't need an introduction. In 1991, we played the theme song to Field of Dreams and allowed these guys to walk out," he said.

"I didn't know at first what people thought about the ceremony. Memorial Stadium got very quiet, but I couldn't tell people's reaction. Days later, I found out why it had gotten so quiet. Because people cried."

When the Red Sox decided to combine their 2005 home opener with the ring ceremony to celebrate their 2004 World Series win, Steinberg drew on his Orioles past.

Players walked from the dugout to pick up their rings with no introduction.

In the outfield, alums from Red Sox teams past were gathered.

"I wanted this to be the vehicle to express emotions and to let them out. We needed triggers to snap the lid of these buckets of emotions. And the thing that resonated best with fans was the final day at Memorial Stadium."

Steinberg helped orchestrate the return yesterday of Carl Yastrzemski, Dom DiMaggio, Bobby Doerr and Jim Rice, among others, to share in the celebration.

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