Rally Monday a big hit in Boston

Rally Monday a big hit in Boston

BOSTON -- As the Red Sox prepare to face the Angels in Game 1 of the American League Divsion Series on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. ET, Rally Monday was organized to celebrate the team's fourth postseason appearance in the past five years.

For two hours before the Dropkick Murphys shook the concrete beneath their feet, Red Sox fans filled the city's expansive Government Center with chants, cheers and loud screams.

But at occasional moments on Rally Monday, all that could be heard was thunderous laughter. Video footage of closer Jonathan Papelbon's barefoot jig after the Red Sox clinched the AL East title on Friday -- which rolled on a giant elevated screen -- provided one of those moments.

"If we win the World Series," Papelbon said later to the assembled crowd, "I promise to every single one of you, I'll dance all night long."

Papelbon wasn't the only Red Sox player who took the stage on a festive Rally Monday. Rookies Jacoby Ellsbury and Clay Buchholz, relievers Mike Timlin, Javier Lopez and Kyle Snyder and manager Terry Francona also spoke to the crowd.

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, radio voice Joe Castiglione and the three members of the Red Sox's ownership group -- John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino -- similarly took questions from NESN broadcasters Tom Caron and Tina Cervasio. Like the players' words of support, their answers echoed across City Hall Plaza.

"Boston fans know how to party, that's for sure," Werner said. "Our magic number is 11. We've got to win 11 [more] games, and then we're going to come back and really party."

Even before the Standells, joined by a medley of musical guests -- including Henry on guitar -- took the stage to play "Dirty Water" and before the Dropkick Murphys played "I'm Shipping Up To Boston," the crowd worked itself into a frenzy.

Fans wore team jerseys and paint on their faces. Young fan Joey Hasson, with his Brookline High School classmate Joe Schacht, showed his pride by wearing a Red Sox team-logo yarmulke.

"I got it from Israel," said Hasson, who added that he hoped the Red Sox players would sign it.

"I had one, too," said Schacht, who wore a more conventional Boston baseball cap. "I lost it."

Max White, a graduate student in Northeastern University's English Ph.D program, didn't wear any Red Sox gear. Instead, one day after his home team completed a historic clincher in the National League East, he wore the road-gray jersey of the Phillies and a retro-style "P" hat.

"The [Red Sox fans] can take it however they want to take it, you know?" White said. "But if it comes to the World Series, if it comes to that, I'm rooting for the Phillies."

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"I'm a Philly fan," White clarified. "I'm from near Philly, and I've got to support my team. But I like the Red Sox. too. So I'm going to support them also."

Tom Foresteire, meanwhile, came all the way from Los Angeles to enjoy the scene. The Lowell, Mass., native will spend the entire month of October in Boston to root for the Red Sox.

"I missed the celebration in 2004," said Foresteire, wearing an official team jacket. "I'm not missing it this time."

Monday's events additionally gave fans the opportunity to celebrate the 1967 "Impossible Dream," exactly 40 years ago to the day after the Red Sox beat the Twins to clinch the AL pennant.

A string of musical numbers reflected the era, as Lynn, Mass., native Freddy "Boom Boom" Cannon kicked off a tribute to the '60s. Bob Cowsill, from the group that inspired the Partridge Family, and Peter Tork of The Monkees performed.

"I was just telling her who the Cowsills were," said Red Sox fan Teri Wysor of her daughter, Sarah Rivera, who sat next to her at the back of the plaza.

Rivera, originally from Ashland, Mass., recently returned to the area from San Diego. Rally Monday provided a special mother-daughter bonding opportunity.

That, Wysor said, and a chance to "let the team know we love them."

The 2007 AL East champions got plenty of love on Monday. The rest, from Tuesday's team workouts until the end of the postseason, will be all business.

Alex McPhillips is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.