BOSTON -- Tony Lafuente was only too happy to sacrifice some sleep on Monday morning to get up early and help out the World Series champion Red Sox.
Lafuente's labor of love was to stitch together the latest World Series champions red banner above Gate D at Fenway Park.
"It's an unbelievable thing every year when we decorate the park," Lafuente said. "For us, it's a novelty and a wonderful experience for us to decorate the park."
Lafuente owns and operates Flag Graphics in nearby Somerville, Mass., and he left his office midway through the day on Monday with the important piece of cloth, ready to hang it up himself.
"We came in very early this morning," Lafuente said at 2 p.m. ET, some three hours before the Sox players and staff could see his handywork. "They wanted it up for the players for when they get in, so we made sure that it was up."
Lafuente took down the blue American League championship banner and replaced it with the red one, drawing raves and cheers from the hundreds of fans that had begun to assemble, waiting outside Fenway for the players to return to the ballpark after their flight home from Denver.
"This is unbelievable," said Dave Yates, who came down from Hudson, N.H., with his wife, Susan, and 4-year-old grandson, Calvin Durham. "There was 2004 and I never thought I'd see it in my lifetime, and two times in four years just gives me chills."
Mike Petraglia is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.