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Euphoric relief greets Red Sox

Euphoric relief greets Red Sox

BOSTON -- Like everything else this postseason, the return of the Red Sox as 2007 World Series champions to Fenway Park on Monday took some time but was eventually precise in execution.

The Red Sox's team charter touched down at Logan Airport shortly after 4 p.m. ET, about an hour later than scheduled. The team, staff and family members quickly deplaned and boarded six buses and loaded two trucks with luggage and equipment for the trip across town to Fenway.

One minute before 5 p.m. ET, a Boston Police Department officer on motorcycle came down Van Ness Street toward Yawkey Way to the cheers of hundreds of fans lined five- and six-deep behind barricades to welcome home the champs.

All of this came less than 18 hours after clinching the seventh World Series championship in team history with a 4-3 win in Denver on Sunday night.

"A lot of emotions: some guys tired, some wiped out, some guys loud and some guys quiet," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said of the plane ride home. "All the emotion is gone when you use it all and it comes flying out on the last out. I think everyone just hits a wall."

Many of the players were accompanied by their wives and family, loading luggage into their personal vehicles and waving to the fans before heading home to get some rest for Tuesday's "Rolling Rally," which will begin at noon at Fenway.

"This is incredible," said Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, who will be taking part in his third World Series title celebration and second in Boston. "[Tuesday] should be a lot of fun. It was fun in '04 and [Tuesday] should be no different. Every title is special -- different but definitely special."

The euphoria on the plane carried over to the executives, like principal owner John Henry, president/CEO Larry Lucchino, general manager Theo Epstein and team chairman Tom Werner.

"We all feel like we have to pinch ourselves," Werner said. "We all felt Colorado was a terrific team. After all, before the Series, they had won 21 of 22 games. I was saying to John Henry, we were really only behind in that second inning [of Game 2], when Schilling gave up that first-inning run. After that, we were ahead the entire series, so it's fantastic."

Werner said the team can't wait for Tuesday's rally.

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"It'll be fantastic, and what's great is that in 2004, it was kind of a damp day," Werner said. "So I think it'll be a great day for everybody to come out and compliment these great players."

Like Schilling, Tim Wakefield took part in the 2004 rally. But unlike Schilling, the knuckleballer was inactive for this World Series. But that won't lessen his enthusiasm.

"I'm looking forward to it," Wakefield said. "I'm looking forward to getting up early and share this celebration with the fans."

Wakefield will take part in the rally and then take care of his ailing right shoulder and upper back.

"I'm going to get an MRI in the next couple of days and make sure there's definitely no damage, and then get rest and relaxation and enjoy the offseason for at least a couple of months," Wakefield said.

The rest can begin Tuesday evening.

Mike Petraglia is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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