Sox host Christmas at Fenway

Sox host Christmas at Fenway

BOSTON -- In the middle of Fenway Park's EMC Club on Saturday, some 20 boys and girls gathered around a stage decorated with holiday poinsettias to ask questions.

They weren't making requests to Santa Claus, but rather quizzing someone who has already helped deliver the best gift any Red Sox fan could ever wish for twice.

Manager Terry Francona was one of the Red Sox celebrities on hand for the annual Christmas at Fenway celebration, shifting the club's 2008 ticket-selling drive into high gear.

Selected members of Red Sox Kid Nation had the chance to ask the manager of the 2007 World Series champions about everything from Johan Santana and Jacoby Ellsbury, to his favorite player on the team, to how much fun he is having as manager of a team that has won it all in two of the last four seasons.

"It's the best job I've ever had," Francona answered to the latter. "It's just so rewarding."

Before getting a chance to answer a question about whether Ellsbury might be traded, the EMC crowd emphatically shouted "No!" in unison. Francona followed up by saying he would let general manager Theo Epstein worry about any potential personnel moves.

Red Sox president/CEO Larry Lucchino was also on hand, taking pictures with fans, and echoed Francona's sentiments about the Santana/Ellsbury rumors.

"We're not going to talk much about Santana, if that's what you want to talk about," Lucchino said. "We'll happily sing Christmas carols."

And there were Christmas carols aplenty, as "In Choro Novo" performed just before vice president of player personnel Ben Cherington took the stage.

Christmas at Fenway has drawn thousands of fans from throughout New England to Fenway every December on a mission of buying tickets just in time for holiday gifting.

Lyn Sherwin came in from Stowe, Vt., on Friday with her two daughters, Tyler, 7, and Bailey, 10. They stayed in Boston on Saturday for the chance to buy one of nine Sox Pax for the 2008 season.

Sherwin registered at redsox.com for Saturday's ticket-buying spree.

"Just got the e-mail [on Friday] and it was a late-night drive down," Sherwin said. "It definitely felt like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It's awesome, and coming off the World Series, who wouldn't want to be here and enjoy the festivities?"

Fans like Nancy Grove, of Tyngsboro, Mass., came to Fenway with her husband, Bill, and their son John, 7. They, like many others on Saturday, had the chance to take pictures with the newest World Series trophy.

"It's hard to believe we did it again just three years later," Grove said. "It was [86] years before that. It's just great to be part of it, soaking it all in and taking pictures, getting signatures and enjoying the whole thing."

Fans also had the chance to purchase tickets to 28 select individual games next season.

"This is a nice event," Francona observed. "There's a bunch of kids, and everyone's getting into the holiday spirit and you incorporate that with the Red Sox. It's a nice day for everybody.

"Some of the players are coming in the next couple of days and they'll be caravaning around, visiting some of the hospitals. It's kind of a fun time, especially when the kids are involved," the manager added.

For his part, Lucchino was proud of all of his elves in and around Fenway Park who helped mix in holiday cheer with a little baseball business.

"It is a great tradition, isn't it?" Lucchino said. "Christmastime at Fenway, it's great. There's a nice spirit today. [There are] people singing Christmas carols, buying tickets, talking to Francona, buying tickets, listening to radio interviews, buying tickets. It's a great day," he said with a smile.

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