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Nation turns out to cheer on club

Nation turns out to cheer on club

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BOSTON -- For the fifth time in six seasons, the Red Sox are making their way to the postseason, looking for their third World Series title in five years. It's beginning to seem like a common occurrence in the New England area to have Sox baseball extend to October, and the faithful came out to celebrate on Monday afternoon at Fenway Park.

An estimated 900 fans headed through Fenway's gates for the 2008 Postseason Rally Monday presented by Bank of America and hosted by NESN, gathering just behind the Boston dugout down the first-base line to cheer and support the Sox.

Boston clinched its 2008 playoff berth on Tuesday with a 5-4 win over the Cleveland Indians, then officially became the American League Wild Card entrant with a loss to the Yankees on Friday -- effectively eliminating themselves from AL East contention.

On Monday, NESN anchor Tom Caron and studio analyst Lou Merloni hosted the event, which featured appearances by manager Terry Francona and players Kevin Youkilis and Jason Bay.

Local band Quest, hailing from Roxbury, Mass., took part in the festivities and played songs in between speeches by the members of the Red Sox organization. It was a celebration of just how well the club has played throughout the past six years, and as a reward there were songs that became staples of an evening at Fenway Park played throughout the event.

"Sweet Caroline," "Wild Thing" and "I'm Shipping Up To Boston" (the last two songs synonymous with Jonathan Papelbon's entrance into a ballgame), and "Tessie" all proudly streamed through the loud speakers.

It was the fourth time in five years that the Sox had such an event take place. Major League Baseball began the rallies in 2004 as a way for fans to celebrate advancement to postseason play.

The Red Sox hosted the event at Fenway in 2004 and '05, then took the rally to City Hall plaza in '07 before returning to the ballpark this year.

The event, which was televised live by NESN, will be replayed at 8 p.m. ET on Monday night.

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

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