“It was just soothing, just nice and relaxing and just, like, happy–it was a feeling I’d never gotten from the Red Sox,” said Michael E. Clear ’05 of Westford, Mass., who said he has rooted for the team all 21 years of his life and took the T to Park Street at 7 a.m.
The procession of 17 duck boats—the amphibious World War II-era vehicles familiar to Boston tourists—carried Red Sox families, players and staff through the streets from Fenway Park to downtown Boston, before descending into the Charles River to float past more fans lining the bridges and riverbanks.
The crowds, braving a damp and chilly morning, lined the entire parade route in rows more than twenty people deep at some points.
Moritz C. Hafner ’08, a student from Switzerland, said the excitement reminded him of France’s soccer World Cup victory in 1998. Hafner, who said he did not know of the Red Sox until coming to Cambridge, rode the T to the parade wearing a new Red Sox cap.
“I’ve been waiting two months for the Red Sox to win!” Hafner joked.
When the parade passed the intersection of Tremont and Bosworth streets, church bells rang while office workers and guests at the Nine Zero hotel rained down makeshift confetti.
Some at the parade grew sentimental while commenting on the Red Sox’ first championship since 1918.
“This is something my grandparents wanted to take part in but didn’t get the chance to, and I’m here for them,” said Michael B. James, a fisherman from Scituate, Mass., who said he arrived at the parade route at 7 a.m.
The players seemed as excited as the fans; pitcher Pedro Martinez danced to rap music blaring from the duck boats’ loudspeakers as pitcher Curt Schilling waved his cap.
Designated hitter David Ortiz, wearing a “Big Daddy” jersey, pointed to individuals in the crowd as his duck boat drove by.
“It made you realize you’re not rooting for something inhuman, but something that cares you care about them,” said Luke M. Messac ’08, who was born in Massachusetts but now lives in New York.
Samuel W. Teller ’08, a lifelong Red Sox fan who lives in Los Angeles, remarked on the rarity of the common outpouring of joy.
“With everyone so divided about the election, it’s pretty great to see people come together for the Sox,” Teller said.
After the parade had passed, Christopher J. O’Connell, a Boston native wearing oversized sideburns glued to his face and a “The curse has left the building” sign on his fake belly, greeted jubilant passersby.
“It just all hit home today,” said O’Connell, who works at the Federal Reserve Bank in Boston. “On Wednesday we looked at the TV and said, ‘Holy sugar, am I seeing it?’ But today is when everyone just realized, this is ours!”
Not everyone in the crowd was a Red Sox fan, however. Jeremy D. Martin ’06, a student at Western New England College in Springfield, Mass., accompanied his friends to the parade even though he lives in New Jersey and said he roots for the New York Yankees.
“I just want to celebrate,” Martin said.