BOSTON — Lance Richmond of Pittsfield and his 14-year-old twin son and daughter threaded their way through the growing crowd outside Fenway Park on Wednesday night, with Game 6 of the 2013 World Series at hand.
The air was electric with anticipation.
The Boston Red Sox were one victory away from winning the World Series on their home field for the first time in 95 years. Beat the St. Louis Cardinals and the world championship would belong to the team, the six New England states and a legion of fans.
“We’re all in,” said Richmond. “The Red Sox are winning it tonight. We don’t have tickets for Game 7.”
Richmond and his twins, Carter and Emily, drove down from Pittsfield, then rode the MBTA’s Green Line to Kenmore Square, a short walk from the park. By late afternoon, the subway trains leaving North Station were already crowded with Red Sox fans on their way to the 8 o’clock game.
Richmond’s journey was six years in the making. He had tickets to Game 5 of the 2007 World Series in Denver. The Red Sox clinched the series there in Game 4.
“I was probably the only Red Sox fan praying they’d lose (to the Colorado Rockies),” he said. “It turned out OK. Red Sox fans were allowed into the stadium late in the game so we could celebrate.”
Carter Richmond was excited before Wednesday night’s game, but Emily wasn’t wearing her game face. She had just discovered that the rapper Drake was in concert at the TD Garden. Maybe she was thinking of a ticket swap.
Sharon Worth flew in from San Diego to surprise her 60-year-old brother, Walt, with tickets to Game 6. Wednesday was his birthday. “He kept asking, pardon my French, are you (bleeping) me?”
Sharon Worth got to a game in the 2004 World Series, which the Red Sox won, ending 86 years of futility. But she didn’t get to one in the 2007 World Series victory over the Rockies.
“I wasn’t going to miss this one,” she said Wednesday outside Fenway Park.
The Red Sox hadn’t won the World Series at Fenway since 1918. No one wanted to miss this.
Jay Cross of Cape Elizabeth, Dan Lay of Brunswick and Adam Taylor of Falmouth came to see history, shorten their bucket lists and simply have a good time. Lay was puffing on a big cigar even before the game. You didn’t know which was thicker: their optimism or the smell of tobacco.
Elaine Ray of Westminister, Mass., snapped a photo of her husband, Ray, standing in the middle of Landsdowne Street, with Fenway Park’s banners and festive lights behind him.
Their two tickets to seats in the right field bleachers cost a total of $1,400. The washing machine in their home broke this week, and a new washer-dryer combination will cost about that much, Elaine Ray said.
The discussion probably lasted less than two minutes. Dirty laundry can be washed anywhere.
Peter Marleau of Holden, Mass., leaned on a railing of the bridge that spans the Massachusetts Turnpike near Fenway’s Green Monster. In minutes, President Obama’s motorcade would pass underneath. The president had delivered a speech at Fanueil Hall not an hour before.
Marleau, who served with the Marines, had something else on his mind. He held a sign identifying himself as a veteran who would pay a reasonable price for a single ticket.
“In 2004, I was just married and held a sign saying my new wife and I needed two tickets. We got them,” said Marleau.
He didn’t say how much he would pay, but was monitoring the resale prices on his smartphone. As he spoke, standing-room-only was up to $836. Two hours later, a scalper on Brookline Avenue was selling a standing-room ticket for $1,100.
Mary Ellen Cahill walked by at the corner of Yawkey Way and Brookline Avenue. She was easy to spot in her wedding dress and Santa Claus beard, with a sign hanging from her neck: “Marry me, Papi. Will sign a pre-nup (prenuptual agreement).”
She didn’t have a ticket to the game. Her husband of 20 years, Michael, was waiting for her at home in Canton, Mass.
“He knows I’m here, but he doesn’t know anything about this,” she said, gesturing to her dress and beard. “He’s Irish. He doesn’t know anything about baseball. We’ll watch the game together on the couch when I get back home.”
She bought the wedding dress for $9.99 at a Goodwill store, and bought the beard at a party store. Her leather boots didn’t match the dress, but who cared?
“I’m a nurse (and the mother of a Northeastern University student studying in Australia this semester) and sometimes I just need to vent, do something crazy,” she said.
All in fun, with a touch of madness.
Lines to get into the bars and restaurants that surround Fenway Park were about 50 deep. At one point, the wait was up to 90 minutes.
Like Mary Ellen Cahill, I couldn’t get into the game without a media credential or a ticket. I walked to a hotel lobby three blocks from the stadium. Bit by bit, Red Sox fans found their way to seats in front of two big-screen televisions. We were joined by several members of the Boston Police Department, biding their time until after the game.
“All day, this city has just been electric,” said Elaine Ray, who had arrived in Boston with her husband many hours earlier. They wore their Red Sox gear. “No one talks to each other in an elevator. Today, they did,” she said. “People turned and asked: Are you going to the game tonight? People were smiling at each other all day.”
Maybe it was the giddiness that followed last year’s suffering, with the Red Sox recording their worst record since 1965. “From worst to first” was repeated, almost with the wonder of children.
Dan Lay, the fan from Brunswick, mused at how fitting it was that John Lackey, much-maligned through his first three seasons in Boston, was the Sox starting pitcher for the clincher in his fourth: “This is all about redemption, isn’t it?”
It’s about claiming baseball’s biggest prize. It’s about a Red Sox team that earned the accolades.
Sharon Worth and her brother heard that the subways would stop running at some point after the game. She didn’t care. She flew all the way across the country to see this.
“When they win, we’ll be so high we’ll walk back to Malden,” she said.
She was already celebrating.
Steve Solloway can be contacted at 791-6412 or at:email@example.comTwitter: SteveSolloway