As you're probably aware, Friday - that's today! - is the 100th anniversary of the first game at Fenway Park. The Red Sox are to play the Yankees, and before the proceedings, there were other proceedings. Ceremonious proceedings. In front of a packed house, the Red Sox wheeled out and sometimes literally wheeled out pretty much every player to ever wear a Red Sox uniform. There was Oil Can Boyd. There was Johnny Pesky. There was Izzy Alcantara. There was Lou Merloni. With rare exception, if there's a guy you associate with the Red Sox in your head, he was present in Fenway Friday afternoon.
By and large, the pre-game ceremony was touching and well conducted. Wrote Peter Abraham:
The ceremony is over. How it could have been better, I'm not sure. If you're a fan of baseball, you had to enjoy that.
Twitter agreed. I don't follow everybody on Twitter, but the consensus from what I saw was "the Red Sox really know how to do this."
But when the ceremony was over, the ceremony was not over. There was still the matter of the toast. The potentially record-breaking toast.
Friday's ceremonies will also include a toast to Fenway Park. When fans arrive at their seats, they will find a grape juice drink and cups beneath their seats or in cup holders. The crowd will be invited to participate in the toast at the end of the pre-game ceremonies, in an attempt to set a world record for the largest toast in a single venue.
The toast was led by World Series winners Pedro Martinez and Kevin Millar. I wrote "colorful" up there instead of "bad" because I wanted to be polite, but the toast was bad. Here is a representative image:
I don't know if Pedro and Millar were blackout drunk, but they sounded like they were blackout drunk. After leading the toast from on top of the dugout, they started talking about Karim Garcia. Then they kept talking about Karim Garcia, and then in the line of the day, Millar said "I think we're done, this is awkward now."
The toast captured the spirit of the 2004 Boston Red Sox, because that really was a team full of idiots, but I can think of more dignified ways to end what was otherwise a dignified ceremony. If you're trying to tug at people's heartstrings, and if you're trying to give people an experience they'll never forget, I don't know why you'd hand a microphone to Kevin Millar. I don't know why you'd hand a microphone to Kevin Millar in any circumstance, unless you're holding a microphone with a spider on it, and you're standing by Kevin Millar.