Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Faithful Fans of RED SOX Nation line up for tickets & a piece of RED SOX history

Even after the 2011 slump in the " September from Hell ", where our Red Sox tanked in a spectacular display of buffoonery, the fans return in droves. It must be something in the DNA of Red Sox fans that makes them like the swallows coming back to Capistrano....We don't really have the ability to resist the siren call of Baseball, the Red Sox and all that goes with Fenway Park, which will celebrate 100 years of Baseball this season.

I just hope for our sake that John Henry & his crew have gotten their game plan in place because if they tank the 2012 season, it will be the worst way to commemorate a century of America's pastime in " The Chapel ".

Red Sox fans
gobble up tickets, memorabilia

Boston Red Sox backer Eric Atkinson is a prime example of why "fan" is short for

Atkinson was so intent on buying the team’s 2004 and 2007 World Series championship banners at the Red Sox Yard Sale that he flew in Friday from Beverly, Mass., rented a storage truck and stood in line overnight so he could be first in line.

He had $8,000 in his pocket because the Red Sox only accepted cash.

It hardly helped his level of comfort that fans – standing in a separate line for single-game tickets – told him there was a nearby shooting and drug deal.

But he stayed – with one eye open.

Atkinson’s 16-hour wait for the pennants – which hung on the team’s batting cages – was rewarded when he joined about 350 fans who walked through the turnstiles at City of Palms Park at 8 a.m. Saturday. He bought each for $800.

“It’s the prize of the lot,” friend Rob Hurst said.

“Can’t go wrong with ’04 and ’07,” said Atkinson, who also bought locker room chairs, bats and $50 grab bags, which included a jersey of an unknown player as well as a program. The week before, he bought 93 jerseys, a turnstile, bats and Carlton Fisk and Wade Boggs banners at a Fenway Park yard sale. “They’ll go in my man-cave bar.”

With the Red Sox moving to a new park this spring, the team sold furniture, framed artwork and televisions from City of Palms Park as well as media guides, bats, balls, shirts, banners and signs.

What fascinated Katie Haas, the Red Sox Florida operations director, was what interested the second person in line was totally different from what Atkinson wanted.

“I gave a sound bite, which I wish I hadn’t said because a fan said, ‘You’re calling this junk,’ “ Haas said. “But one man’s junk is another person’s treasure.”

Haas said the story behind the treasure helped people in their purchases. When told the TVs were in the clubhouse or a chair was in the owner’s suite, that helped husbands convince wives they needed to buy them, she said.

Fans did get a little physical and jostled for the bats. “When it’s covered in pine tar and tape and has a player’s name on it, that also tells a story,” she said.

Helen Sotiropoulos, a 19-year employee of Aramark, the Red Sox’s food vendor, bought a chair before “they went out flying.”

Jennifer Canedy of Cape Coral got a photo of her favorite player, Jason Varitek, “even though he probably won’t be here anymore.” Shannon Devegnee of Cape Coral, bought a $20 framed photo of Ted Williams playing tennis. She’ll give it to her father Tony Patti for Christmas because that’s his favorite player. Her daughter Brianna bought Red Sox lights for $3.

April Bailey bought a rusted metal, on-deck bat. “I just happened to see it on a table,” she said. “I put it down, walked around the inside; and when it was still there, I said, ‘I just have to ask somebody about this bat.’ “

Bailey was told the bat really wasn’t for sale; but to tell the cashier it was $10.

Pine Island’s Jack Kershilis, 73, was resourceful when the Red Sox Baseball Store sign ($100) was too big to fit in his van. “They had a saw so I cut it,” he said. “I’m going to take these feet (Red Sox logo) and cut off the words store and put the feet on that side. I’ll put it in my garage.”

Kershilis’ wife was in line waiting for tickets. “I think she’d go ballistic if she knew,” he said. “I don’t think I’ll tell her until she gets in the car. She might not be able to ride in the car.”

When Brianna Devegnee helped Kershilis carry his sign to his car, he gave her a $2 tip.

As Kershilis returned to his unsuspecting wife, fans patiently waited in line for tickets.

A group of North Fort Myers High friends – Connor Roggero, Teddy Moore, Matt Mills, Neill Dickinson and Bridget Harper – had camped out since Thursday.

Two, long-time Naples’ friends and oldtimers, Phil Stang and Mike Boudreau, arrived at the ballpark at 4:15 a.m. to get tickets. Stang talked Boudreau into coming, even though he’s recovering from foot surgery

What the heck? Why not,” Boudreau said.

And what they did do while waiting? “Annoy each other,” Stang said.

Haas said five games are near sellouts – Tampa Bay (March 10), St. Louis (March 15), Baltimore (March 17), the New York Yankees (March 22) and Philadelphia (March 24).

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