10/10/2003 7:17 PM ET
Tickets draw Red Sox Nation
BOSTON -- The pilgrimage begins as the first ones arrive.
By Doug Miller / MLB.com
They're tired, hungry, and yearning to breathe free, but they're still eons away from their land of promise.
At least 33 hours away, to be exact.
Yes, tickets for Game 3 of the American League Championship Series are slated to go on sale sometime between 9 and 11 on Saturday morning at Fenway Park.
And Friday at 2 a.m. in the Boston darkness, 21-year-old junior college student Tom Bard completed his drive from Winslow, Maine, rolled up in his Pathfinder, and parked it a Bill Mueller bunt's distance from Mecca, otherwise known as the Fenway box office.
He's the chosen one. The first one in the line.
Thirteen hours, 57 empty Big Mac boxes, and 150 people later, Bard still sits in his catbird seat along Brookline Avenue, where Red Sox Nation has set up a colony of hopeful disciples.
"I won't feel like I've won anything," Bard said. "Not until I got 'em in my hand."
Nos. 37-54 in line are members and alumni of the Delta Upsilon fraternity at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
You'd expect budding Einsteins to come up with a way to avoid spending close to two days on a sidewalk, and naturally they have.
Mike McDonald, a 23-year-old graduate of MIT who somehow doesn't have a job yet, said he brought a sofa down at about 3 a.m. and lounged in it peacefully for about eight hours until the police made him bring it back to the nearby alumni headquarters.
"It was all over the morning news," McDonald said. "Two guys sleeping on couches. I guess the captain saw it on TV and that was that."
Sitting quietly and studiously in a camping chair across from McDonald was Matt Waldon. He wasn't smiling and he certainly was not playing Texas hold 'em with the other brothers.
Perhaps it's because he was nose-deep in a book called Discrete-Time Signal Processing.
You know that one, right?
J.K. Rowling's first book, right before the Harry Potter series took off. The one with that killer cliff-hanger chapter called "Transform Analysis of Linear Time Invariant Systems."
"It's electrical engineering," Waldon said before diving back into the pages.
Heading over to Lansdowne Street, father and son Hank and Patrick Dunn soaked in the local sights while braving the masses in New York Yankees gear.
The Dunns drove up from the South Bronx and said they're just fine with the hostility Sox fans have been throwing their way.
In fact, they've taken to breaking into a shrill, alarmingly jarring rendition of Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York," about every 30 seconds.
They did another impromptu version as waitress Claudia Busto exited her workplace, the Tiki Room.
Unlike most other human beings with fully functioning ears, Busto was grooving to their tune.
"Keep singing it," she said with glee. "Maybe we'll shut up all these Red Sox fans around here."
As it turns out, Busto is from Flushing, N.Y., so she enjoys skewering the Sox.
Her favorite recent anecdote chronicles a night in the life of a Boston outfielder Busto said stopped in for dinner.
"He sat here for two hours, ate our food, had a few drinks, and everything was cool," Busto said. "Then when he was settling up the bill, he pulled out a gift certificate from Jillian's. That's the place next door. Duh."
Doubling back to the other side of the stadium, there's suddenly no more line on Brookline.
The police have decided once and for all to kick all the ticket-seekers off the sidewalk. They'll have to come back in the morning and try their luck again.
Tom Bard is bummed.
"I don't understand it," he said. "We weren't unruly or anything. We were just talking about baseball. It's like they don't want us to be fans or something."
Then he remembers something, points to his Pathfinder and smiles.
"You know what? I'm parked legally in that spot."
"I'm just gonna sit in my car all night."
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its clubs.