10/04/2004 10:30 PM ET
'Rally Monday' pumps up Sox fans
Video montages, actors and politicians add flourish
By Alan Ginsberg / MLB.com
|Red Sox fans yell and wave during "Rally Monday" at Fenway Park in Boston on Monday. (Elise Amendola/AP)
BOSTON -- A high school staple appeared on the professional scene Monday night at Fenway Park, where the Red Sox hosted a pep rally on the eve of Game 1 of their American League Division Series with Anaheim.
The free event, known as "Rally Monday," was the Red Sox' take on a Major League Baseball initiative recognized in the cities of all eight playoff teams.
The Red Sox were already in Anaheim preparing for their series opener at 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, but Red Sox broadcasters Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy presided over the event from a stage atop the Red Sox dugout, while interviews conducted by field reporter Eric Frede during Boston's workout in Anaheim aired live on the videoboard in center field.
The crowd -- which was estimated to be at least 5,000 strong -- also was able to watch Game 1 starter Curt Schilling and manager Terry Francona's press conferences in Anaheim, hearing Schilling call Angels MVP candidate Vladimir Guerrero "Barry Bonds with less patience."
At Fenway, president and chief executive officer Larry Lucchino and former players Dennis "Oil Can" Boyd and Rich Gedman made live appearances -- with Lucchino imploring those members of Red Sox Nation in Southern California to "get [their] butts down to Angel Stadium" -- while Senator Ted Kennedy, Mike O'Malley, Matt Damon, Ken Burns, Sports Illustrated's Peter King, former Massachusetts Governor Paul Cellucci, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry -- who donned a Red Sox jacket and drew the biggest reaction from the crowd -- Jimmy Fallon, Ray Bourque, Mike Eruzione, Lenny Clarke, Denis Leary and Cam Neely were among those to appear in videotaped segments.
During the two-hour event, Frede interviewed third baseman Kevin Youkilis, designated hitter David Ortiz, reliever Alan Embree, catcher Jason Varitek, first baseman Kevin Millar and senior vice president and general manager Theo Epstein and aired a piece on shortstop Orlando Cabrera's personalized congratulatory handshakes with each of his teammates.
Millar proved to be a fan favorite, assuring the Fenway Faithful that "this is the yeah," in his best Boston accent and later interviewing Francona himself and demonstrating a complex new handshake with left fielder Manny Ramirez.
Three pairs of tickets to Friday's Game 3 were also raffled off. Fourteen-year-old Kelly Siebold, a freshman at Reading High School, was one of the winners.
"I thought I was going to be watching this on TV," said Siebold, who planned to take her mother to the game. "I'm going to be wicked popular [Tuesday at school]."
Video montages of the top 10 plays of the season -- culminating in Bill Mueller's July 24 walk-off home run off Mariano Rivera -- and great moments from the past year in Boston sports also aired, with clips of Pedro Martinez throwing Yankees bench coach Don Zimmer to the ground in Game 3 of last year's ALCS and Varitek and Alex Rodriguez grappling in that July 24 game, drawing loud ovations.
Boston band Dropkick Murphys concluded the rally, playing Fenway favorite "Dirty Water", "Tessie" and other hits.
Alan Ginsberg is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.