Fans eager to see the Red Sox take on the Cardinals in Game 1 of the World Series on Wednesday shrugged off stepped-up security in a city still recovering from the bombings at the Boston Marathon.
Ticket-holders were asked to leave backpacks at home, and security personnel used metal-detecting wands to screen fans entering the historic park. Boston Police stood on every nearby corner, sizing up the faces of fans as they gathered in the crowded streets surrounding Fenway.
No significant problems were reported and some fans thanked officers standing outside the park -- and expressed sympathy that they wouldn't be able to watch the game.
"I'm good with the security," said Dan Griggs of Boston, who came to the game with his wife Ardeth. Griggs said he was more concerned about the Cardinals' pitching staff than he was about his personal safety at the World Series.
"It's the World Series. You can't live your life that way," he said.
Still, the precautions were a palpable reminder of the April 15 bombings that killed three and wounded more than 260 near the marathon finish line.
Earlier in the week, Boston Police Superintendent Daniel Linskey said police had also spoken with bar owners in the neighborhood to get their cooperation in diffusing any postgame violence.
"Please help us to keep you safe and don't allow anyone to tarnish the image of Boston Strong," Linskey said, using the phrase that came to identify the city's recovery from the bombings. He said there will be an enhanced law enforcement presence around Fenway for the first two games of the series -- and again if the series returns to Boston after three games in St. Louis.
Over the course of the season, victims of the attack were honored at Red Sox home games. Players visited the injured in hospitals. A gargantuan "B Strong" logo was cut into the grass in the outfield. The team also gave Boston something else to think about: winning.
"Something like that, it kind of shocks you to the foundations," said Joe Addesa, a sausage vendor who was setting up his booth outside Fenway Wednesday as the first fans began to gather. "This is just a sport, but sometimes it's amazing how sports can transcend everything else."
While the bombings still come to mind from time to time, Addesa showed up to work Wednesday with his thoughts on two other things: a Sox victory and brisk sausage sales.
He had reason to be optimistic about the latter: Tampa Bay fans just nibble, fans from Midwestern cities like St. Louis pack it away, he said.
As for the Red Sox, Addesa wasn't taking any chances. He wore the same scuffed up sneakers he wore for opening day back in April -- even though they now have a large hole. If he broke in a new pair now, he said with a grin, he might jinx it for all of Boston.
"I'm superstitious," he said.