BOSTON – Nine decades in the waiting and five months in the planning, the Boston Red Sox (search) celebrated their 2004 World Series title on Monday with gaudy rings, a jumbo pennant and the best sign of all for a repeat in '05: an 8-1 win over the rival New York Yankees.
Tim Wakefield (search) pitched seven strong innings and Doug Mirabelli (search) homered to give the Red Sox an 8-1 win over the Yankees, who played compliant guests by watching and clapping during the hourlong ring ceremony and then fumbling away the game.
Mike Mussina (0-1) allowed seven runs — four earned — on seven hits, three walks and five strikeouts in five innings. Alex Rodriguez (search), the focus of much Boston ire during the offseason and the fans' taunts during the game, misplayed a grounder for an error that let in three Red Sox runs as they made it 7-1 in the fifth inning.
Jason Giambi (search) received mild boos in his first road game since his offseason was tarnished by the steroids scandal.
With manager Terry Francona back in the dugout, the Red Sox took a 2-0 lead on Mirabelli's second-inning homer and made it 4-0 on Kevin Millar's two-run single in the third. After Rodriguez singled, stole second and scored on a throwing error by Boston shortstop Edgar Renteria, Rodriguez gave back three runs with an error in the bottom half.
That was plenty for Wakefield (1-0), who allowed just one unearned run on five hits and two walks while striking out five.
And it was plenty for the Boston fans, who filled the ballpark hours before the first pitch despite a 46-degree gametime temperature and a strong wind that kept the new World Series flag flapping stiffly out above the Green Monster.
It was 2:05 p.m. — an hour before the scheduled first pitch — when the words "World Series Champion Boston Red Sox" were first spoken over the loudspeaker, drawing a huge cheer from the 33,702 in the crowd.
They cheered the arrival of the World Series trophy (though it's hard to believe anyone hadn't seen it yet, as it makes its victory tour to all 351 cities and towns in Massachusetts). They cheered for the soldiers and sailors who carried some of the rings onto the field.
They cheered — sarcastically — for Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, who blew a save in the fourth game of the AL championship series when New York was on the verge of a sweep. The Red Sox won four straight games to advance to the Series and swept the St. Louis Cardinals for their first world championship since 1918.
They cheered for a Green Monster-sized World Series champion banner hung over the famous left-field Wall, and the regular-sized one that will fly on the center-field flagpole for this season. Former shortstop Johnny Pesky, who first joined the team 64 years ago and never saw it win a title, helped raise it to half-staff along with ex-Red Sox outfielder Carl Yastrzemski.
And they cheered for the Boston sports greats — Bruin Bobby Orr, Celtic Bill Russell and Patriots Tedy Bruschi and Richard Seymour — who tied together the city's championship history by throwing out ceremonial first pitches.
Bruschi, who is recovering from a stroke, threw his pitch to Francona, who returned to the dugout after missing four games with a viral infection that was feared to be a heart problem.