BOSTON – Jubilant Red Sox fans cheered, chanted and caroused in the streets Wednesday, celebrating the first time the Red Sox have captured a World Series title at home since Babe Ruth was in the lineup.
Fans spilled out of Fenway Park and nearby bars after Boston vanquished the St. Louis Cardinals 6-1 in Game 6. Several fans were seen giving high fives to police officers. In the background, the lights of Boston's Prudential Tower had been arranged to read "GO SOX."
"Words cannot describe how I feel," said Red Sox fan Sam D'Arrigo. "This is what being a Boston fan is all about."
The win capped an emotional season for the Red Sox, one heavy with the reminder of the Boston Marathon bombings in April, which left three people dead and more than 260 wounded. Players wore "Boston Strong" logos on their left sleeves and a giant "B Strong" logo was mowed into Fenway's outfield.
"We needed this," said Mark Porcaro of Boston. "They were an easy team to get behind because they stood up for us when we needed them most."
The Red Sox have now won three World Series in a decade, but they hadn't won at home since they bested the Chicago Cubs in the 1918 fall classic.
An excited Boston Mayor Tom Menino tweeted: "Get the ducks ready, we're having a parade." He was referring to the duck boat parades the city had had during previous sports celebrations.
Police set up barriers to funnel the crowds away from Fenway Park and mounted police and officers on bicycles patrolled the area. Some fans were obviously intoxicated. A few young men climbed a pole holding a traffic light.
A large group gathered near the marathon finish line, chanting and blocking traffic until police arrived.
Police later said on Twitter that they'd arrested nine people for unruly behavior. Throughout the night, the department had tweeted cautionary messages, encouraging fans to "Celebrate with pride" and "Celebrate responsibly."
In New Hampshire, celebrations turned destructive at several college campuses. In the largest incident, University of New Hampshire officials say police used pepper spray and pepper balls to break up a crowd of several hundred students that had gathered at the Durham campus.
Fans in St. Louis were disappointed that the Cardinals lost. Many watched the game 1,200 miles away from the comfort of their couches.
Ed Moreland watched it while cleaning offices at a downtown bank building. "We had a good team. We fought for it," he said. "Boston was just a bit stronger."
Some tourists in St. Louis favored the 26th-floor view of the Gateway Arch over the play-by-play of a third consecutive loss in a series that earlier looked like it could have ended at Busch Stadium after the Cardinals won two of the first three games.
"It's pretty quiet in here," said Coltier Blakely of Mexico, Mo., who was in town for a statewide meeting of community college administrators.
Boston has hosted several celebrations over the last decade as the Celtics, Patriots, Bruins and Red Sox have all won titles since 2004, but some of the post-championship partying has caused problems. In 2004, a 21-year-old college student was killed by a pepper pellet fired by Boston police during crowd-control efforts following the Red Sox win in the American League Championship Series. In 2008, a 22-year-old man died after police took him into custody during street celebrations of the Celtics' title.
Wednesday's game was a triumphant end to a hectic day in Boston -- hours before the game, President Barack Obama delivered a talk at Boston's historic Faneuil Hall on his embattled heath care reform.
With the World Series and a presidential visit, police were on high alert. The marathon bombing prompted the deployment of extra dogs and undercover officers.
For the citizens of Red Sox Nation, the extra security, the traffic and the closed streets were a small price to pay for baseball glory.
"Since 1918, no one has experienced this," said Russ Stappen of Rockland, Mass., who shelled out several hundred dollars for his ticket. "There's nowhere else I'd rather be."