Minutes later, with the final Detroit batter striking out to end the game and the series, the city exploded. People were dancing, cheering, celebrating however they saw fit. Booming fireworks were lighting up the sky. A street-performing blues saxophonist didn’t even bother opening his case for donations as he rocked out in the middle of the crowd.
It was a flashbulb memory that, seven years later, I still remember every second of.
So when I told my wife this year that we’d be in Boston for the Red Sox clinching a major title if they had a chance to do it, she didn’t question it. Our parents did ... but she didn’t.
We got to Fenway Saturday night with Detroit holding a 2-1 lead. The Sox had quickly loaded up the bases, however, and right-fielder Shane Victorino was at bat.
We saw the game-changing pitch while pressed against windows overlooking the press area, where baseball writers follow the game on massive TVs before conducting their post-game press conferences in the same room.
There were maybe 60 or 70 others with us when Victorino sent a souvenir to the second row of the Green Monster, hitting a grand slam to give the Sox a 5-2 lead.
My wife and I were jumping up and down, screaming in celebration like little kids as the crowd around us also lost its composure. I felt something latch onto my left shoulder, and I looked to see two other fans jumping with us.
Anywhere else, that would have been weird.
There were probably another 200 people at Gate B of the stadium, now home to a bronze statue of Carl Yastrzemski, when closer Koji Uehara shut the Tigers down and ended the ALCS, sending the Red Sox to the World Series for the first time since 2007.