The timing was impeccable.
James Beaudry doesn’t start his new job at a software company until Monday, and he had a week off during the peak of the Red Sox’ pursuit of the franchise’s eighth World Series title.
The well-timed break allowed him to camp out on Lansdowne Street at 7 p.m. Monday and secure the prized spot at the front of the line for game-day ticket sales on Wednesday.
The Red Sox entered Game 6 with a 3-2 lead and an opportunity to clinch the World Series at Fenway Park for the first time since 1918.
When Boston clinched the 2004 and ’07 titles on the road in St. Louis and Colorado, it was bedlam in the streets around the Fens. But seeing the Red Sox clinch the series at home could truly be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and the 23-year-old Beaudry didn’t want to miss out.
And with that opportunity on the doorstep, there was a discernible buzz in the atmosphere around Fenway Park as the clock ticked closer to the first pitch.
“It’s truly incredible. They won the last two on the road, but to do it at home in Boston, it’s going to be pandemonium — that’s the best way to describe it,” said Beaudry, a Rochester, N.Y., native who lives in Cambridge.
Mike Nininger, a 47-year-old fan from Toronto, observed the Kenmore and Fenway area around noon Wednesday, and was taken aback by the tranquility.
After all, it is the middle of the work week. But the stillness was shortlived.
Like a pack of thoroughbreds jammed into the starting gate, thousands of fans lined the gates on Yawkey Way around 4 p.m.
The gates opened an hour and a half later, sending fans spilling onto Fenway’s main artery, which was bustling with entertainment before the game.
“It’s almost like this very slow, grind to the energy,” Nininger said. “Every hour, it’s basically, more people kicking around and the intensity, the loudness level is increasing at all times.
“You’ve got to embrace these opportunities. They don’t come around that often. You can’t just say, ‘I’ll wait for the next one.’ ”
Paul Cote, a 53-year-old fan from Londonderry, N.H., attended Games 3, 4, and 5 of the heart-wrenching 1986 World Series, and watched Boston bring a 3-2 lead to Shea Stadium, before the Mets marched back to claim the championship.
Since the Red Sox have won in St. Louis and Colorado, Cote has longed for the opportunity to see the Red Sox win a World Series at Fenway Park.
“I’ve been here in some cool moments, like Yaz [Carl Yastrzemski] retiring, but if the World Series gets won here, I don’t think there will be anything that can match it,” said Cote, who had waited at the front of the ticket line since Tuesday morning. “It’s going to be totally rocking. Indescribable.”
And for those who couldn’t get tickets to Game 6, the next viable option was to head to the surrounding bars like Game On! and Cask ’n Flagon to catch a piece of the action.
Around 3 p.m., fans began entering nearby establishments. By 5, the line to Game On! stretched down Brookline Avenue and crawled onto Yawkey Way.
“This is the next-best place to be,” said Sam Russell, who began waiting in line at Game On! at 4 p.m. “I’ve been to a lot of good Red Sox games and good sporting events, but never seen people outside four hours ahead of the game, streets packed. It’s pretty unique, it’s pretty cool.
“Hopefully, they close it out tonight. Everyone is losing sight that there is a game and it seems like a big party, but they’ve got to win tonight.”Anthony Gulizia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @gulizia_a.