They didn’t know each other, Chris Congdon and Trisha Flanagan. But as they watched the Red Sox victory parade roll down a roaring Cambridge Street within a few feet of each other, two in a crowd of thousands, they recalled a magical season with the same sense of gratitude and wonder.
“Today is just a beautiful day,” said the 28-year-old Congdon, of Canton. “Just a joyous atmosphere.”
After finishing last in their division the year before, the team was never expected to do so well, he said. That made the World Series title all the sweeter.
“They were underdogs. It was a rebuilding year,” he said. “But they rose above it.”
Flanagan, 49, watched the parade with her dog, Tessie, named for the Red Sox anthem. She likened the season to 2004, when the Red Sox made an amazing playoff comeback against the Yankees. No one gave this year’s team a shot either, she said. But that only seemed to make them play harder.
“Worst to first,” said Flanagan, who lives in Winthrop. “Nobody saw this coming. What a great ride.”
She paused, smiling at everything around her, the generations of fans brought together in celebration, the kids taking it all in from their parents’ shoulders.
“Boy, is it sweet when it ends like this,” she said.
- PETER SCHWORM
Nkolo Nyada, a 29-year-old from North Attleborough, recycled his Halloween costume for Saturday’s rally.
“It was a Jesus Halloween costume, and I thought it was fitting,” Nyada said as he paused in a stroll down the Esplanade. “We got the boys from Boston doing everything for us.”
- ERIN AILWORTH
Love from a Yankees fan
Even a few Yankees fans caught Red Sox fever. Witness Kayla Canne, a 19-year-old Boston University sophomore who grew up in Rochester, N.Y., as a Yankees devotee. She was on Boylston Street, near the Forum restaurant and Marathon Sports.
She clutched signs that proclaimed “Papi for mayor” and “Worst to First.”
A lightpost near her was swaddled in a knit cozy emblazoned with a huge B. Notes of inspiration had been attached to it.
“Being in Boston, and seeing how close our community is, I just wanted to celebrate with my family,” Canne said. “And that’s what Boston is, I think.”
- AKILAH JOHNSON
On the Esplanade
The mood on the Esplanade was cheerful but more relaxed than the raucous crowd that lined Boylston Street earlier in the day. When the duck boats finally appeared, after a pause in the rally, many rose on tiptoe or climbed on benches to see beyond those in front. Some complained about how far away the vessels stayed, making it difficult to identify players.
“I’m just going to go to Google images tomorrow and find something far better,” said David Drady III, 31, of Boston, who said he has attended the last eight duck boat parades. “Honestly, just a magical season after what happened with the Marathon. You could tell they weren’t just playing for the World Series. They were playing for our city.”
- ERIN AILWORTH
For Forum, a better day
Chris Loper was presiding over the Forum restaurant. He’d been there since dawn, preparing the Boylston Street restaurant for the day’s festivities and the expected throngs. There were echoes, he said, of that fateful day in April when a bomb exploded, heavily damaging the restaurant.
“It’s just an eerily similar day,” Loper said. “Just the way it was set up. It’s like deja vu. Setting up the patio, moving stuff around about 7 a.m. both days.”
About a half-dozen workers who’d been present on Marathon Monday were on the job Saturday, Loper said. Others who’d worked that day six months ago weren’t in the restaurant Saturday morning. “There’s definitely a couple that just couldn’t do it,” Loper said.
Shortly before the parade was set to step off, Loper said he was unsure what to expect. His hope: that it would be a day of pure celebration.
- AKILAH JOHNSON
Worth the trip from N.H.
As the duck boats, many of them decorated with beards in honor of the biblical-looking lucky beards the players grew, arrived on City Hall Plaza, chants of “Let’s Go Red Sox!” broke out. Parents hoisted youngsters on their shoulders, and just about everyone pulled out cellphones to take pictures.
“It was so worth coming in for,” said Liz Perkins, 29, of Seabrook, N.H. Her husband, Dennis, 34, attended the team’s two other championship parades, in 2004 and 2007. But this was a first for their children, daughter Makenna, 7, whose long blonde hair was streaked with Red Sox red, and son, Kason, 4, who wore a shirt with second baseman Dustin Pedroia’s name on it.
“There is nothing better than to be Boston Strong,” Liz said. “We said it all season.”
- KATHY MCCABE
Red Sox Pitcher Jake Peavy had such a good time during Saturday’s World Series victory parade that he bought the duck boat he rode in.
“Yes the boat is now mine & hopefully in the family forever!” Peavy tweeted afterward.
Red Sox spokesman Kevin Gregg said he wasn’t sure how long the pitcher had been planning to buy the boat, but that Peavy had expressed previous interest in doing so. Peavy was the starting pitcher in Game 3 of the World Series, which the Red Sox lost on a controversial obstruction call. He shared the green duck boat during Saturday’s parade with fellow pitcher Jon Lester and Michael Egan, part owner of the team.
- TODD FEATHERS