BOSTON — Generations of New Englanders are preparing. Practically no one alive can remember seeing such an event. The Boston Red Sox could win a World Series title on the green grass at Fenway Park.
Ted Williams never did it. Not Carl Yastrzemski. Not Carlton Fisk. Not even Pedro Martinez and Curt Schilling, who ended The Curse nearly a decade ago on the road.
When the Red Sox last won a World Series at home, Babe Ruth, Carl Mays and Harry Hooper were the stars – in September 1918, a season cut short by World War I. Ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals 3-2, the Red Sox have two chances to reward their faithful.
“It would be awesome,” said John Lackey, who starts Game 6 on Wednesday night against Cardinals rookie Michael Wacha.
Fenway was just a “kid” the last time the Red Sox won a title at home, then a modern 6-year-old ballpark. A crowd of 15,238 watched the Red Sox defeat the Chicago Cubs 2-1 to win the Series in six games.
Now, Fenway Park is a centurion, the oldest home in the majors and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Boston swept the Series in 2004 and ’07, winning titles at St. Louis and Colorado. Given the length of time since the last championship clincher at Fenway, there is a seemingly insatiable demand for tickets.
As of Tuesday evening, the cheapest of 1,600 or so tickets for sale on Stubhub.com was for standing room on the right-field roof deck for $983.75. A dugout box seat was available for $10,894.20.
“I don’t know what happened in 1918, but tomorrow we’re going to try and make it happen, make people proud and happy in the city of Boston and New England,” David Ortiz said. “I guarantee it’s going to be wild.”
While the Red Sox went through a light workout at Fenway Park on a cool autumn afternoon, the Cardinals tried to maintain their cool as they got stuck in St. Louis, joined by their families on a charter flight delayed several hours by mechanical difficulties.
“Fortunately we have plenty of food, snacks for the kids, lots of entertainment with on-board movies, and everybody travels with all their high-tech stuff,” manager Mike Matheny said. “Most of these kids are pretty happy that they’re not in school right now, and it’s a great way to spend a day.”
Farrell made a bit of news, saying Ross will get his fourth Series start behind the plate in place of slumping Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
“David has given us a spark offensively out of the position,” the manager said.
Shane Victorino is expected to return to right field after missing two games due to a bad back, and Game 4 star Jonny Gomes will start in left over Daniel Nava. With the shift back to the American League ballpark, Mike Napoli returns to first base and Ortiz to designated hitter.
Playing with a foot injury, Allen Craig will be the designated hitter for St. Louis. Trying for their second title in three seasons, the Cardinals have confidence in Wacha, a 22-year-old rookie who has won all four of his postseason starts, allowing three earned runs in 27 total innings.
Boston doesn’t want the Series to reach a seventh game on Halloween night, which likely would be started by Jake Peavy, who has a 7.11 ERA in this postseason. St. Louis would start Joe Kelly, who pitched well in Game 3 but didn’t get a decision.
Ortiz, the last remaining veteran from the 2004 title, wants to make sure fans can start the hullabaloo.
“Hopefully this will get over tomorrow, and they’ll get to enjoy it like they always do,” he said. “Party time.”