Originally created 10/30/04

Millions expected to attend Red Sox parade



BOSTON - After 86 years of frustration, Red Sox fans are used to disappointment.

Because so many members of Red Sox Nation are expected in Boston to celebrate the team's World Series triumph, the victory parade Saturday won't be making any stops and won't culminate with a staged rally, either.

"I understand the problem - where do you stick five million people?," fan Dave Henry said.

Whether it's five million or half that, authorities won't let fans stuff themselves into City Hall Plaza, where the New England Patriots held rallies after they won the Super Bowl twice in the past three years.

Police Commissioner Kathleen O'Toole said the sheer number of fans expected could lead to a disastrous situation.

"Let's face it, you get a crowd that size and it's very unpredictable," O'Toole told The Associated Press on Friday. "One of the reasons we're not having one particular rally location is that we're concerned that it could be a dangerous situation."

The only stage on the route is in Copley Square, but that's for Sen. John Kerry's election night event on Tuesday.

The rolling rally featuring Red Sox players and their families in Duck Tour boats begins at 10 a.m. near Fenway Park. Loudspeakers will be attached to the vehicles to allow players to communicate with fans.

"It's going to be a great parade," O'Toole said. "If they're along a long parade route they're going to have a better vantage point than being at a rally that's potentially dangerous where they can't see a thing. I think it's a great thing and I hope tomorrow is an exciting and safe day for everyone."

Police on Friday posted "no stopping - special event" signs on parking meters along the route. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority expects Saturday to be its busiest day ever. Logan International Airport on Friday warned travelers to leave early.

MBTA officials put up fences around key stops, and warned that some stops will be closed if crowds grow too big.

O'Toole acknowledged there are some unknowns going into the event, which will be staffed with extra police officers from around the region.

"I don't want to discourage people from celebrating, but there are risks associated with being in the vicinity of any crowd," she said. "We're having difficulty gauging the potential size of the crowd."