Really, it should have been expected. In fact, I would have been surprised if Cubs fans didn’t show up in huge numbers for this weekend’s series. It reminds me a little bit of Derek Jeter’s final game, played at Fenway. Yankees fans desperately wanted to be there. Red Sox fans had almost no desire to be there. The transfer seemed natural. Especially at the prices Yankees fans were willing to pay. I’m almost surprised there were any Red Sox fans at all in the building that day. This weekend was similar. Sure, the Cubs hadn’t been in town for a while. But, they had been there. So, there are some Sox fans for whom the novelty of the Cubs wouldn’t be there. Sure, it was a chance to welcome some new friends, but the Sox welcome back old friends all the time. For Cubs fans, it was different. For one thing, I’m guessing there are more new Cubs fans this year than there were new Red Sox fans the last time the Cubbies were in Fenway. Whether these are actual new fans, or fans who just feel they can be more vocal about it. I’ll admit, if I was a Cubs fan living in the Boston area, I’d probably be pretty quiet about it. Unless, of course, the Cubs are finally the defending World Champs. Then, I’d grab tickets to Fenway and wear my gear with pride. So, add in the new fans, the newly excited fans, the weekend series, and the prices people were willing to pay, I’m not amazed at all that the blue pinstripes filled Fenway.
I thought it was pretty cool that the Cubs brought their World Series trophy with them. The Sox set up a table displaying the two Curse Busting trophies of 2004 and 2016 for fans to take their picture with. Along with a suggested $20 donation. I wasn’t there, so I don’t know how heavily that “suggestion” was enforced. But, the picture I saw showed the person collecting money holding a pretty good-sized wad of bills. My guess is that the Red Sox Foundation and Cubs Charities did pretty well for themselves by taking advantage of a couple rabid fan bases. It reminds me of the Cardinals after the 2004 World Series. They realized that they had a unique opportunity. The Red Sox had ended their curse in St. Louis. So, they hooked up with a charity, and basically sold every part of the ballpark that wasn’t nailed down. And, even some things that were. You could buy dirt from the field. The towels used in the visitor’s dugout. Even pieces of the visitor’s dugout bench. It was a great way to make a lot of Red Sox fans very happy, for a good cause. Just like last night.
As for the games themselves? The Sox took the series, which is really all that mattered. Sure, there were ups and downs. Sometimes the Sox made errors, sometimes they capitalized on Cubs errors. But in the end, the Red Sox did what they needed to do.
It was nice to see Hanley heat up a bit. After everyone complaining about his lack of power, he suddenly decided that every ball needed to be on Lansdowne St. Hopefully he can keep that up.
Now things can return to normal with the Orioles in town. The exhibition feel of the Cubs is instantly switched to the commonplace Orioles match-up.
I’m pretty excited about that.