Seconds after Dustin Pedroia broke open Game 7 of the American League Championship Series with a three-run, bases-loaded double in the eighth inning Sunday night, Boston tourism czar Pat Moscaritolo, seated above the third base line at Fenway Park, received an urgent e-mail on his BlackBerry.
"It was Major League Baseball," Moscaritolo said. "They needed hotel rooms, 550 of them."
As the World Series begins in Boston tomorrow, there will be many more winners and losers than the two teams on the field. This Fenway Fall Classic is expected to generate millions of dollars in revenue for hotels, airlines, restaurants, bars, and shops, an estimated $3.6 million per home game, tourism officials say.
Many workers, from waiters to valets, stand to make a windfall in the World Series, as does the state, which collects taxes on meals, lodging, liquor, and purchases of baseball paraphernalia.
On the losing side of the contest? Try the City of Boston and its residents, who don't share in most of those state tax receipts but pay to put hundreds of extra police officers on the streets for security, plus extra staffing to clean the streets around Fenway and to direct traffic.
City officials declined yesterday to estimate how much the Series will cost city taxpayers. In 2004, the city paid $1.9 million for police, public works, and transportation services during the American League playoffs and World Series.
But shelling out extra money for services and security during the World Series may be one of the few things taxpayers don't necessarily complain about. After all, these are the Boston Red Sox.
"I think the residents support what's happening at Fenway; they're huge Red Sox fans," said Councilor Michael Ross, whose district includes Fenway Park. "You know there is an expense to this stuff, and the city must make the expenditure."
Seconds after Pedroia's hit in the eighth, when it became clear that the Sox were in the World Series, a flurry of economic activity swept Eastern Massachusetts: from Moscaritolo's BlackBerry to the aisles of Wal-Mart; from the offices of JetBlue Airways, which yesterday added a flight for Friday from Boston to Denver to accommodate Red Sox fans; to the bar at Eastern Standard Kitchen & Drinks in Kenmore Square, where business was "electric," up 30 to 40 percent compared with a typical October weekend.
"We're in the rhythm of Fenway," Eastern Standard owner Garrett Harker said. "We rise and fall with how things are going over there."
Moscaritolo, who runs the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau, said restaurants stand to make between $800,000 and $900,000 on the Series. Hotels could pocket between $600,000 and $700,000, driven in part by Major League Baseball's sudden demand for rooms for media, players and their families, sponsors, and league officials. Moscaritolo's staff helps book those rooms, placing people in suburbs if necessary.
The surge in Series-related revenue comes during the busiest month of the year for the city's hotels, hospitality executives said.
At Kenmore Square's Hotel Commonwealth, the closest hotel to the ballpark, the 149 rooms cost $425 to $485 in October.
Last weekend, Hotel Commonwealth was checking in guests visiting for Boston University's parents weekend and the Head of the Charles Regatta, as well as the Red Sox playoff games.
"Of the 31 days in October, we probably would have been sold out for 21 of those days, even without the Red Sox" advancing so far, said Terry Guiney, the hotel's managing director. "Our problem - and it's a good problem to have - is finding hotel rooms for all of our VIPs and all of our business relationships who are suddenly now looking for rooms during the World Series or last weekend during the playoffs, when we have precious few rooms available in the first place."
Guiney makes clear he isn't whining. "It's obviously a very good time for those of us running hospitality-related ventures around Fenway Park," he said. "Business couldn't be better.
"It's just a bit complicated to manage it," said Guiney, who is poring over the upcoming reservations to see if he can free up any rooms for clients who bring the hotel business year round, such as hospitals, universities, and biotech firms.
Moscaritolo said businesses will also be cashing in on corporate events surrounding the Series, which could bring in $900,000.
At Davio's restaurant downtown, the Cleveland Indians' front office threw a pregame dinner party Oct. 12, treating 50 people to pasta Bolognese, swordfish, and beer and wine for about $6,000.
"It's good for the city," said Steve DiFillippo, owner of Davio's and another nearby restaurant, Avila. "I'm sure Cleveland must be devastated. . . . I feel kind of bad for them, but not that bad."
Even the Wal-Mart in Walpole saw a surge of Red Sox T-shirts, jerseys, and baseball caps snapped up from store shelves over the weekend. "Some people were putting them on while they were still in the store," said manager Bill Pryor, adding that he rarely sees shoppers walk up to the cash register wearing the merchandise they're buying.
Red Sox fans showed up at the Wal-Mart when the doors opened yesterday at 7 a.m., seeking T-shirts declaring their favorite team the American League champs. But the first shipment, which Pryor had ordered more than two months ago, didn't arrive until 12:30 p.m. And he worried the store would sell out before the second shipment arrived.
At 2 p.m. yesterday, JetBlue Airways added another 100-passenger nonstop flight from Boston to Denver for Friday night, offering every seat at $399, the highest price the carrier charges for last-minute tickets. That route's regular Friday night nonstop flight sold out Sunday night as World Series spectators snatched the last of the seats. The carrier will keep a close eye on demand and consider flying more planes out of Logan Airport to accommodate a spike in demand from Sox fans, said spokesman Sebastian White.
It may not be all good for business, though. The Red Sox, for one, say they are going to have a less-than-spectacular bottom line.
"The biggest misconception in the public is that postseason play is a windfall financially for the Red Sox. Unfortunately, it's not," said Sam Kennedy, the team's senior vice president for sales and marketing.
The team pays for 100 percent of the ballpark operations, as well as hotel rooms and charter air travel for players and their families, among other expenses, he said. The team splits revenue with Major League Baseball and the Players Association.
But it is not as though the Sox are complaining.
"It's kind of like the MasterCard commercial: The value of going to the World Series for the Red Sox is priceless," Kennedy said. "But from a business perspective, the bottom-line numbers are not impressive."
Other employers may end up losing out, some personnel specialists say, although the damage they sustain in lost productivity would be hard to quantify.
"People are going to stay up watching these games," said John Challenger, chief executive of Challenger, Gray & Christmas, a human-resources consultancy based in Chicago. "There are going to be a lot of bleary-eyed people and a lot of no-shows."
Even those who dutifully arrive for work and down several cups of coffee will probably be distracted.
"Work's going to suffer a little bit," Challenger said.