Parents hoisted children aloft. Just about everyone plucked out cellphones to chronicle the moment. The rolling Red Sox parade had arrived at City Hall Plaza, and the crowd roared, their cheers reaching a crescendo as slugger David Ortiz and bullpen ace Koji Uehara passed by.
“It was so worth coming in for,” said 29-year-old Liz Perkins of Seabrook, N.H. Her husband, Dennis, 34, attended the Sox championship parades in 2004 and 2007. But this was a first for their children, 7-year-old Makenna, whose long blond hair was streaked with Red Sox red, and son, 4-year-old Kason, who wore a Dustin Pedroia shirt.
“There is nothing better than to be Boston Strong,” Liz Perkins said. “We said it all season.”
Jo-Ann Mallett, 68, of Quincy, sat with her husband, Don, 78, on a bench. “Great parade,” said Jo-Ann, who wore a Sox jacket covered with emblems commemorating each of the team’s seven prior World Series championships. “I just loved seeing all the players.”
Earlier in the morning, throngs had filled subways and commuter trains and every other kind of conveyance to get to the city. In some cases, it was the final leg of a long journey.
Ashley Alliano and her boyfriend, Brendan McCarthy, came from their home in central New Jersey, booking a hotel in the middle of the final game this week.
“We bought our hotel in the fifth inning because we were, like, ‘Whatever, it’s 6-1. Hope we don’t jinx it,’” Alliano said. “He drank Boston Lager through every game. I wore the same pants and [“Lustin’ for Dustin”] shirt. We’re very superstitious.”
The couple — who began watching games together during the 2007 season and later started dating — landed a room at the Ramada Inn on Morrissey Boulevard for $129, and made the six-hour drive Thursday. As they rode the Red and Green lines into Kenmore early this morning, the couple reminisced about the past few days, which included touring Fenway and high-fiving other Sox fans in bars.
“This is probably the most spontaneous trip we’ve ever had,” Alliano said.
Along Boylston Street near the beginning of the parade route, fans wearing championship ballcaps, carrying signs, and sipping coffee claimed their spots early today with blankets and folding chairs as yellow-vested cops looked on.
“Please stop the rowdiness. I’m here,” an officer joked with Toni Tedder and her 16-year old daughter Briana, a Stephen Drew fan. Mother and daughter, who drove in from Saugus, hoped to catch Drew’s eye with a handmade red-and-blue sign on white posterboard that read in part, “Drew Crew Forever.”
About a block away, Derek Rix waited in a helmet and goggles for the show to begin.
“You could say Papi is the face of the team, but Gomes’ helmet and goggles are the highlight as far as I am concerned,” he said before adding, tongue in cheek, “I’d probably be more excited but unfortunately these parades are really recurring.”
Chris Congdon and Trisha Flanagan didn’t know each other, but as they watched the Red Sox victory parade roll down a roaring Cambridge Street within 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 Congdon, 28, of Canton. “Just a joyous atmosphere.”
After finishing last 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 their amazing 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.
On the commuter rail train from the North Shore as dawn broke early this morning, the excitement built as hundreds rode toward the city.
Molly Herman, 25, of Salem closed her eyes as she rested her head on a red-cushioned seat.
“Power nap,” Herman said, breaking into a smile. She got to the train station at 7:20 a.m. “As soon as I got there, a train went right by without stopping,” said Herman, who wore a bright green “Entering Fenway” shirt.
As she waited with a friend, “another train went right by,” she said. Finally, just after 8 a.m., she boarded a train that slipped into North Station at about 8:40 a.m.
“I knew we’d get here, eventually. We go to all the Boston parades. For the Bruins, the Celtics. I would never drive.”
She was hoping to get a good view of David Ortiz in the parade.”I want a picture of Big Papi,” she said.
Kara Duff, 22, of Ipswich called the MBTA Friday night to check on the train situation.
“It was great,” Duff said, stepping off the train. “I just walked downtown and got on.” Her blonde hair braided in pigtails, Duff wore a Pokey Reese T-shirt, honoring the former infielder, who last played for the Sox in 2004. “I’m old-school,” she said.
At North Station, MBTA customer service workers greeted passengers. They spoke into bullhorns, directing fans to Causeway Street, where they could take the T to the parade route.
“We’re on our way,” Duff said, pumping her right fist as she headed for the parade.