Ticket-hungry fans pleased
They liked gesture by Lowell, Pedroia
Dave Millette, the self-proclaimed "Mayor of Lansdowne Street," was the first in line, as he always is.
It didn't matter that the Red Sox had dropped a 7-3 decision Wednesday night against the Cleveland Indians in Game 4 of their American League Championship Series and faced elimination in Game 5. Millette, 52, a union carpenter ("Local 33") who lives in Boston in the summer and Key West, Fla., in the winter, was determined to be first in line to get tickets to Game 6.
And so Millette, in the hopes of beating the crush, went to Fenway Park and set up camp on Lansdowne Street at 8 o'clock Thursday morning, some 12 hours before the start of Game 5, and some 58 hours before the Sox opened their ticket window at Gate D last night to disperse returned tickets to the public for Game 6.
"It's just tradition," Millette said. "Back in 2004, I was here for the last three Yankees games of the season, all the playoff games, and one game in the World Series. I was first in line for every game that they won and the one game I wasn't first in line, because somebody came during the game and got into line, was the 19-8 loss [vs. the Yanks in Game 3 of the 2004 ALCS]. I just have faith in them, you know, because they've done it before."
The diehards won the unwavering support of at least two players, third baseman Mike Lowell and second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who came out Friday night and fed the frenzy by bringing out some Mexican food from La Verdad.
"They're class acts," said Jon Mallows, a 35-year-old resort sales agent from Tyngsboro, about the players' gesture. "They came out here. They took a couple of pictures and they signed a couple of autographs just to say, 'Hey, we appreciate it.' I think that acknowledgement just shows what a class act they both are.
"They're good ballplayers and I respect them, but that gesture just really drilled it home for me."
Mallows had thought he was first in line when he and his buddy, Mike Durkin, showed up at Fenway at 2 a.m. Friday. As they set up camp near Gate C, Mallows noticed Millette encamped at the other end of Lansdowne, near the Cask and Flagon. "Dave goes, 'I'm down here!' so I knew I was at least second," Mallows said.
With severe weather forecast for Friday, Durkin bailed on Mallows Friday morning around 11:30.
"He brought me lunch today," Mallows said. "He felt bad and he said, 'Man, I don't know how you weathered that storm.' He has a pregnant wife, Eva, at home and she's due any day. He said, 'I looked at the weather forecast and I couldn't do it; I just didn't have it in me to do it.'
"I'm engaged to his sister, Kathe, and she flew in from Vegas on the red-eye," Mallows added. "You know what, she doesn't get it, but she respects that I'm out here. She was gone this week, and I leave on business Monday, so she was like, 'Our two days together and you decide to go camp out on the street? I don't get it, but there's other weekends for us.' "
Rob Slattery, 31 of Ware, was left speechless when he came face-to-face with Lowell.
"I stood there just frozen," said Slattery, who sampled some of the food the players brought. "Lowell looks bigger on TV than he really is. He's kind of thin in real life. I wanted to say something to him, but I just stood there frozen. You would think I would've said, 'Mike Lowell . . . great year . . . hope you can stay with us next year.' But I couldn't come up with anything."
"I just really respect them for what they did," Slattery added. "It wasn't a publicity stunt, either. They just popped in, brought food, talked to some fans, and then they left."
As for anticipating a possible Game? "I'll come back out here right after the game and jump right in line again," Millette said. "Gotta be first in line, you know?"
Michael Vega can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.