It took 86 years before and only three years now, but still, the champagne flowed across Boston this morning, fans shouted with joy, and college students took to the streets in occasionally raucous, though far more practiced, celebration as the Red Sox fandom found itself in the unusual situation of having its hopes and dreams realized yet again.
From Broadway in South Boston to Centre Street in Jamaica Plain, from the pubs of Allston to the trattorias of the North End, confident Red Sox fans cheered their way to another World Series victory, then expressed a few mixed feelings about the new world order.
"The Red Sox are so becoming America's team," said Chris Daly, 32, who watched the game at the Brendan Behan Pub in Jamaica Plain. "The curse is done and we'll start seeing, for better or worse, what money does. The World Series will be less sweet because they'll be more frequent. It's less punk rock, a little more corporate."
The 2004 championship marked the end of many things - the end of 86 years without a World Series victory, the end of a said curse, the end of defeatism in Red Sox Nation, the end of a city's self-identity as lovable losers.
This 2007 championship, many seemed to believe, marks the beginning - the beginning of the Red Sox as a baseball powerhouse, the beginning of optimism, the beginning of a reluctant acknowledgement that the Red Sox might not be much different from the teams fans used to loathe. Some fans even began using a word that hasn't been uttered about this ballclub since 1918.
"This is beginning of the next dynasty," said John Connolly, 38, who watched the game at Doyle's Café in Jamaica Plain. "The 20th century was the Yankees. The 21st century will be the Red Sox."
The Red Sox will be honored tomorrow at the second rally in the past four Octobers with another rolling parade in front of what is expected to be hundreds of thousands of exuberant fans lining the streets of Boston. The early afternoon rally, according to city officials, will follow the same basic format as three years ago, with a few tweaks. The plans are expected to be formally announced by city and Red Sox officials today.
Earlier today, while rabid fans watched the victory from barrooms and living rooms all across New England, the ensuing celebrations, while enthusiastic, paled in comparison to the uninhibited jubilation that swept Boston in 2004.
"We've turned a new page," said Sean B. Kinney, 30, who was at the Warren Tavern in Charlestown and who had attended the 1986 World Series with his father. "In 2004, we were waiting for everything to fall apart, for our dreams to shatter. This year, there's confidence."
At the Sports Depot in Allston, the room exploded in stomps, claps, and cheers after the last strike was thrown. People screamed "Sweep" and poked brooms in the air.
"I'm just loving it! This is the city of champions!" screamed Pete Magyar, 31, of Boston. "There are generations who have never gotten to see this. We get to see it twice? Come on!"
Red Sox fans in Denver celebrated in local bars and suburban homes and Coors Field, where many were seeping into the sections of the Red Sox dugout in the late innings of the game. Soon, strangers were hugging strangers; grown men were chanting Jonathan Papelbon's name like giddy youngsters. Debra Staniunas wept for joy.
"It means everything," said Staniunas, a Wellesley resident, who flew to Denver for the game. "I mean we waited so long for the first one, and then this time - just to be able to witness the World Series was incredible."
Still, the thought that the Red Sox had emerged as a dominant force in baseball inspired pride in some fans and caused consternation among others.
Jeff Thompson, 29, a financial adviser from Charlestown, said he was having a hard time savoring this victory with as much enthusiasm. "The first one was much more valuable than this one," Thompson said at Warren Tavern. "There was so much on the line 2004. People didn't think it was possible. We're so confident now."
Others said they were happy to see the team take its place among the pantheon of champions. They had enough with angst, heartbreak, and misery.
Brett Rushon, of Waltham, was at Yaz's last game in 1983, he said, and has missed only two opening days at Fenway Park in 30 years.
"I've suffered, like a lot of Red Sox fans that are a little older," he said at the Sports Depot. "Now you can watch and they can win or lose and it's not like people will throw themselves off the Tobin Bridge anymore."
Like many fans, he grew philosophical, speaking at length about the newest generation of Red Sox fans.
"There's not as much pain now," he said of being a Sox follower. "And I'm not complaining, we'd much rather it be this way."
As Jason Varitek jumped into Papelbon's arms, everyone who was crammed into the Boston Beer Garden on Broadway in South Boston did the same with one another. People screamed, gave one another high fives , and a police officer took a photo of a group for them. "I'm just incredibly, incredibly happy," said Marc Heon, 28, a lawyer from South Boston.
John Murphy, 50, a South Boston plumber who was at the L Street Tavern in South Boston, said the Sox were ushering in a new era in Boston.
"Before, it took 86 years, but now we're like the Patriots. Everything is easy," Murphy said. "Even the Celtics are coming back and BC is winning. This city is on top."
Herb Crehan, author of the book, "Red Sox Heroes of Yesteryear," said he was enjoying very minute of the Red Sox win.
"2004 was a once in a lifetime and obviously you can't ever repeat that but I'll tell you why I think this year is better from my point of view," Crehan said.
"We got out in front in April, we stayed there all year, we beat the Yankees in the regular season, won the division, and had the best record in baseball. It just seems to set us apart as an elite team and that is special in its own right."
Tania deLuzuriaga, Maria Cramer, Megan Woolhouse, and Keith O'Brien of the Globe Staff and Globe Correspondent Michael Naughton contributed to this report.