David Ortiz, fresh off signing a new four-year extension with the Red Sox, received the loudest ovation from the Fenway crowd during pregame introductions. While Ortiz received an extended greeting from the crowd (still half-empty at the start of the ceremony) it came as some surprise that Manny Ramirez received a subdued reception, following a winter during which he had requested to be traded.
Red Sox pitchers Josh Beckett, Curt Schilling, Jonathan Papelbon, and yes, Keith Foulke, also received among the loudest cheers. Team captain Jason Varitek enjoyed the second-loudest ovation to Ortizís thunderous welcome.
In a change, the Red Sox' starting lineup was announced first instead of coaches and bench players. In the past, the louder ovation was often saved for that day's starting pitcher, whether it be Pedro, Roger, or whomever. This year, Johnny Pesky received that honor.
I've said it before, I'll say it again: nobody else can perform a more stirring rendition of the National Anthen than 5-year-old Dana Farber patient Jordan Leandre. Nobody. And Whitney Houston doesn't count anymore due to her, um, troubles.