Red Sox players and management addressed a crowd gathered at Fenway Park Saturday morning prior to the start of the rolling rally to celebrate their World Series championship.
"I brought a friend with me," said David Ross as he held the World Series trophy on the stage. "I'm glad I signed up for this."
The players were in agreement that their World Series championship was made possible by the combined effort of their teammates and team management along with the support of fans.
"There's just an amazing passion for the game, play hard every night, it's an honor to be part of this group," Ross said.
Pitcher Ryan Dempster said he received advance notice a parade was in the Red Sox' future. He recalled greeting new teammate Jonny Gomes in the spring training clubhouse in Fort Myers, Fla., in February and asking how he was doing.
"I'm just another day closer to the parade," Dempster recalled Gomes telling him.
World Series MVP David Ortiz paid tribute to the Red Sox fans who supported the team throughout the season and run to the World Series.
"We stayed together as a family and we fought against the world. You guys started that up, and we finished it," Ortiz said.
Ortiz also praised Red Sox management.
"They brought in guys with big hearts and a little chip on their shoulders. This might be the team that I'm most proud of," he said.
Pitcher Jon Lester, a close runner-up to Ortiz for World Series MVP, said team camaraderie was a huge factor in the season's success.
"I spent more time with these guys off the field than on the field. They pick you up and make you remember that this game is fun," said Lester, who will be back with the Red Sox next season after the team activated its $13 million contract option on Friday.
For 21-year-old rookie infielder Xander Bogaerts, a September call-up who ended up starting the final four games of the World Series at third base, the parade capped a whirlwind season that began in Double A ball.
"It would be definitely nice if we have this often," rookie Xander Bogaerts said.
The pre-rally speeches concluded with the Dropkick Murphys playing for the crowd as the duck boats were loaded for the rolling rally. Gomes even joined in to sing "The Boys are Back," which is played as Gomes' walk-up song during games at Fenway Park.
Then Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino got the parade started.
"In the words of Jonny Gomes, cue the duck boats."