Special pregame ceremony set for Fenway
Plenty of Red Sox alumni to attend Friday's gala celebration
BOSTON -- During Friday's gala pregame celebration, the Red Sox will encapsulate a century of Fenway Park into one day and one heck of a 37,000-seat ballpark.
All living Red Sox uniformed personnel whom the team could track down were invited to participate in Friday's ceremony, which is scheduled to start a little after 2 p.m. ET. The pregame ceremony will air live on redsox.com and MLB.com.
The Red Sox and Yankees play at 3:05 p.m. ET on Friday -- which marks the 100-year anniversary of Fenway's first Major League game -- but the rivalry, at least for the pregame ceremony, will be merely a backdrop. And it takes quite a lot to make those two teams' on-field interests play second fiddle.
"To think that this building from today -- it's unique, and I think it's unique in all of sports what's happening right now," manager Bobby Valentine said Thursday in his clubhouse office. "And it's great to be a part of it."
No other Major League park has existed for 100 years.
"It's going to be fun," Dustin Pedroia said. "This ballpark's been around 100 years, it's going to be an awesome time, it's going to be a great game and I'm sure it's going to be great for the city, fans and everybody."
The Red Sox announced some of what will happen on Thursday. The rest -- like the details of the first-pitch ceremony -- are being kept secret.
Here's what's known: John Williams, who's composed a gaggle of famous cinema scores, will conduct the Boston Pops in the debut of his new composition, "Fanfare for Fenway." The Pops' regular conductor, Keith Lockhart, will conduct for the national anthem. There will be a flyover with two modern planes -- F-16s -- and two World War II-era P-51 Mustangs. The stars and stripes will be draped over the Green Monster.
After gates open at 12:30, the Red Sox will prepare a toast. When fans get to their seats, they'll find a grape juice drink and cups beneath their seats. At the end of the pregame ceremonies, the Red Sox will attempt to set a world record for the largest toast in a single venue.
Just how all those Red Sox alumni will be incorporated into the day is up to the imagination for now.
"It's nice that they remember us," said Gary Bell, a pitcher on the 1967 Red Sox team that fell to the Cardinals in a seven-game World Series. "A lot of clubs don't remember their guys that played years ago, so it's pleasant to have that experience. ... New England was on fire that year, man. ... Every day was a new hero."
There was a college exhibition at Fenway and a pair of rainouts before April 20, 1912, the day the Red Sox beat the Yankees (then the Highlanders), 7-6, in 11 innings in the ballpark's first official game. Boston went on to win 105 regular-season games and the '12 World Series.
Both the Sox and Yanks will wear replicas of the uniforms they wore in the inaugural game.
"Obviously, it's history," Jarrod Saltalamacchia said. "I don't think any [other] ballpark's ever going to be able to do something like that. To be a part of that is awesome."