By Matt Jenkins
---- — It took a West Coast transplant to convince Danvers resident Keith Lucy and a group of co-workers to go in together on a Boston Red Sox season ticket package in 2001.
Lucy was thanking his lucky stars last night that Brett Booth was persuasive enough 12 years ago to sell a dozen co-workers from North Reading’s Taradyne on the benefits of season tickets.
It was Lucy’s turn to get two of the four tickets in Section 41, Row 10 last night. He and his wife, Sue, were excited about being at Fenway Park for Game 1 of the 2013 World Series between the Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals, where Boston cruised to an opening game victory.
“We’ve been lucky,” Lucy, 48, said. “We’ve been there for the (playoff) meltdown in ‘03, the World Series in ‘04 and ‘07, and (the rocky times of) 2011 and 2012. It’s been a wild ride.”
This season has certainly been a wild ride for the Red Sox and their fans.
Coming off the epic collapse in 2011 and the insufferable 69-93 season last year, expectations were extremely low for the Sox coming into this year. The infamous Fenway Park sellout streak was officially put to bed early in the season, and games in late spring seemed to have minimal excitement.
Slowly but surely, however, this group of scruffy ballplayers starting winning back the fan base until the bandwagon was once again filled to capacity earlier this fall. The on-field wins continued to pile up, setting up can’t-miss baseball in September and October.
The Red Sox are now trying to capture their third World Series title in the last 10 years.
“You knew (David) Ortiz and (Dustin) Pedroia and (Jacoby) Ellsbury, as long as he was in there, would be good. But the fact that no one expected anything made them more relaxed and they produced. It was an awesome feeling at the ballpark,” Lucy said.
“In April and May they admitted the sellout (streak) was over. It was not as exciting. You went to games in July and August and it was getting back to where it was. It’s going to be wild now.”
Beverly’s Rich Swiniuch was looking forward to that wild scene as he looked for parking near Fenway last night.
Swiniuch was attending the game with his father-in-law and his 18-year-old son, Christopher.
“My father-in-law got the tickets online,” Swiniuch said before the game. “We’re hoping for an exciting night, cheering for them to win it.”
A former Beverly Little League coach, Swiniuch loves the Red Sox team chemistry and believes this could end up being a short series. Based on last night’s Game 1 result, he could be right.
“It’s been a breath of fresh air after what they dealt with with (2012 manager Bobby) Valentine. (New manager John) Farrell has the pulse of the guys and they couldn’t have gone anywhere but up,” Swiniuch said.
“I’m looking at five games. I think (Jon) Lester closes it out (in Game 5).”
Lucy didn’t disagree with Swiniuch’s prediction, but he also has reason to hope for a long series. If the Cardinals provide more resistance than expected and force a seventh game, Lucy will be back in the seats behind the Red Sox bullpen.
“It’s the Sox in four,” Lucy laughed. “No, no, no ... I could see them dropping a game. I did say in the Detroit series that they had to get the starters out early by scoring runs. If they do that (again) this could be Sox in four, but if you start seeing 2-1 ballgames going into the sixth or seventh innings it could go either way.
“I also have Game 7 (tickets), so I’m hoping for seven games. But I think it’s going to be Sox in five.”