I was there last night for Jon Lester’s no-hitter. It was our annual company trip to Fenway. I was sitting way back in right field with about fifteen of my coworkers, and we spent the first five innings drinking beer and trading office gossip. Then we realized what was happening in front of us.
Until about then, the crowd had been heavily invested in Manny Ramirez’s pursuit of his 500th home run. But as Jon Lester retired one Royal after another, the atmosphere in the old ballpark became increasingly giddy and electric, with moments of expectant silence broken by cheers after every strike, groans after every ball, and gasps after every grounder. The sunset blazed pink and orange over the left field wall.
I woke up this morning and it seemed like a dream. Last night I had this crazy dream, and I was at Fenway Park in May but it was really really cold, and for some reason, all my coworkers were there, and then Jon Lester threw a no-no!
I’ve seen a lot of great moments at Fenway over the past 26 years, but when Lester recorded the final out, the cry of jubilation that erupted in the Fens sounded unlike any other cheer I have ever heard there. It wasn’t the lusty roar I’ve heard at playoff games, and it wasn’t anything like the triumphant crowing you hear at Yankee games. It was the sound of 37,000 people surrendering themselves to euphoria, falling into 100% pure, unadulterated, grade-A baseball love. In fact, I may have given in to the euphoria of the moment a little too much, if possible. No need to go into too much detail, but if you were in Kenmore Square last night and saw a blond woman, about 5’6″, leaning into the brick facade of Fenway Park and apparently attempting to hug the venerable edifice, let’s just say you weren’t hallucinating.
The night was better suited for October than May. There was a wind whipping through Boston that put whitecaps on the Charles. Dust blew into my eyes on the way to the park. It was the kind of night you expected fly balls to become home runs and pop-ups to become singles. That Jon Lester threw a no-hitter is amazing enough. That he did it in such a gale? Unbelievable. Except that I was there and I saw it with my own eyes.
I walked back across the river, the moon and the Citgo sign shining brightly on the water. I could still see the white glow of Fenway’s light towers. The night didn’t feel so cold anymore—the wind had died down. I fell into talking with a couple of guys who were also making the trek back to the Cambridge side of the Charles. I’ve high-fived with strangers in Kenmore after a great game, but I’ve never had thirty-minute conversations with them. But maybe this is just normal, post-no-hitter behavior—who knows? They told me a great story. They were sitting next to an elderly woman. Last year, she gave her tickets to Clay Buchholz’s no-no last year to her daughter and granddaughter. There may be no crying in baseball, but I do believe there is karma.