Ray Duckler: Take me out to the ballgame, to watch him pitch and meet his mom
Red Sox fans celebrate outside Fenway Park on Wednesday night, October 30, 2013 after Boston defeated the St. Louis Cardinals to win the World Series. (JOHN TULLY / Monitor staff) Purchase photo reprints at PhotoExtra »
Bill Glahn turned around and expressed support for World Series hero John Lackey, once a maligned figure, Wednesday night during Game 6 of the World Series.
And Lackey’s mother appreciated it.
“I said something that may have been too intrusive,” said Glahn, a lawyer who lives in Concord and practices in Manchester. “I told her, ‘Your son handled the situation well this year.’ She said, ‘Thanks.’ ”
Glahn has had Red Sox season tickets for nearly 30 years. Same spot behind home plate, under the overhang, Row NN, the Red Sox’s family section directly behind him.
So there was Glahn, watching his favorite baseball team win the World Series at home for the first time in 95 years, the Lackeys behind him, his son next to him.
He’d met Lackey’s parents during a playoff game earlier this month and says he felt comfortable speaking with them.
“Mrs. Lackey was more talkative than some of the others I’ve met,” Glahn said. “You take your cue from them. She said hello when we got there (Wednesday) night and asked where we’ve been.”
Call it part of a surreal scene for the local guy, one that included chest-caving cheers and a post-midnight bike ride with his son along Boylston Street back to the car, with drunk college kids yelling and cops everywhere.
Part of a surreal month, really, for Glahn and Brooks. Superstitious, they went to the same Boston restaurant for
dinner before each of the four postseason games they attended together.
Glahn had a fish sandwich and a beer each time.
“Four fish sandwiches and four beers,” Glahn said. “A tradition before the game.”
Tradition and baseball and fathers and sons are a big part of the Glahn history. He grew up in Connecticut, the son of a Yankees fan, who had to choose between rooting for Mickey Mantle and the Yankees, or Ted Williams and the Red Sox.
Glahn chose Williams.
“My father told me I would die with a broken heart,” Glahn said, “and (the Red Sox) would never beat the Yankees in a big game.”
Dad, who took his son to World Series games at Yankee Stadium in the 1950s and ’60s, was wrong, of course.
Glahn was at Fenway nine years ago, when David Oritz’s walk-off home run beat the Yankees in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series, setting in motion a chain of events that culminated with Boston’s first World Series title in 86 years.
Glahn, in fact, has seen a lot in person, from Carlton Fisk’s wave-it-fair home run in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series against the Reds, to Trot Nixon’s walk-off homer during the 2003 playoffs against the Athletics.
“I high-fived Nixon’s wife after that one,” Glahn said.
Wednesday night, after his fish sandwich and beer, Glahn said the park was already tightly packed when he got there, at about 7:50 p.m. He said flashbulbs popped, especially in the ninth inning.
A firefly show, he called it.
“Unbelievable, electric the entire time,” Glahn said. “I don’t think people sat down much for the entire game. Amazing in the ninth inning.”
Lackey’s parents were gone by then, presumably to meet their son on the field. Glahn said Lackey’s father was quiet, his mother the more open of the two.
“Very pretty, younger than I am, probably mid-50s,” said Glahn, who’s 66. “Blondish hair, wears glasses and seems like a very pleasant person.”
She’s the mother of a pitcher who, fair or not, had become public enemy No. 1, after signing for lots of money four years ago, giving up lots of runs and eating lots of fried chicken in the clubhouse during games two years ago, and missing an entire season with an injury last year.
Glahn, though, says he stayed in Lackey’s corner through the daily rip jobs in the newspapers and on talk radio.
He said he respected Lackey last season because the pitcher was a regular visitor to the clubhouse, despite his injury.
“When Jacoby Ellsbury was hurt, he didn’t do that,” noted Glahn.
Glahn’s loyalty paid dividends two nights ago. Lackey wasn’t the gutless, selfish figure he’d been perceived to be just last season.
He worked 6 2∕3 innings in Boston’s 6-1 series-clinching win. Hitters swung late at his fastball and were baffled by his curveball.
When Lackey came out in seventh inning to a standing ovation, he tipped his cap for the first time this season, the redemption for himself and his team nearly complete.
Glahn, meanwhile, turned around in his seat.
To Lackey’s mother.
“I said to her that one thing is true,” Glahn said.
“I said, ‘Your son will never have to buy another beer in Boston again.’ ”