BOSTON – The first pitch of the 2018 World Series was thrown at 8:09 p.m. Tuesday, but fans, spectators and people from all walks of life flocked to Fenway Park and historic Jersey Street hours before game time to experience the World Series atmosphere.
“I’ve been here since 7 o’clock this morning,” John Ovesen, a program hawker outside the park, said, “but you know, the adrenaline’s been kicking in since yesterday. Being at the World Series, it always motivates me. I’m a Boston kid, so it’s just a lot of fun.”
As Ovesen shouted “Best. Team. EVAH,” to passersby to advertise programs and stickers emblazoned with the same phrase, his voice joined the cacophony of fanatics on Jersey Street. From children imitating the hawkers’ unique cadences to James Taylor’s dress rehearsal of the national anthem to giddy grown men telling their families that they just saw Xander Bogaerts get out of his car, Jersey Street was loud and vibrant all day, and it didn’t take being a Bostonian to enjoy it.
“I’m a lifelong Red Sox fan,” Nova Scotia native Jay Robichaud said. “I come down here once or twice every summer, but this is my first World Series. I’ve been coming here probably for the last 35 years … I really get into the regular season games, but this certainly brings it up a notch. I’m very, very excited when they win a regular season game. If they win tonight in the World Series, that’s unbeatable. It’s the ultimate.”
It didn’t even take being a Red Sox fan to take part in the pregame festivities.
“You can just feel the electricity in the air today, the electricity in Fenway,” Juan Berrios, who was born and raised in Los Angeles, said. “Boston is great. The people are really nice, man. Even though I wore my Dodger gear, they were cool … This is bucket list for sure. [Clayton] Kershaw’s on the mound, World Series, Game 1, first time he’s going to pitch at Fenway. It’s just epic.”
Though Berrios’ prediction that Kershaw would “throw a jam” and lead the Dodgers to a Game 1 win didn’t quite pan out, spirits remained high. Jersey Street buzzed with excitement under the drizzling, overcast sky leading up to and throughout the game.
Juan Perez, a retired Red Sox Legends Suite chef and current part-time artist, captured the scene on his canvas. After completing a portrait of Red Sox outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr.’s batting stance that took him all season to finish, Perez sketched what he described as the “motion” and “happiness” of Jersey Street as people with different rooting interests and home countries mulled around waiting for the World Series to begin.
“[My favorite part of the World Series is] the energy and positivity of everyone,” Perez said. “All of the sudden, we melt. We become a melting pot, and really, that’s all we want. We want to be able to communicate with each other. Through that, we can work out our problems. There are always going to be problems, but today, I’m going to be happy.”