“Beat LA! Beat LA! Beat LA!”
And so went the chants for the majority of Monday night into Tuesday morning in Boston as the Red Sox took game one of the World Series, 8-4.
You see, the locals here are not such big fans when it comes to the City of Angels, specifically their basketball team the Lakers. But since this was baseball and the Los Angeles Dodgers were in town, why not ramp up the hate some more?
Better still, hate keeps you warm. Aside from the wooly gloves and scarves, nothing says October baseball quite like Boston, a city that wraps up a summer game with its harsh winds and perfectly-timed lightning storms an hour before first pitch, as happened on this day.
It was 50 degrees cooler - or colder - here than in Los Angeles at the same time last year, and while the Dodgers are playing in their second consecutive Fall Classic, they had to begin on the road this time around.
Bostonians were glad to use the elements to their advantage, never afraid to brave such realities. If success will come for the Red Sox, so will the cold. They last faced the Dodgers - well, Robins - at this stage in 1916, when LA’s team were actually Brooklyn’s. That is close enough to Yankee Stadium, so why not throw that on the metaphorical fire, too?
On this night, Dodger fans making the trip were told throughout that their team were too soft for this temperature, and the point often looked valid as one by one their players donned puffy jackets and batting gloves in the road dugout.
When they return to the sunshine later this week, LA will have its own chance to showcase its sporting success in games three and four.
However, they last won a World Series in 1988, and as 8:09 ET crept up on everybody, it was Red Sox nation that stood up and got behind its team. After all, Boston never tires of success. (Please refer to the Fountain of Youth New England Patriots and loaded Celtics for further information).
On either side of the Charles River - “I love that dirty water!” rang loud after Red Sox victory here - MIT was lit up as usual but fading in comparison to the Prudential Center, Boston’s second-tallest skyscraper that sits on the other side of the bridge.
The lights on the building read “Go Sox!”, and to its right, the Citgo sign shone just as brightly, the iconic oil company logo that could soon be named an official landmark of the city.
The lights matched the optimism of the home fans, and you could not argue with their belief given what the Red Sox have already accomplished. 108 regular season wins - a franchise record - and playoff victories over the 100-win New York Yankees and 103-win reigning champion Houston Astros.
This while being led by a rookie manager in Alex Cora, who like his counterpart Dave Roberts has played for both teams involved here.
The rain and grey skies had fans checking the forecast throughout the day, yet the diehards lined up outside Fenway in the hope of getting their hands on last-minute tickets. The bars on Brookline Avenue and Lansdowne Street were packed with hopes of victory first and a full stomach second.
One of those establishments was The Cask n’ Flagon, which sits at the corner of Lansdowne and Brookline. Its customers were happy to vocally repeat the Prudential’s message. “Go Sox!” was heard when Boston took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, before one fan informed his group of friends that ‘Clayton Kershaw sucked’. Crucially, Hall of Famers don’t suck, but in Boston, all opponents do. Big difference.
The Red Sox and Dodgers are two of the most historical franchises in major league baseball, combining for 14 championships and far more big names. As it happens, Carl Yastrzemski threw out the first pitch before game one. Satisfaction came as simple as seeing their red and blue colours blend together on the scoreboard.
Every store around the park reminded you of the matchup; World Series hats, shot glasses and towels selling as well as Fenway Franks (or Creme Brûlée French Toast). Whatever takes your fancy, baseball fan.
On paper, this was one of the greatest pitching match-ups in playoff history, so it was a surprise to learn that Chris Sale was making his World Series debut and Kershaw his first ever at Fenway Park.
His Dodgers had hit 235 home runs during the regular season, most in the National League. The Red Sox had led the American League in wins, runs per game and extra base hits, and that superseded all as they took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Based on this performance, three more Red Sox victories might be as likely as the city of Boston loving sports forever. But only one game down, the real winner here is major league baseball. Milwaukee were a cute story, and Houston are arguably the best team, but this is Boston and Los Angeles.
The glitz and glamour (and good baseball) made for a joyous evening.
Well, unless you are a Dodger fan.