Ceremonial blog: The pregame festivities, as they happen


Ceremonial blog: The pregame festivities, as they happen

Miss Fenway's 100th birthday party? We've got it all for you in reverse chronological order:

3:06 P.M. -- And we're finished. Thanks for checking in. Now to the ballgame.

3:05 P.M. -- The "play ball" chant is led by Doerr, Pesky, Rice and Fisk.

3 P.M. -- Pedro Martinez and Kevin Millar are on top of the Red Sox dugout leading the Welch's Grape Juice toast. "And one last time," Millar bellows, "it's time to Cowboy Up!" And the crowd chants "Cowboy Up" with them. It had been so understated and dignified until now . . .

2:57 P.M. -- Now comes the ceremonial first pitch. Mayor Fitzgerald -- Honey Fitz, the father of Rose Kennedy -- threw out the first ball in 1912. Now it's Mayor Menino with Honey Fitz' grandson, Thomas Fitzgerald, and great-granddaughter, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg. They're throwing the pitches to three Sox Hall of Famers: Jim Rice, Carlton Fisk and Carl Yastrzemski, all of whom have had their numbers retired by the franchise.

2:56 P.M. -- And it looks like that's it. The grounds crew is out there now watering the infield, and the players are loosening up. Except for the ridiculous-looking uniforms, it could be any pregame.

2:53 P.M. -- Now the present-day Red Sox and Yankees are lined up in a curve from first base to third base to recreate a picture that was taken on Opening Day 1912. I've seen the picture before; it's hanging somewhere in the ballpark.

2:50 P.M. -- Most of the players begin leaving the field, going back to the center-field entrance they emerged from. Two of the last to leave: Syd O'Brien and Carmen Fanzone. You may not remember them, but as someone who was a young Red Sox fanatic in the late '60s, I sure do.

2:48 P.M. -- Keith Lockhart -- in a red Red Sox jersey -- conducts the Star Spangled Banner as the flag covers the wall.

2:47 P.M. -- National anthem time, with fireworks and fly overs.

2:46 P.M. -- They're setting up for a flag drop off the left-field wall.

2:45 P.M. -- As the music plays, the Sox players all gather around Pesky and Doerr at second base.

2:43 P.M. -- Everybody's out there now, so here comes John Williams to conduct the Boston Pops. They're set up behind home plate.

2:41 P.M. -- The last two 'Teammates' -- Johnny Pesky and Bobby Doerr -- are wheeled to the middle of the diamond in wheelchairs. With them: David Ortiz, Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield.

2:40 P.M. -- The two loneliest guys: Rene Lachemann and Dick Berardino in the third-base coaches box. Why hasn't Jerry Royster joined them?

2:39 P.M. -- And now the active players, in their 1912 throwbacks, trot onto the field to join the older guys at each position.

2:38 P.M. -- Yaz gives Rico a hug on the way out to left field.

2:38 P.M. -- Last player out: Yaz, from the dugout. So Rice was the first and Yastrzemski the last.

2:37 P.M. -- It just struck me that all these old guys in the cream-colored uniforms are guys that I saw play.

2:36 P.M. -- Nice welcome for Mo Vaughn.

2:36 P.M. -- Hmm . . . thought there'd be bigger cheers for Eck. They weren't bad, but not overwhelming.

2:34 P.M. -- But they know their history, too: A warm welcome for Pumpsie Green.

2:33 P.M. -- Here comes a batch of contemporary guys, like Mike Lowell and Mike Timlin. The cheers are loud, like you'd think.

2:32 P.M. -- A "Tee-to! Tee-to! Tee-to!" chant breaks out.

2:32 P.M. -- But the biggest hand of the day -- as expected -- is for Terry Francona.

2:31 P.M. -- Kevin Millar. Huge roar.

2:31 P.M. -- Sure enough, here's Jose Canseco. He may be live-streaming the thing over his phone.

2:30 P.M. -- Rick Cerone, about 50 pounds over his playing weight and waving to the crowd like everybody should know him. Some things never change.

2:29 P.M. -- Is that Gary Bell with a cane? Man, I'm getting old. (UPDATE AT 2:51 P.M.: That wasn't Bell. I think it was Bill MacLeod.)

2:28 P.M. -- First Lou Merloni, and then Nomar Garciaparra. The place erupts.

2:27 P.M. -- The players are gathering at their positions and many of them have their backs to us, so we can see the names. Vaughn Eshelman. Jim Dorsey. Can't say I remember Merlin Nippert, though; he pitched here in 1962.

2:26 P.M. -- Dana Kiecker!

2:25 P.M. -- Pedro. Biggest hand of the day so far.

2:24 P.M. -- But they sure know Dave Henderson, who could have been the hero of all time around here were it not for you-know-what.

2:24 P.M. -- Don't think the fans recognized Bob Montgomery. That's okay; I don't recognize a lot of these guys, either. We really have to see the numbers.

2:23 P.M. -- Big, big hand for Carlton Fisk.

2:22 P.M. -- Oil Can Boyd. Billy Rohr. Billy Conigliaro. They're coming out too fast now.

2:21 P.M. -- Jim Lonborg to the mound. Tommy Harper to center field. Luis Tiant to the mound, to a huge ovation.

2:21 P.M. -- Frank Malzone to third base. Jerry Remy to second base. Rico Petrocelli to shortstop.

2:20 P.M. -- The players are walking out to their positions one by one. Jim Rice is first, to left field. Dwight Evans is next, to right field. But Bill Buckner next, to first base? Hah?

2:18 P.M. -- Were the lyrics of 'Sweet Caroline' just incorporated into Beane's into his speech??

2:17 P.M. -- Carl Beane announces that, 100 years ago, the Red Sox opened Fenway by playing the New York Highlanders. The fans boo. He says the Highlanders later changed their name to the New York Yankees. They boo louder.

2:16 P.M. -- All sorts of highlights are playing on the giant board . . . including Liverpool soccer. (They played here last year, remember?) Just can't resist, can they?

2:14 P.M. -- Here we go. The bland organ music has stopped and dramatic recorded music is playing. A cart has delivered Johnny Pesky to the front of the dugout. We're about to get underway.

2:13 P.M. -- Most of the fans are in their seats, the field's clear of everyone, but there's nothing's happening. That damn Yankee BP.

2:10 P.M. -- Actually, we also know Jose Canseco and Dave Henderson are on hand; Jose said so on Twitter. Seems like just yesterday he was Tweeting his sadness about not being invited . . . and then mulling that since he'd moved and left no forwarding address, it's possible the invitation was lost in space somewhere. To quote Bill Reynolds: They didn't make two of you, Jose.

2:08 P.M. -- Old friend Brian Lewandowski has a picture of some of the former Red Sox who've gathered in center field for the pregame ceremonies. Most prominent: Don Bryant, a coach from 1974 to '76. If he's here, then you have to believe everyone's here.

2:06 P.M. -- We were supposed to have started by now. But a security guard told our own Phil Perry, who's here as a fan, that the "celebration may go off a few minutes late because of Yankees BP." Okay, then.

Kevin Durant's future a mystery as OKC collapses


Kevin Durant's future a mystery as OKC collapses

OAKLAND, Calif. - As Stephen Curry dribbled out the clock in a raucous Oracle Arena, Kevin Durant could only stand and watch.

The Golden State Warriors are heading back to the NBA Finals, while Durant's future in Oklahoma City is much less certain.

Two nights after blowing an opportunity to close out the defending champion Warriors at home, the Thunder got sent home for the summer when they lost Game 7 of the Western Conference finals 96-88 on Monday night.

Instead of becoming known as the team that knocked off the Warriors after their record-setting 73-win regular season, the Thunder will be remembered for a playoff collapse. They became just the 10th NBA team to lose a playoff series after taking a 3-1 lead and now head into an uncertain offseason with Durant eligible to become an unrestricted free agent in July.

If he does leave the only franchise he has played for in his nine-year career, he will do it having failed to deliver the championship to Oklahoma City. The closest the Thunder have gotten in Durant's tenure was when they lost the NBA Finals in five games to LeBron James and the Miami Heat in 2012.

They then lost in the second round the next season, in the conference finals in 2014 to San Antonio before missing the playoffs entirely because of an injury to Durant last year.

But under first-year coach Billy Donovan, Oklahoma City earned the third seed in the top-heavy Western Conference this season and then upset 67-win San Antonio in the second round. The Thunder followed that by winning three of the first four games against the Warriors, with a pair of lopsided wins at home.

But after losing Game 5 on the road, the Thunder blew an opportunity to eliminate the Warriors at home on Saturday night. Oklahoma City led by seven points with less than five minutes remaining but made only one basket and committed six turnovers down the stretch of a 108-101 loss that could haunt the franchise for years.

The Thunder responded on the road in Game 7 by taking a 13-point lead in the second quarter. But once Curry and Klay Thompson started hitting Oklahoma City with a flurry of 3-pointers, the Thunder had no answer. The Splash Brothers combined for 13 3-pointers as Golden State outscored Oklahoma City by 30 points from behind the line.

Oklahoma City's stars were no match. Russell Westbrook missed 14 of 21 from the field and shot just 36.8 percent in the three potential clinchers. Durant finished with 27 points but took only 10 shots in the first three quarters.

Durant did score seven straight points to cut an 11-point deficit to four with 1:40 remaining. But Serge Ibaka then fouled Curry on a 3-pointer with the shot clock running down, allowing Golden State to build the lead back to seven.

Durant then missed two shots and could only stare blankly when Curry ended Oklahoma City's season with a 3-pointer with 26.8 seconds left. Now the Thunder can only hope it doesn't end Durant's tenure in Oklahoma City as well.