Red Sox in 'rolling rally' to celebrate

Updated: November 2, 2013, 6:24 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

BOSTON -- The Red Sox paraded from the Green Monster to the Charles River on Saturday, a celebration that was highlighted by a touching moment at the Boston Marathon finish line.

[+] EnlargeJonny Gomes
AP Photo/Charles KrupaSaturday's parade was highlighted by a touching moment at the Boston Marathon finish line.

The "rolling rally" celebrating the Red Sox's third championship in 10 years began at Fenway Park and headed down Boylston Street.

The 25 duck boats carrying Red Sox players and executives paused when they reached the marathon finish line, still painted blue and yellow, where three spectators died in the bombings during the April 15 race.

Outfielder Jonny Gomes placed the World Series trophy on the line and he and catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia held Red Sox jerseys with the words "BOSTON STRONG" and the number 617, the city's area code. The moment was accompanied by a stirring rendition of "God Bless America" by classical singer Ronan Tynan.

"I think when we all stopped in that moment, and 'God Bless America' was sung, I think for a split second, and rightfully so, it took us back to the day in which we departed here on April 15," manager John Farrell said. "And again, in some ways, to bring a little bit of closure to it in terms of how the baseball season related to the tragedy, it was kind of a unique moment."

Gomes said placing the trophy on the finish line was an impromptu moment on his part.

"That was something kind of unexpected on my end, but I was glad to be a part of it. It was somewhat of a tear-jerker there for a minute but it's something that had to be done," Gomes said.

As the parade moved on, David Ortiz hopped out of his duck boat and ran the final yards of the finish line to the delight of the crowd that stood at least 10 deep on the sidewalks.

"It was great. We met some people down there that were related to the bombings and stuff. It was very emotional but we got through it and I'm back to the happy times," Ortiz said.

"It was great, seeing people recovering and having a good time."

Gomes said the actions by the Red Sox players weren't mandated by the organization.

"They didn't tell us what to do. I don't think there's a right way or a wrong way to do it, I think it's just something that had to be done and it just shows how classy this organization is and this city to allow that to happen," he said.

Before leaving Fenway, Farrell recalled that the Red Sox had left after their game the day of the marathon for Logan Airport for a road trip. Along the way, they saw emergency vehicles responding to the explosions.

"Knowing that we were heading out of town, that's going to bring back a lot, and a lot of uncertainty at that moment,'' Farrell said, "because no one knew where to turn next. So we were fortunate to be part of maybe a little bit of a healing process."

Second baseman Dustin Pedroia said: "We played for the whole city, what the city went through.''

Season-ticket holders were allowed into Fenway for a pre-rally ceremony at which team officials, Farrell and several players spoke. Then they all boarded the duck boats.

The departure was delayed when a flatbed truck carrying Dropkick Murphys, a band which had played at the ceremony, and heavy equipment became stuck in the turf along the first-base line.

A duck boat drove up in front of it and, with a tow rope between the vehicles, pulled the flatbed out of the ruts.

Some of the boats had light brown carpeting cut into the shape of beards attached on the front.

Players still had their beards, which some had grown all season long.

"Hopefully, we can all get together and shave them for a good cause," third baseman Will Middlebrooks said.

Right-hander Jake Peavy evidently enjoyed the parade so much that he bought a duck boat after it ended, the team tweeted.

ESPNBoston.com's Joe McDonald and Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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