Ringing in the new season: Red Sox close the book on 2013 with a moving ceremony

April 04, 2014 - 5:41 pm

The game may not have gone the way the Red Sox had hoped, but nevertheless, Friday was a special day for the members of the 2013 World Series champions. It was a day to reflect on the accomplishments of last year'€™s ballclub, one last celebration of a remarkable season.

Friday'€™s ceremonies began with a montage of highlights from the 2013 season, as the new 2013 World Series banner cascaded down the Green Monster. Survivors of last April'€™s marathon bombings delivered the World Series rings from left field to the first base line, proceeding to shake hands with Red Sox executives and players before exiting the field to rousing applause.

Then it was time for the rings. David Ross showed off his new jewelry after the game, complete with the hanging Sox logo and depiction of the World Series trophy (multiple trophies for those who have won multiple titles with the Sox), as well as a Boston Strong logo on the side and a "Band of Bearded Brothers" inscription inside. Ross was especially excited about the Boston Strong tribute.

"I think for a lot of us, that was the big symbol for us," said Ross. "The two coolest things for me are the Boston Strong and the [where it says Ross' name]."

David Ortiz was the last player to receive his ring, and was surprised when he was handed not just the World Series ring but another commemorating his MVP performance during the series.

"€œIt was a surprise for me to get an extra ring," said Ortiz. "It'€™s crazy. It'€™s nice, man, a beautiful ring. It'€™s something that you'€™re not expecting."

Ortiz had no inkling that he'€™d be receiving multiple pieces of hardware to add to his 2004 and 2007 rings, which he wore on a chain around his neck during the ceremony.

"€œI thought they were giving me somebody else'€™s ring. I was like hey, you'€™re giving me two!" he chuckled. "It was very kind coming from them."

The ceremony was bittersweet as well, with the Boston Marathon bombing survivors  honored and a moment of silence held for Edward Walsh and Michael Kennedy, the two Boston firefighters who were killed in a nine-alarm fire on Beacon Street on March 26.

"It was emotional on a lot of levels," said outfielder Jonny Gomes. "€œ[You have] sympathy for the marathon runners, the firefighters and families. Then you bring out the people that have been here before. So it was definitely an emotional roller coaster and something that jumps right to the top of most exciting days as a baseball player."

The ceremonies concluded with the team, led by Ortiz, hoisting a 2013 World Series flag in center field, and the Dropkick Murphys giving a performance of "Shipping Up to Boston."€ Finally, in a moment that encapsulated the emergence of Boston as a multi-sport championship factory, representatives from the 2004 and 2007 Red Sox (Pedro Martinez, Jason Varitek and Mike Lowell), former Patriots Ty Law, Tedy Bruschi and Troy Brown, former Bruin Mark Recchi, and former Celtic Leon Powe all joined at the mound, hoisting their respective championship trophies from the past decade. Former mayor Tom Menino then handed a ball to current mayor Marty Walsh, who tossed the ceremonial first pitch.

Dustin Pedroia reflected on the festivities after the game.

"€œIt was awesome. It was pretty special," he said. "One I'€™ll definitely remember forever. It all happens so fast, you just try to slow down and take it all in. All of it was awesome."

Emotional and triumphant, the ceremony was a fitting way to close the book on an extraordinary 2013 season, as the Red Sox look ahead to what 2014 will bring.