When the color guard of Boy Scout Troop 859 marched out on the field in Fenway Park in Boston for the Yankees-Red Sox game last Saturday, the national anthem brought out the feelings of pride and patriotism caught up in an intense rivalry that's brewed over the years between the two teams.
After flying the colors, the sellout crowd high-fived the Scouts as they made their way to the standing-room-only section behind home plate, where they watched the game. But with the intense rivalry and pumped up crowd, the excitement overflowed when Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez was hit by a pitch. Rodriguez, who’s known to his fans as "A-Rod," started yelling, the umpire tried to hold him back, and Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek started swinging, clearing both benches.
The fight was typical for a Red Sox-Yankees game, and the Scouts saw everything. Michael Bertha, 16, who carried the troop flag, could tell emotions were high. The fight was memorable for Michael, who is really a Pittsburgh Pirate fan.
"You have two cities with big prides. Everyone got into it," Michael said.
Peter Trevino, 16, used to live in Boston, so he knew of the rivalry. Peter will be a junior at Edison High School next year, where he's had experience playing in a marching band.
"There was tension. It mellowed out nicely afterward," Peter said.
The whole game was the biggest experience of the summer for Tom Lundquist, 16, although he'll continue looking for big experiences throughout the rest of the summer.
"I doubt I'll find it, though," he said.
IT ALL STARTED for the Scouts with assistant scoutleader Ed Lundquist, who knew one of the Red Sox former general managers. Lundquist wrote a letter, and the troop was invited to provide the color guard for that game. The Scout troop is based out of St. Raymond’s church in Springfield, which currently conducts services in Station 22 of Fairfax County Fire and Rescue on Backlick Road in Springfield. The permanent home for the church is currently under construction at Pohick Road and the Fairfax County Parkway.
The Scouts timed a scouting trip to coincide with the game, so they were in the Boston area that night. After the game, 12 Scouts and five leaders headed on to Maine for an extended canoeing and hiking expedition.
"It was a great experience for these boys," Lundquist said. “They did this for the experience. The Yankees-Red Sox is a huge rivalry," Lundquist said.
At Fenway, the "big green wall" out in left field goes down in baseball lore with Babe Ruth, the Carlton Fisk homer to win the World Series in 1975, and the Yankees' Bucky Dent blooper that cleared the wall in 1978.
Joe Atwell, 14, had seen the wall only on television in the past. Now he was face to face with the "green monster," as it's known to some.
"It's nothing like in real life. It was impressive," Joe said. "Someone hit it over." That was Bill Mueller, a Red Sox slugger and the American League hitting leader in 2003.
Joe is a Red Sox fan, although the only games he’d gone to in the past were the Baltimore Orioles.
"It's the biggest rivalry in all of baseball there," Joe said.