BOSTON -- If the Red Sox are seeking a similar outcome to the last time they played in the World Series, maybe it couldn't hurt to repeat events that were part of that little slice of history.Perhaps that's why they invited a lot of the people who helped ring in
BOSTON -- If the Red Sox are seeking a similar outcome to the last time they played in the World Series, maybe it couldn't hurt to repeat events that were part of that little slice of history.
Perhaps that's why they invited a lot of the people who helped ring in the World Series in 2013 -- the last time they won the championship -- to celebrate the opening of the Fall Classic this time, too.
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That's not to say baseball people are superstitious, or that they're actually among the most superstitious of anyone involved with the four major sports. Nah. But ... for argument's sake, let's just say it's possible that the Red Sox invited one of their most beloved Hall of Famers back to throw the ceremonial first pitch, and asked one of their favorite musical sons to sing the national anthem, because they were seeking a little deja vu all over again.
The ceremony before Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday night at Fenway Park featured first-pitch-thrower Carl Yastrzemski, who knows a thing or two about coming through in the clutch in October. Yaz hit .352 in 14 World Series games in 1967 and '75, and he just happened to throw out the ceremonial pitch before Game 1 in 2004, '07 and '13 -- all championship years for the team from Beantown.
Boston native and Red Sox loyalist James Taylor performed the anthem after performing the anthem in 2004 and '13.
"This is spectacular," Taylor said during his soundcheck earlier in the day. "I was happy that they called and asked me to be a part of this. This is a wonderful thing. As a Red Sox fan, there is nothing better."
The pregame ceremonies throughout the World Series will include members of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the respective cities. On Tuesday, the game ball was delivered by 13-year-old Stavaughn Harris, a student at Peter Noyes Middle School in Sudbury, who was accompanied to the mound by Hall of Famer and Red Sox legend Jim Rice.
Major League Baseball's community efforts and outreach are also amplified every postseason. Guests affiliated with a slew of philanthropic groups are invited to partake in everything from batting practice to player meet-and-greets and the game itself, and Game 1 at Fenway was no exception.
This year, MLB has invited service members through the PALS for Patriots program to a first-class experience, including meeting Commissioner Rob Manfred, and select players and talent from MLB Network. The PALS for Patriots program, in partnership with Patient AirLift Services, provides morale-boosting trips to MLB games.
Major League Baseball annually donates game tickets, lodging and meals for wounded veterans through the program, which was launched in 2013. Patient AirLift Services arranges volunteer pilots to fly the veterans from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., and other military hospitals to games in several Major League cities each year.
Tuesday's guests included Isaac Francois, Tevon Mitchell and Sharod Wade.
Francois joined the Navy in April 2004 as a Hospital Corpsman and has served with the Marines in Okinawa, Japan; Camp Lejeune, N.C.; and Afghanistan. He was medically retired in December 2013 after the Navy found him unable to perform his duties due to injuries sustained in Afghanistan and throughout his Naval career.
Mitchell, a native of Annapolis, Md., enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2001. He completed recruit training at Parris Island, S.C., and was stationed at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, serving as Food Service and Operations Specialist. From 2002-07, he deployed with 2nd Marine Logistics Group, conducting counterinsurgency operations with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable).
Wade, a native Washingtonian (and Nationals fan), enlisted in the Marine Corps to serve active duty in 2003. Like Mitchell, he completed recruit training at Parris Island before being stationed at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune to serve as Food Service and Operations Specialist. From 2005-06, he was deployed with 2nd Marine Logistics Group conducting counterinsurgency operations with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable).
The trio was flown in on a private plane from Leesburg, Va., by a volunteer pilot and, since landing, has experienced Boston at its finest.
"Boston is a lot of nicer than I thought," Wade said. "I guess when you win so much, you get used to welcoming people in."
Alyson Footer is a national correspondent for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @alysonfooter.