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The Dropkick Murphys open Game 6 with fervor

Boston-area rock band performs Red Sox staple 'I'm Shipping Up to Boston'

BOSTON -- The Red Sox rolled out another piece of familiar postseason tradition prior to Game 6 of the American League Championship Series.

The Dropkick Murphys, the Celtic rock band bred in nearby Quincy, Mass., that is known for two songs that became October anthems during the hometown team's stirring runs to the World Series championship in 2004 and 2007, performed the national anthem and another locally inspired song, "I'm Shipping Up to Boston," on the Fenway Park field Saturday night as the Red Sox got ready to attempt to dropkick the Detroit Tigers from the playoffs and win their first AL pennant in six years.

The Dropkick Murphys first became tied to the Red Sox when they redid an old Red Sox song, "Tessie," and scored their first hit with it when Boston stormed through the 2004 postseason, rallying from an 0-3 deficit in the ALCS against the Yankees and then sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals in the Fall Classic.

The Dropkick Murphys went on to film a video for the song in Fenway Park and the tune was used in the movie, "Fever Pitch," which was set against the backdrop of the team's World Series run. "Tessie" is still played at Fenway after Red Sox wins.

"I'm Shipping Up to Boston," which was put together with music by the Murphys and lyrics by late folk singer Woody Guthrie, released on their 2005 album, The Warrior's Code, and featured on the soundtrack for the Academy Award-winning "The Departed" in 2006, also became a rally song for the Sox.

Former Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon used it as his walk-up song and would often dance an Irish jig to it during the team's 2007 World Series. He repeated the dance during the club's championship parade while the Murphys played it live on his float.

On Saturday night, "The Star-Spangled Banner" and "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" inspired a raucous crowd to stand up and sing along.

In addition to the anthem, the Red Sox welcomed former player Bill Mueller to throw the ceremonial first pitch. Mueller was the third baseman on the 2004 Red Sox and retired after 2006.

Doug Miller is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB.
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