BOSTON — Fenway Park has borne witness to more baseball history than any other major league ballpark still in use, but the 101-year-old bandbox has not seen a World Series-clinching win by the home team since 1918.
Wednesday night, the last vestige of the twice-broken Curse of the Bambino will be vaporized forever if the Boston Red Sox beat the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 6, and the city is primed to explode with frickin' wicked tribal joy.
Helen McGonagle, 97, who was 2 when the Sox last clinched a World Series title at home, will watch from the John Adams Healthcare Clinic in Quincy, Mass.
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"I make sure I don't miss it," she told USA TODAY Sports on Tuesday. "If I fall asleep, I get up on time to see the ending. I'm so excited I can't even sleep."
Such excitement seemed nigh impossible in spring training. The Red Sox were coming off a last-place finish in 2012, which seemed a hangover of their historic September 2011 collapse marked by players who infamously ate fried chicken and downed beer during games.
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That broke a social contract between franchise and fans – a record sellout streak of 820 games at Fenway ended on April 10. Five days later, the Boston Marathon bombing left the city heartbroken and bloodied. Much of the civic healing took place at Fenway, the words Boston Strong echoing off the Green Monster as the city's bearded baseball heroes' worst-to-first drama offered a season of solace.
David Ortiz took the microphone before Boston's first home game after bombs stole life and limbs and he said, "This is our (expletive) city and nobody is going to dictate our freedom," and he didn't say frickin'. Boston fans loved Ortiz for that and they love him even more today for batting an otherworldly .733 in the Series.
How long has Fenway waited to see the hometown team crowned? Babe Ruth was a Red Sox pitcher when McGonagle was born. "These new ones," she says, "the only one I really know is David Ortiz."
The Red Sox broke Ruth's Curse with World Series wins in St. Louis in 2004 and Colorado in 2007, but this win, if it comes, will unfold in what John Updike called "a lyric little bandbox of a ballpark." History comes at a price: Seats behind home plate tonight are going for nearly $8,000 on Stub Hub.
That's a web site. The real Hub is Boston. Oliver Wendell Holmes once styled the city as the hub of the solar system, and tonight in Fenway might feel exactly like that.
Follow Ted Berg on Twitter @OGTedBerg.
Follow Erik Brady on Twitter @ByErikBrady.
WATCH: PREVIEWING WORLD SERIES GAME 6