The Marines took on the Green Monster.
Fenway Park, home of the 37-foot high left field wall known as the “Green Monster,” hosted Marines May 3 during the park’s Marine Appreciation Day.
The Red Sox home turf recognized and honored the Marine Corps in various ways to include throwing out the first pitch, witnessing the swearing in of 20 Marine prospects, and giving the son and daughter of Maj. Neil Murphy of New York City Public Affairs the privilege of being the honorary bat boy and bat girl during pregame warm-ups.
The “very cool” experience for Jake and Shaelin, was an understatement when the two witnessed Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz smack balls in the clubhouse indoor batting cage during warm-ups, all while prepping the Red Sox batting helmet rack.
Well before the game, Marines were honored and distinguished with recognition from fans and ball players.
From out of the center field tunnel, just below the Green Monster, came 20 young men and women who stepped up to the plate to join the Marine Corps’ ranks. These young men and women from the Boston area raised their hands and swore an oath to enlist in the Marine Corps and serve the country in front of the thousands in attendance. The Fenway fanatics were on their feet for a standing ovation just after Col. Paul Roche, recruiting support officer, 1st Marine Corps District, conducted the oath of enlistment.
“Wow, it makes me so proud and happy to have people like this in town,” said Red Sox fan and game attendee Tom Bisson, a resident of Plymouth, Mass. “I cannot believe I just witnessed all of those guys swear to serve our country – right in front of us – while we’re still at war.
“We’re proud to have the Marines in Boston and I know me and my son will never take their service for granted,” he added.
The young Marine prospects were followed by the Albany Marine Band, and color guard. The color guard honored the American flag while the national anthem was played, and the band continued pregame festivities by playing various tunes such as “God Bless America” and “Stars and Stripes.”
Game time approached and someone needed to throw the first pitch to kick off the series between the Red Sox and the Anaheim Angels. Hometown hero Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Murphy, the staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge of Recruiting Substation Boston, took on the task of throwing a wicked fastball in front of his 8-year-old son, Nolan.
“It was a dream come true being on the field at Fenway,” said Murphy, a native of Boston. “As a kid, I grew up watching Red Sox games and never dreamed I would be sitting on the Green Monster watching the game, let alone on the field throwing the first pitch.”
After Murphy threw the first pitch, he handed the ball to his son who is celebrating his ninth birthday during Marine Week.
“This is something we will always remember,” added Murphy.
When the game began, the festivities and excitement for the Marines in Boston didn’t end. Marines with the 25th Marine Regiment were escorted by Fenway Park personnel to privileged viewing areas of the stadium. And as an added treat to all Bostonians and Marines serving in Marine Week Boston, the Red Sox beat the Angels 17-8.