After a stretch of postcard-perfect days and nights during the Red Sox postseason run, a gloom gathered over Fenway Park for Game 1 of the World Series. And that was just fine.
The masses and the muckety mucks assembled at the ballpark Wednesday seemed entirely unbothered by the raw weather, happy to still be watching baseball in late October.
Before Bronx-bred R&B singer Mary J. Blige performed the national anthem — why a Yankees fan got to do the honors is beyond us — the raucous crowd enjoyed a few franks and frosty beverages. As they have in seasons past when the Sox were in the playoffs, team owners John Henry and Tom Werner hosted a pregame party for friends, family, and assorted VIPs.
Guests included several familiar faces, including Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz, who goes way back with the Sox-Cardinals, having attended Game 7 of the 1967 World Series between them.
Before the game, silver-haired “Mad Men” star John Slattery was hard to miss as he waited in line to slake his considerable thirst. The Newton native said he was back in town only briefly, and wouldn’t be seeing family.
“Don’t tell my mother I’m here,” said Roger Sterling’s alter ego. Asked who’ll win the World Series, Slattery flashed a crooked smile. “We are,” he said. “Who else would?”
Matt Damon wasn’t at the pregame party, but he did score sweet seats for the game, sitting in Henry’s box seats beside the Sox dugout.
Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns predicted the Sox will win the series in six games, citing a few intangibles. “They have something to prove, they play in the best park, and it’s a cohesive team,” said the “Baseball” director.
Likewise, Red Sox poet laureate Dick Flavin had a good feeling about the series. “This whole season has been a gift from the baseball gods,” he said. “I think it’ll continue.”
CNN’s John King, a Dorchester native, has been to every home playoff game this season, and he and son Noah, a student at BC, were back at Fenway Wednesday. “I’m saying the series will go six games, but that’s only because I want to come back here for Game 6,” said King.
Other boldfacers at the ballpark for the big game included “Glee” producer Brad Falchuk, actor Mike O’Malley, comedian Lenny Clarke, nightlife nabob Patrick Lyons, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough and Mike Barnicle, Fidelity’s Abigail Johnson, historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, developer Ron Druker, and Boston band managers Michael Creamer and Mark Kates.
The night before the Series opener, Major League Baseball threw a private party at friendly Fenway, inviting sponsors and assorted others to wander around the warning track and enjoy a spread of tenderloin, lobster risotto, Brussels sprouts, and kettle corn.
We spied Sox great Luis Tiant, former reliever Mike Timlin, and ex-Bosox backstop Jason Varitek, who was sporting a mockingjay pin on the lapel of his blue suit. (The pin is a symbol of rebellion in “Hunger Games.”)
Holding forth upstairs in the EMC Club were Henry and his wife, Linda Pizzuti, CEO Larry Lucchino and his wife, Stacey, Werner, Sox vice chairman David Ginsberg, and restaurateurs Ed Kane and Garrett Harker.