On balance, Eilis O’Neil says Wednesday was a pretty great day.
However, O’Neil wishes she got to see her favorite Red Sox player, Andrew Benintendi. She didn’t — thanks largely to a flying Bud Light, one of many that was thrown, often aimlessly, toward Red Sox by fans as the duck boats rolled through Boston during the World Series victory parade.
O’Neil, a 17-year-old senior at Windham High School in New Hampshire, says she was standing in front of the 7-Eleven near the corner of Tremont and Park streets around 12:15 p.m. when the duck boat with Benintendi arrived. She remembers seeing Brock Holt, who noticed her Benintendi sign and gave her a thumbs up. Then she remembers “a lot of blood” and an unopened Bud Light at her feet.
“At first, I didn’t feel anything,” she said.
The beer can thrown from a fan on the other side of the street had apparently overshot its intended target, sailing over the duck boat, hitting O’Neil in the lip and jaw, and leaving a nasty gash. A friend who was with her even caught the moment on video.
O’Neil says her friend got the attention of a nearby police officer and Boston Emergency Medical Services stopped the parade for her to cross the street and get the wound treated at their station on Boston Common. After a call to the hospital, they determined she wouldn’t need stitches.
“They told me how lucky I was that I didn’t lose any teeth or bite through my lip,” O’Neil said. “My guardian angel was looking out for me apparently.”
Lucky in one sense, at least.
While thankful that the injury wasn’t more serious, O’Neil says she still has a bruised and swollen lip with an additional cut below it.
“The pain is a lot worse today, but nothing that I wasn’t expecting,” she said Thursday.
That physical pain was compounded by the disappointment of missing Benintendi and the rest of the parade as she got medical attention.
The preponderance of beers being thrown to players — whether they were looking for them or not — became more than just a side story Wednesday, after one opened can splashed Red Sox manager Alex Cora and his daughter and another full beer damaged the World Series trophy that the team had won just three days earlier. One fan was arrested for throwing a beer at Cora and at least one other reportedly required medical attention after getting hit in the nose by a can on Tremont Street.
Erin Curran Serino, the deputy chief of staff for Boston EMS, said the department transported 12 people associated with the parade to local hospitals with minor injuries or illnesses, but couldn’t disclose the nature or cause of the injuries due to patient privacy laws.
Boston police reminded attendees that public drinking remained illegal, but conceded Thursday that there wasn’t much they could do to effectively address the widespread consumption and beer-throwing in such a large crowd. Boston Police Commission William Gross thanked “the large majority of fans” at the parade for celebrating “in a respectful and responsible manner.” Six arrests were made during the parade, three of which were for drinking or throwing alcohol.
“I get that they won and all, but it’s completely ridiculous,” O’Neil said of the beer-throwing.
O’Neil says she doesn’t know who threw the can or what happened to them, but would like to find out so she could “show them what they caused.” All that said, the diehard Red Sox fan is at least happy that Holt saw her and her sign.
“It was the best day ever,” O’Neil said, “despite being hit and basically missing the whole parade.”