Boston Red Sox fans are some of the most hard-core in the country, and as the team heads back to Fenway Park with a 3-2 edge over the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series, police and fans are preparing for the high potential of riots on the streets of Boston and across New England -- whether or not the team pulls off a series win.
The Red Sox have a full count against the Cardinals, and one more win Wednesday or Thursday night would make Boston the 2013 champions. And the fact that the rest of the series will take place at the Fen just means that Boston, a baseball town if there ever was one, will be pumped with even more high energy than usual.
Fans have already mentioned online that they plan to riot in Boston and at a number of New England towns and colleges on whichever night the World Series ends, and police are being proactive in planning for it, asking residents and fans to instead be responsible and not take to the streets, though that may be a fool's errand at best.
The Boston Police Department will have extra patrols on duty in the areas surrounding Fenway Park and other key parts of Boston from Faneuil Hall to North Station following this week's games, the Associated Press reported, and the city issued a press release on Tuesday warning residents about parking restrictions it described as "a necessary part of the Boston Police Department’s public safety plan designed to provide a safe environment for residents and visitors alike."
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Boston police Superintendent-in-Chief Daniel Linskey held a press coference last week during which he discussed the city's plans further, saying that Boston's approach to post-game celebrations has been amended to be less confrontational than in year's past, but that the Boston Marathon bombing earlier this year drove home the importance of ensuring that there's a strong security regime in place before, during and after the games, the Boston Globe reported.
“We used to put our equipment on and show people we were ready for a fight,” Linskey told the Globe adding that now “we want to show that we’re ready for a celebration."
Despite the urgings of city officials, Boston residents started taking to Twitter on Tuesday to voice their excitement over the riots they intend to participate in this week.
"I still hate the sox just want them to win so I can riot in Boston," Twitter user Mike Hersey posted on the social media site.
Twitter user @DextahGOD announced his plans for rioting early, tweeting the following on Sunday: "I'm all for sox winning sooner rather than later BUT a game 7 win in Boston on Halloween WE RIOT."
And if Twitter user @TyrainMusic's predictions prove true, there may be riots in Boston even if the Red Sox lose. "If the Red Sox don't win the World Series ...Boston will probably riot for a week straight," he tweeted on Friday.
The area Boston is not the only part of New England bracing for potential major disturbances after the World Series ends, as police departments across the region are asking residents to be safe this week.
In remarks similar to those of law enforcement officials in towns from Maine to Connecticut, Durham, N.H.'s Police Chief David Kurz issued the following plea for peace among the University of New Hampshire's more than 14,000 students: "Don’t go over the edge with celebrations so it doesn’t become destructive or criminal,” according to the Foster's Daily Democrat newspaper. He also sent a letter to landlords asking them to remove flammable materials, empty trash cans, lawn furniture and other items from their yards and building exteriors that could be targeted by rioters.
As home to the more than 25,000 students enrolled at the University of Massachusetts, officials in Amherst, Mass., are readying for riots, which are practically inevitable at the school, given its history of boisterous celebrations following the 2004 and 2007 World Series wins as well as championship wins by the Boston Celtics, Boston Bruins and New England Patriots.
The school will hand out free food and host low-key activities outside a key collection of UMass dormitories in an effort to keep kids from partying too hard following this week's games. The school hopes to avoid a repeat of incidents like those that followed the school's loss in a championship football game, during which it took three hours for police, who were struck by thrown beer cans and trash cans, to stop about 2,000 students from breaking windows, looting and lighting fires, resulting in more than 12 arrests, according to the Daily Hampshire Gazette.
In 2006, following a UMass football loss in a championship game, around 2,000 students surged into the Southwest plaza, with police spending three hours bringing the revelers under control while being hit with beer cans, water bottles and flattened trash cans. Building windows were broken, some looting took place and some fires were set. More than a dozen students were arrested.
"We’ve really come a long way in terms of managing these events,” UMass spokesman Edward Blaguszewski told the Gazette. “We feel we’re in a much better place than we were years ago.”
But many UMass students appear to be undeterred by the school's efforts to minimize rioting and unruly behavior, as Twitter revealed Tuesday.
"Not sure if Im more excited for the sox to win or for an excuse to riot.... #umassproblems," Umass student Robbie Logue posted.
"Realizing how big the Umass riot will be if the sox win it Thursday," UMass student Nathaniel Bautz tweeted.
In 2004, when the Sox finally broke the "Curse of the Bambino," by winning their first World Series in 86 years, the town was turned upside down by riots, which was marred by the death of 21-year-old Emerson College student Victoria Snelgrove after she was hit in the eye by a pepper spray-dispersing police projectile.
Here's a video that captures some of the insanity that gripped the Massachusetts capital after Boston's 2004 World Series win:
And in 2007, when Boston again took home the World Series Trophy, fans took to the street to riot once more, causing thousands of dollars of damage in the process.
Here's a video taken on the streets of Boston after the 2007 World Series:
Game 6 of the World Series will take place Wednesday evening at Fenway Park in Boston, and Game 7, if necessary, will take place on Thursday evening.