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The CARETAKERS
Interviews by Elizabeth McGarr
November 24, 2011
BEHIND THE SCENES AND IN THE STANDS, BEFORE GAMES AND DURING THEM, IS A WORLD OF PEOPLE WHO KEEP FENWAY SPARKLING—AND KEEP ITS SPIRIT ALIVE
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November 24, 2011

The Caretakers

BEHIND THE SCENES AND IN THE STANDS, BEFORE GAMES AND DURING THEM, IS A WORLD OF PEOPLE WHO KEEP FENWAY SPARKLING—AND KEEP ITS SPIRIT ALIVE

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Our summer home is Fenway. We probably go to between 50 and 60 games per year, and we sit in the grandstand on the first base side. If there's a little kid sitting behind me, I'll switch seats with my husband. I never let anybody wear my hat except my granddaughters, but we were at a game once, and there was a young girl there who had cancer, and she said, "Oh, I really like your hat." I let her wear the hat, and her father took a picture. We're also trying to go to all the ballparks. We've been to 23 ballparks. I wear the hat everywhere except for Yankee Stadium.

It's very funny when I go through security at the airport. First they think it's a cake. Then they have to wipe it down to see if there are any bomb materials in there because it does have batteries in it. Because the hat is so different, people always ask if they can have their picture taken with me. My husband, Gary, and I think that over the years I've had my picture taken with people between 5,000 and 7,000 times. Once my son Charley was playing in a softball tournament in Virginia, and some other kid said, "I grew up in Boston and I go to Fenway Park occasionally." Charley said, "Maybe you've seen my mother—she has a Fenway hat." The kid goes to his iPhone and scrolls down and says, "Is this your mother?"

FACES OF FENWAY

JOHN MCDERMOTT Security Supervisor 1978--present

THE FIRST 15 YEARS I WORKED AT FENWAY, I handled the complimentary ticket window for the players and the front office. I got to meet Ted Williams, a man I grew up idolizing. He was bigger than life, but he was still a regular person. The place I was working was where his parking pass was located. I got to go out and give that to him and introduce myself to him. He never forgot people, and I met him a number of times after.

For the past 10 years I have been a security supervisor. The thing that's made the job the easiest was winning the World Series in 2004. That little edge that was there, waiting for the shoe to drop, as it were—that was gone. The whole atmosphere and feeling changed at the ballpark.

We have not clinched the World Series at home. In all honesty that hasn't disappointed me. Our fans are wonderful, but you never know what possibly could happen. It would be an extremely vigilant time for us. Expect anything. We've won playoff series, and it's gone off without a hitch.

I taught English in Boston secondary schools for 36 years, and I retired in 2004. That just happened to be the time that we broke the curse. Had I known it was that simple, I would have retired in 1999. Since I had retired, I had the time to work a lot more events in '04 and a bunch of the World Series trophy tour. You had to have a certain number of hours by the end of November, and at that time you were considered full-time and you were put on the list to get a World Series ring. We received [ours] on June 5, 2005, in a little ceremony at Fenway. They took a picture in front of the Monster. It was just an amazing experience.

Only at Fenway can the Red Sox be losing in the bottom of the ninth with two outs and everyone is on their feet screaming. The final pitch of every game, you've got at least 36,000 people standing, and they're loud. Red Sox fans are a special breed. They live and die by the Sox, and that's a good thing.

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