ORANJESTAD — On Wednesday evening, the opening of the 2013 World Series resulted in a frenzy of activity at nearly all of Aruba’s sports bars, and vacationing New Englanders and Arubans sat shoulder to shoulder to root for their favorite team, Boston Red Sox.
Buster’s Garage is a particularly popular spot for catching the game, where three giant screens allow patrons to follow all the action. More than a dozen more are carrying other important sports events to fill in those slack moments when commercials air.
There were plenty of Boston shirts to be seen, many emblazoned with the magical number 72 and the name of the player that has elicited such keen interest among islanders for this year’s championship game: Xander Bogaerts.
Xander’s incredible rise from the Minors to be one of the youngest starters in the history of the World Series, as well as the first Aruban to play in the finals, has electrified the island, infecting everyone with “World Series Fever.”
Many of the vacationers joining locals at Buster’s Garage for the first game were long time visitors, such as Dan and Jane, who have been “Die Hard Aruba Lovers” for 32 years.
Dan had his Bogaerts tee-shirt custom made to pay tribute to the player from his favorite island.
Joe from Boston reports he found his Bogaerts shirt at a Marshall’s store near where he lives. He and wife Cheryl have been vacationing on Aruba regularly since 1984.
Honeymooner Michelle was sporting a customized, feminine version of a Red Sox tee, but her husband Scott refused to wear any sort of logo gear, concerned he would “jinx” his favorite baseball team. “The last and only time I ever wore something like that was to the Superbowl when New England Patriots played against the underdog Giants a couple of years ago, and we all know what happened then. So, never again!”
Boston did not disappoint their fans during the opening game of the World Series, putting three runs on the board during the first inning and another two during the second. Sports writers castigated the spiffy, clean-cut Cardinals for an amateurish performance, while the Red Sox, nearly every player sporting a bushy beard, which is a championship playoff ritual, trampled the St. Louis team.
Boston’s starting pitcher John Lester was masterful, not allowing a single run until they retired him in the eighth inning to a standing ovation, not only at Fenway Park, but Buster’s Garage. The game would have been a shutout, with Boston leading in the ninth inning 8-0 but St. Louis Left Fielder Matt Holliday sent a center field home run soaring into the bleachers against Boston’s relief pitcher Ryan Dempster, to put them on the scoreboard.
By the top of the ninth “The game was on its way to being the most lopsided World Series opener since 2007, when the Red Sox beat the Colorado Rockies, 13-1, to start a sweep,” cites sports writer Jesse Spector. “The most recent shutout by eight or more runs? That would be 1982, when the Cardinals lost, 10-0, to the Milwaukee Brewers. St. Louis wound up winning that series in seven games.”
The Cardinal’s pitchers gave little opportunity for Aruba’s native son, Xander, to show off his power hitting. He struck out his first time at bat, and was walked twice. Xander did make a smooth play to tag out St. Louis First Baseman Matthew Adams in the seventh inning. His long pop fly allowed Boston to bring steal the final run.
Veteran Boston hitter David “Papi” Ortiz hit his 16th career post season game homerun in the seventh inning to bring the score to 7-0. However, most experts analyzing the game can only call it a “comedy of errors” on the part of the Cardinals, which proved tragic for their fans.
Exciting baseball action will continue through the playoffs at Buster’s Garage, which is featuring beer bucket specials as long as championships last. The lively atmosphere and regular attendance of some hardcore Boston fans makes it a great place to watch the game.
By Rosalie Klein