Where did the Red Sox get the karma needed for this afternoon's 12-2 shellacking of the Rays in their ALDS opener at packed Fenway Park? For the answer, we take you to a scene that unfolded at a much quieter Fenway during Boston's intra-squad scrimmage on Wednesday.
Lynne Smith was walking by the first-base dugout when she heard a familiar voice shout out to her:
"Hey, woman, get over here!"
Flashing his famous grin, David Ortiz took Smith and enveloped her in a bear hug befitting a walk-off homer. Big Papi has a soft spot in his heart for the grandmother from Wellesley, Mass., who lays claim to being the world's biggest Sox fan -- and has the plaque to prove it.
On this occasion, Ortiz was excited to see not only Smith but also what she was wearing. Just as manager John Farrell had set up his pitching staff for the playoffs, Smith made her own preparations for Boston's first postseason series in four years.
Know throughout Red Sox Nation as the "Fenway Park Hat Lady," she unveiled a new headpiece for Game 1. It is covered with photos of each member of the current roster, along with a prominent "Boston Strong" emblem honoring the victims and first responders of the Boston Marathon bombings . If anybody on the Sox gets hurt and needs a replacement, the ever-resourceful Smith will be ready to swap a new picture into place.
Lynne's latest -- Boston Strong indeed.
There certainly wasn't the case today. As Smith and her family watched on, the Red Sox scored five runs in the fourth inning aided by various Tampa Bay miscues. The outburst erase a 2-0 deficit, and when Boston added three more in the fifth the rout was on.
Smith is no newcomer to postseason excitement. She's been on hand for most of the big Red Sox moments since the 1980s, and was given the inaugural Lib Dooley Award last year as the Red Sox' greatest living fan -- named for the famed front-row devotee who saw more than 4,000 straight games at the Fens.
As the photos of her in various books and magazine articles can attest, Smith is most famous for the hat that led to her nickname. It is a miniature replica of the famous ballpark on Yawkey Way, complete with a diamond, Green Monster, Jimmy Fund billboard, and even a working Citgo sign.
Fenway Hat (daytime mode)
Fenway Hat (nighttime mode)
Here's a shot of Lynne getting her Lib Dooley Award at Fenway last year, from none other than Big Papi himself, as Lynne and Lib's families both looked on.
Smith has made her fashion statements through the years with the help of various friends. The late great dressmaker Terry Ramriez sewed the original Fenway hat, which was created for the 1999 All-Star Game and features a mini helmet from every major league team. The coat she's wearing in the shot above was made to honor Fenway Park's 100th anniversary, and has something symbolizing every season of the ballpark's first century.
Either patches, for championship seasons...
Or, for non-title years, a mini photo of a player from that season's club...
It's not just what Lynne wears to the games that defines her dedication, however. Her family room, study, and even bathroom at home are dedicated to all things Red Sox. Here are some samples...
The guitar is signed by the 2004 champs
A coffee table match-up with New York
More Wallys than I could count
Tickets from games gone by.
A Fenway brick honoring her family
...and many, many pics of the family at Fenway.
How, you may ask, does Lynne spend her off days? Well, this superfan is always keeping track of the roster, and if a move is made she is ready to not only update her hat -- but also her new end table.
Yup, that's the full 25-man roster...
...and those are the guys awaiting their call.
So worry not, Red Sox fans. Even if the Rays manage to take one at Fenway and even the series, there is always hope as long as The Fenway Hat Lady is watching.