What's in a name? Baby Fenway will have quite a story
Someday, Mike and Kelly Xiarhos will tell their child about the time they went to the World Series at Fenway Park. They’ll talk about the crowd going crazy, Lester twirling a gem, Napoli breaking the game open, Big Papi blasting a home run over the bullpen.
And they’ll say thank you.
And maybe apologize.
Sorry, Baby Fenway, but it was worth it.
“We’ll make a lot of sacrifices for the baby so this is one for us,” Kelly said with a laugh. “The baby will understand.”
If the baby is anything like Mike and Kelly, then yes, he or she will certainly understand.
Mike and Kelly are both teachers at Pilgrim, and they’re diehard Red Sox fans. Their wedding week last year included two games at Fenway. They’ve been to 13 games this season. Kelly told Mike she was pregnant by giving him a Red Sox onesie.
And last week, presented with the chance to win World Series tickets, Kelly pulled the Twitter trigger on their craziest moment of Red Sox fandom yet.
“Baby is due in February,” she wrote, “has been to 13 games this season! All wins!!! if we win these tix then the name is Fenway.”
The tweet was part of a social media contest. Through their official Twitter account, the Red Sox had posed the question: Why do you deserve World Series tickets?
You’re such a fan that you’ll name your baby Fenway?
Kelly and Mike were off to Boston.
“It was crazy,” Mike said. “I had her phone because she was in class and when we got the official word, my heart kind of stopped.”
Mike heard about the contest during lunch on Wednesday, Oct. 23. With the World Series set to start that night, the Red Sox had three tickets to give away. Mike thought he had the perfect response. He has partial season tickets, and every time he and Kelly went this season, the Red Sox won. They were 10-for-10 in the regular season, one-for-one in the division series and two-for-two in the ALCS.
Mike stopped in Kelly’s classroom on his way back from lunch and told her about his tweet.
“I said, ‘That’s not going to win us tickets,’” Kelly said.
She had a better idea.
They’d already been thinking about a Red Sox-themed name. With a last name starting in X, they had the idea of getting the initials to be S.O.X. They were open to other possibilities, too.
“It was a chance to go to the World Series,” Kelly said. “It’s almost once in a lifetime. It’s bucket list material.”
They went for it. With the contest deadline fast approaching, they still had to get 25 retweets to be eligible, but a class full of social media-savvy high school students made sure that was no problem.
“We told all the kids to take out their phones, and they were like, ‘Is this a trick?’” Kelly said. “They’re not supposed to have their phones in class, but I said ‘Just this once.’”
The tweet got the necessary number and soon after, the Red Sox were reaching out. Baby Fenway was the winner.
“We were pretty excited,” Mike said.
Mike, the girls’ cross country coach, still had to run practice. Kelly is the yearbook adviser and had a meeting. They got out as quickly as they could and headed north, along with Mike’s brother. They met a Red Sox representative outside, took photos with the tickets and headed in.
The Red Sox stormed to an 8-1 victory. Mike, Kelly – and baby Fenway – were still undefeated, with the most memorable win yet.
“We were just so happy to be there,” Kelly said. “It was awesome.”
The only negative was a backlash on Twitter from some sore contest losers, who thought they deserved the tickets more. Teachers to the core, Mike and Kelly used it as a cyber-bullying lesson for their students.
“Because it was us, the kids were all fired up, saying ‘They can’t do that to you,’” Kelly said. “But kids do that kind of stuff on Twitter all the time, so it was a good teachable moment.”
And social media aside, they still have the memory, the victory – and the name. That’s the thing everybody asks about.
“Now that it’s out there,” Mike said, “it’s like, ‘Do I really have to name my kid Fenway?’”
Technically, they don’t – there’s nothing binding in a Twitter contest – but in good Red Sox fan faith, Mike and Kelly are thinking they’ll at least use Fenway as a middle name. And who knows? They haven’t ruled out going all in.
“I’m more okay with the middle name. I think Kelly’s okay with either so I might have to rein her in on that,” Mike said with a laugh. “We’ll see.”
Either way, they’ll have quite a story to tell.
And come February, they’ll have a baby who’s already a card-carrying member of Red Sox nation.
“The baby will be a Red Sox fan,” Mike said. “If not, they’re going to be stuck with a weird name.”
William Geoghegan is the sports editor at the Warwick Beacon. He can be reached at 732-3100 and firstname.lastname@example.org.