Baseball is never beholden to a clock! Well, that went out the window at Fenway Park Wednesday afternoon.
McDonough had been one of the three voices for the Red Sox radio broadcast along with Joe Castiglione and Lou Merloni for much of the day. But once the end of the seventh inning hit he now became the voice of the fan.
On this afternoon, the Red Sox had 2 hours, 30 minutes or so to close this thing out. Non-negotiable.
"I was going to give them until 6:30 p.m. but that was it," said Jim Byrne while walking out of Fenway Park in his hockey-dominated wardrobe. "The Bruins take priority."
Byrne commitment was next-level, having flown up from Virginia to experience both the baseball game and Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final in person. The financial commitment for tickets would be motivation for anyone to make sure not a minute of action at the TD Garden was missed.
But for others flooding out of the gates of Fenway during the eighth inning of what had become a nail-biter, this was about the priority of getting home or to a local establishment in order to properly shift focus.
"We got to get home for the game," said Jamie Thynne, who was swiftly exiting Jersey St. with her husband and two young boys.
"We were waiting until the 7th/8th inning-ish, before the bars got too crowded," explained Christian Catalano. "as soon as they tied it up I was like, 'OK, this might go for a while. Let's go." Added Catalano's buddy Chris Guilherne, "We had some beers, and now we're going to have some more beers."
"With Texas coming up if I’m going to stay for this half inning I have to stay for the Red Sox half inning," said John Lennon (yes, his name was John Lennon). "Bruins are more important to me."
Then there those who stayed, although doing so with a good chunk of their attention elsewhere. Such as Danielle Priest and Brooke Pelley who resisted the urge to get a good seat at The Fours to siphon another half-hour or so at Fenway. "We are staying no matter what!" exclaimed Pelley.
There was perhaps no better representative of those trying to morph the excitement of a Game 7 across town with Game No. 69 of the Red Sox' season than Matthew Waugh.
The Dorchester resident separated himself from the Fenway crowd starting in the middle innings, standing from his seat a few rows up from the Red Sox' on-deck circle, turning toward those in back and front and chanting, "We want the Cup!" The lack of commitment from those around him didn't deter Waugh. If he was going to stay for the entirety of this game there was going to be a proper preview of what was undeniably this day's main event.
"Nobody wanted in on it," said Waugh, who donned a road Red Sox jersey and backward Bruins cap. "Just trying to get everybody fired up ... We want the Cup!"
As it turned out, there would be time for the Boston sports fandom to have proper time to shift focus, with the Red Sox' victory coming to a close at 6:59 p.m. Alex Cora, who did have tickets, finished his postgame media session at 7:14 p.m., and most of the players were on their way a good 30 minutes before the scheduled puck drop at 8:20 p.m. (Although the Red Sox players viewing method of choice wasn't going to the game, but spending the decisive game with their friends and family. Brock Holt, for instance, was looking forward to taking it in with his young son, Griff. Tickets even for these guys were also tough, with a suite going for approximately $45,000.)
For almost everyone, this was not your normal day at Fenway Park. ALMOST everyone. The folks delivering the donuts to the press box didn't get the message about the Game 7-induced time change, coming in when everyone was going out.
The rhythm of baseball took a backseat Wednesday. It was a nice change of pace ... until reality (and the scoreboard) kicked in.