WGBH News' On Campus reporter Kirk Carapezza doubles as a 'K-Man' at Fenway Park. Here's his story:
Shortly after Game 6 of the World Series starts, my friend Ricky picks up a ‘K’ sign, superstitiously turning it away from the field, preparing to track Red Sox strikeouts at Fenway Park.
"Come on!" he yells, clapping.
When Cardinal Jon Jay’s first at bat ends on a third strike, our job — posting Ks — begins.
My friends and I — the K-Men and Women — occupy just a small patch of concrete perched above centerfield, tucked behind the flag pole, but positioned so that everyone at Fenway can see how many Ks Red Sox pitchers have collected.
The green fence in front of us stretches about 20 feet, leaving enough room to post about 10 blood-red K signs.
When we first started doing this for Pedro Martinez 15 years ago, we were teenagers, and we felt it was a commitment as Pedro racked up the strikeouts game after game. We never missed a Pedro home start for fear of missing history.
And now, after witnessing three World Series wins, after some of us have graduated from college and found jobs, after others have got married and had kids, grown old and retired, posting Ks is still a commitment.
A strikeout at Fenway, we believe, should be posted quickly and accurately. A K sign should never face the field before a strikeout, and a string of Ks should be counted off in Spanish: “Uno. Dos. Tres!”
The other night, the number of strikeouts was light — just five for John Lackey — nothing like when Pedro struck out 17 Yankees at the Stadium in 1999 or 17 Devil Rays at Fenway in 2000.
But after the Red Sox clinched the series with Koji Uehara finishing off the game with a strikeout, we looked around and saw family and friends whooping and hugging. We thought of our parents and grandparents — fans who waited nearly a lifetime to see the Red Sox win just one championship. We’ve now seen three in the past 10 years.
What we’re experiencing must be similar to what it was like for fans in the early 20th century. That’s when the team won in 1915, 1916 and 1918 — the last time the Red Sox won a world series at Fenway.
Watch K-Men Kirk Carapezza and Ryan McCarthy on Greater Boston: