Francona’s Fleece Rings in Holidays

1197564899Last night, Boston Daily took a short walk over to Symphony Hall to attend the 24th annual A Company Christmas at Pops. The event served two purposes—it raised almost $1 million for the Pops, and brought in 200 children who otherwise wouldn’t have seen the popular holiday concert. We didn’t see any fistfights or misbehaving children, but we did see some easily excitable adults.

The evening began with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in the packed Hatch Room. Harried caterers ran the slalom course of white-haired women in tasteful dresses and groups of young businessmen talking about football. After using their drink tickets, concertgoers filtered into the concert hall to enjoy their boxed dinners. The tiny tables with five chairs circling them were impossible to eat on, so consuming the individually-packaged courses was like eating on the world’s prettiest airplane.

After we finished our meal, we saw former Channel 5 anchor Natalie Jacobson greeting a slew of admirers. She told us her new multimedia venture is going along nicely, but that she won’t launch it until she’s ready. Finally, the lights flickered and we took our seat for the show.

Keith Lockhart bounded to the front of the stage wearing a suit with a bright red shirt, leading the orchestra in “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” Oladunni Oladipo, a 9-year-old from Milton, sang “Go Tell it on the Mountain” and got a standing ovation. A jovial Ronan Tynan came out to boos after wearing a Yankees Santa hat, but got raucous applause when he revealed a Sox hat underneath. Rudy Giuliani isn’t the only Yankees fan in a hurry to root for a winner.

1197564906The crowd, relaxed by the Irish tenor’s banter and their cocktails, completely lost its mind when Terry Francona emerged on the stage with the 2007 World Series trophy. The businessmen jumped up and double-high-fived each other like frat boys. Francona loved the energy, grinning widely to the applause as he started to read “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.” We detected a bit of hesitation by the skipper as the read “the breast of the new-fallen snow” line, but the businessmen were too excited by the gleam of the trophy and Tito’s head to notice.

(Note to Bob Watson: Notice that Francona is wearing his trademark death-preventing fleece in Symphony Hall. If it’s good enough for this venerable institution, why can’t you accept it?)

Once the coach left the stage, World Series trophy in hand, the corporate types regained their composure. Left breathless after their cheering for the Sox, they collected their belongings and started to filter out before the show-ending sing-along. It’s unclear whether their smiles were due to the magic of the holiday season or the baseball season, but everybody left grinning like a kid on Christmas.