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Red Sox Fans Find Banner Proclaiming Their Team The 2018 American League East Champs

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Timing is everything. Baseball fans know from the swing of a bat to the catch of a ball, each second, each centimeter matter.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Well, timing was key for some Red Sox fans this week driving down the road in Massachusetts. We're going to let Louie Iacuzzi and his friend James Amaral pick it up from here.

LOUIE IACUZZI: We have our coffee. We're on - we're driving on McGrath Highway in Somerville. And I noticed a couple cars swinging, like, moving to the right. And we seen something in the street.

KELLY: What they saw, as they told The Boston Globe, was a banner proclaiming the Red Sox the 2018 American League East champs.

IACUZZI: First thing I said - this belongs to the Red Sox.

JAMES AMARAL: Yeah.

IACUZZI: This is for Fenway Park.

AMARAL: Yeah.

IACUZZI: Like, how do we have this? Like, nobody made this. This belongs to the park. I'm thinking that they're hanging it off the Green Monster.

SHAPIRO: The Green Monster is the beloved wall that towers over left field in Fenway Park. So before we tell you what happened to the banner, we need to point out that while the Red Sox are very close to becoming the American League East champs, they haven't actually won the title yet.

KELLY: Not yet. Nevertheless, the pair of friends knew they had a gem on their hands, and they saw an opportunity.

IACUZZI: We want to give it back to them because it belongs to them.

AMARAL: Yeah.

IACUZZI: And it doesn't belong to us. But in reciprocation, we would like, you know, maybe to go...

AMARAL: Yeah.

IACUZZI: ...To a nice playoff game or...

AMARAL: Yes.

IACUZZI: We were looking for something. We just don't want to hand it over.

SHAPIRO: Because, hey, when you think about it, retrieving a giant banner from the middle of a highway isn't that easy.

IACUZZI: Right, no, no.

AMARAL: I mean, handing it off...

IACUZZI: We need to negotiate here.

AMARAL: Yeah.

IACUZZI: We want - we're looking for, like, you know...

AMARAL: We're working, too.

IACUZZI: Yeah.

AMARAL: I mean, my man had to run across three lanes of traffic.

KELLY: Well, in the end, they did hand it over. But it seems they haven't been promised tickets to the playoffs. And speaking of making it to the playoffs, yes, the Red Sox will be there. But they can't wave the flag yet. Tonight could be the night.

SHAPIRO: Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will face the Yankees' Masahiro Tanaka when the Red Sox play in the Bronx. If the Sox win, they will be champs as that banner proclaims.

KELLY: Either way, Yankees fans have other ideas about where the Red Sox can stick that banner. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.