LEWISTON – At first there was disbelief. Nobody could believe the Red Sox had just won the World Series.

“What do I do? What do I do with myself?” screamed 25-year-old Derek LeClerc, as he handed out a series of high fives and body-slammed a buddy. “I’m in shock. I’m in a daze. I just can’t believe it.”

At long last, the screams that rose up across the Twin Cities were out of jubilation rather than anguish. Fists were pumped in the air not in pain but in victory. Decades of heartbreak and sorrow ended when the Red Sox made the last out just before midnight. The World Series officially belonged to Boston and their long-suffering fans.

“I think I’m going to have a heart attack,” said 27-year-old Jason Nadeau. “I’ve waited so long for this. Wow! It’s just amazing.”

The roar of joy and relief at Midnight Blues in Auburn thundered across the bar as the game came to an official end. Sox fans not old enough to remember the heartbreak of 1986 screamed and shouted with older people with long histories of agony.

“I remember when the Red Sox lost in 1967. I was 10 years old,” said Joe Dunn, 47. “It was the most depressing day of my life. This … This is incredible.”

“They broke my heart when I was a kid,” said one man who was nearly delirious as the Sox swarmed the field. “I never thought I’d see this.”

After a heart-thumping series against the Yankees, the Red Sox breezed through the World Series without much drama. Still, fans across the Twin Cities sat on the edges of their seats until the final out.

“I’ve watched 140 games this year,” said 23-year-old Myles Gray of Auburn. “I didn’t think they’d be here. I never thought I’d see it.”

Shock did not fade quickly, even after the Red Sox jumped into a heap on the field. After all the last-minute losses and late-inning chokes, nobody seemed able to believe what had unfolded before their eyes.

“I don’t know whether to celebrate,” said LeClerc, “or count my fingers. This is a definite pinch-me moment.”

Across the Androscoggin River, a smaller group of people huddled around a huge television in the quad at Bates College. It was chilly outside and groups of people pressed close.

“My father lived in Boston and he rose me to be a Red Sox fan,” said Kelly Turnpin, 19, a student from New Hampshire. “Even when they were down three games to none, I knew they were going to win it all.”

At Midnight Blues and other clubs around the area, the celebrations were going on long after midnight. Police locally did not see any immediate spikes in crime or mayhem as a result of the Sox victory. In fact, the success of the team has had a positive impact on crime since the playoffs began.

“Every time there’s been a night game on, it’s been really quiet,” said Lewiston police Sgt. David St. Pierre. “I think people have been staying home and enjoying it. Everyone has been good all through the series.”

After the game ended, what started out at Bates as a few scattered screams, audible for blocks, ended in a small but feisty gathering of college students chanting the praises of the Red Sox.

Two male students hauled a metal trash can out of their dormitory near the football field and piled it full of bright yellow leaves. In the darkness, a flicker of light shot out from the hand of one of the students, and soon the pile of leaves was ablaze.

Slowly, students started to gather, some running from four and five blocks away, intermittently chanting “Let’s go Red Sox!”

One group of students assembled on a large patch of grass that used to be the school’s tennis courts, one muttering to another, “I don’t know what this is all about, but this is cool.”

Video cameras rolled in the hands of some students, while others held water bottles and coffee mugs. Many of the revelers showed up in pajama pants and T-shirts, most of which bore Red Sox symbols.

After about five minutes of fire and smoke pouring into the night air, campus security arrived and started to disband the crowd. One security guard appeared from a nearby building with a fire extinguisher and started to work on the trash can while students protested mildly. In another five minutes the crowd was reduced to pockets of five or six friends scattered about, as students slowly left the scene.

By early this morning, Sox fans throughout the Lewiston-Auburn area were gathering themselves and trying to convince themselves it was not all a dream. Boston had won the World Series. There were no more chokes to worry about.

“I still don’t know what to do with myself,” LeClerc said. “It’s going to take a long time to come down from this.”

Staff writer Justin Pelletier contributed to this report.


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