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A Sox star graciously faces his 'Nation'

Baseball season is upon us. Last year "our" boys, the Boston Red Sox, finally brought home the championship after a long, 84-year wait. They will receive their World Series rings Monday at a home game against their archrivals, the New York Yankees. In March 2004, I was assigned to photograph spring training in Florida, which turned out to be the beginning of the Red Sox' triumphant ride. After each preseason game, fans lined up around the perimeter fence waiting for players to emerge - a scene of Americana at its best. Some players habitually stopped to chat and sign autographs. Others drove off in fancy cars with nary a backward glance. Red Sox first baseman Kevin Millar has a well-deserved reputation for being fan-friendly, but on this particular day he'd ridden his Harley Davidson motorcycle to the field. Would he stop if he didn't have a big automobile to protect him from an adoring crowd? He would, he did, and he was immediately surrounded. But he signed every baseball, T-shirt, hat, and piece of paper handed to him. That's my kind of ballplayer.