‘Fenway Fairy Dust’ offers sprinkle of luck for Red Sox, fans; ‘You’ve gotta be sure’
BOSTON Four hours before first pitch at Fenway Park on Sunday, a bright clear Boston morning in late summer, I noticed a woman moving quickly down Yawkey Way nearly empty, at that hour, but for a few scattered peanut hawks and doing something rather unusual.She was scattering fairy dust.MORE: Ranking the 75 best Players Weekend nicknamesI wouldn’t have known it, either, except she was telling everyone she met. Hey. You there. Move out of the way. I’ve got to scatter this fairy dust. And then she’d bend over, shake some dust out of the jar she carried with her, and move on to the next door.I just had to talk to her. How could you not? It turns out her name is Karen Potter of Worcester, Ma s. and she’s one of those people you can’t help but like instantly. Quick, sharp, white-hairedand funny, she was wearing a bright red polo shirt matched with a faded Red Sox cap covered in button after Mike Trout Jersey button of Sox miscellania. What follows is a lightly edited transcript of our entire conversation.Sporting News: So, tell me what you’re doing here at Fenway on this fine Sunday morning. I think I heard something about fairy dust?Karen Porter: I scatter this [she raises a small jar, labeled Fenway Fairy Dust, high up in front of her with the air of one readying for battle] at the openings all around this building. So that anybody who goes in or comes out has this Fenway Fairy Dust on their shoes for good luck.SN: Right. That makes perfect sense.KP: It makes perfect sense to me. And I’ve actually proven this to be correct. One time when a pitcher who shall remain namele s was doing poorly, I happened to have some really good seats near the warning track, and I sprinkled some on. Instantly the game turned around. So I think, you know what, if nothing else is working in the bullpen right now, maybe this will do the trick. So we here [she gestures to another woman younger who's been standing to her left, arms cro sed, with big sungla ses and a bemused smile. Her name is Jackie Walker.] came from out by Worcester this morning to sprinkle.SN: [To Walker] Is this your first time doing the dust?Jackie Walker: Yeah.KP: She drove.JW: That’s all I am, the driver.KP: She’s a good one.MORE: Every MLB team’s worst regular season memory, revisitedSN: How long have you been doing this?KP: About five years, actually.SN: And has it worked every time?KP: It has worked better than not doing it. I won’t say it’s been the only thing that’s worked.SN: So not a true randomized control trial you don’t have a comparison group.KP: No, no, no, this is just HIIIIIIIIII![At this point in the conversation, Karen stops talking and rushed to embrace a woman who's just come up behind her, beaming, and tapped her on the shoulder. This, it turns out, is Sheryl Erwinof Boston.]KP: One of my Facebook friends came out to meet us! She’s part of the She Loves Red Sox group on Facebook, and[Karen pauses again, because she's spotted something. She beckons the group now growing and gathering around her to come in close, and gestures to a young man oblivious to us some 20 feet away. He's maybe 16, fresh Zack Cozart Jersey -faced, in a Red Sox fan services polo shirt and khakis. He's entering Fenway through the club door on Yawkey Way.] KP: See this man, see this man didn’t know it this young man going in over there, he doesn’t know it, but he’s carrying good luck into the park on his shoes.The crowd falls impre sively silent.SN: He’s an accomplice.KP: A known accomplice, yes. An unindictable co-conspirator, as we used to say in the ’60s.SN: [To Walker] What’s your view of all this? Are you convinced?JW: How could I not be convinced? The proof is in the past five years. Is she not convincing you?KP: We actually sent a package of this with a Red Sox flag out to little Maverick [Ed note: Maverick is a 6-year-old boy suffering from a heart defect and lung disease who, the previous year, had come out to Fenway to meet his hero David Ortiz]. I don’t know if he’s gotten it yet, because he’s pretty sick, but he could use a little Fenway Magic too.SN: So what’s in this magic dust?KP: Well, it all started from the original batch. And when that worked, we mix it in with the new batch. If it doesn’t, we chuck it. And it’s got green for hitting, gold for fieldingand silver for pitching. And [she adds, no le s importantly] it’s non-toxic.MORE: Every MLB team’s most devastating postseason memorySN: So did you put Brandon Phillips Jersey extra silver in now because you’re trying to help the bullpen?KP: I think we need bats as much as we need anything else, OK. And I think it will help if they don’t wear those damn jerseys. [Ed note: The Sox had just lost back-to-back games to the Orioles, 16-3 and 7-0, wearing garish Players Weekendjerseys.] I say give Chris Sale back his sci sors. And they should let us pick the nicknames on the back of the jerseys. That would be funny.Sheryl Erwin: [Nodding] That would be wicked funny.KP: [Reflectively] We’re not at chicken and beer yet. This is still really a great season. We’re still up, even though the Yankees won last night. We’re still up. I’m not we just want to be sure. One of my my Facebook friends was laughing at me this morning, and I said, you know, I don’t care if it’s chicken feet and voodoo, holy water, or Fenway Fairy Dust. [Here, her voice rises and elevates like a preacher getting into a rhythm with a congregation.] That stuff is going at the doorways of this ballpark, and if it works it works.SN: You have to, right? It’s baseball. What else would you do?SE: Exactly!KP: Why do you think the pitchers don’t step on the first base line when they return to the dugout? Because you’ve gotta be sure. You’ve gotta be sure.