FENWAY PARK - Danny Ainge wasn't kidding about the Red Sox hat collection. Kevin Garnett really has one, and he's really a passionate Red Sox fan. So he was pretty thrilled to get a chance to hang out with David Ortiz, Curt Schilling, Manny Ramirez, Coco Crisp and the boys Wednesday night before throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at Fenway Park.
Kevin Garnett joins David Ortiz as the newest star in the Boston sports landscape after arriving in a blockbuster trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Keith Sliney / Boston Celtics
After warnings from Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and scores of others in the Celtics organization not to bounce his throw, you'd think he would have been nervous taking the hill to a standing ovation before the Sox-Orioles game.
Truthfully, his windup and lob delivery was nothing Tom Emansky would film for an instructional video, but Garnett managed to get the delivery to his old friend from Minnesota, David Ortiz, without hitting the ground. The effort earned a nice ovation and a bearhug from Papi. After the brief ceremony, Garnett disappeared into the Red Sox dugout, down a few hallways, ducking under random pipes in the bowels of a ballpark that was never intended to house seven footers, and squeezed into an elevator to head for a private suite.
"Man, I need to get some ice," Garnett joked, rubbing his right shoulder down in the elevator. "I wasn't nervous, or afraid, just anxious."
Clad in his new Red Sox #5 jersey, Garnett was glued to the game, taking only brief interruptions to meet Larry Lucchino and Carlton Fisk, who stopped by the box to say hello. Lucchino asked Garnett if he really was a Sox fan, and Garnett guaranteed him that he wouldn't be caught dead wearing any Yankees paraphernalia. And while Garnett talked about his Red Sox hat collection, he was excited to see with what Lucchino might be able to hook him up.
"You've probably got some stuff I've never even seen before," Garnett said.
Later, when Fisk stopped by, Pudge gave Garnett a quick history lesson on the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry days of yore, and also gave him a quick Boston accent lesson, teaching him the proper way to pronounce "chow-dah." Minutes later, the Red Sox sent enough for the whole suite.
After Fisk departed, Garnett was back into the game, warning fans in the adjacent box to look out for foul balls. He played the role of extremely animated fan who often had his arms up in the air, he shouted words of encouragement out the window to Ortiz from above. "Take that thing over the wall, David!"
When Ortiz's RBI double off the Monster gave the Red Sox the lead in their seventh inning rally, Garnett sprang out of his chair, "That's what's I'm talking about, Papi!"
KG couldn't stay for the entire game, but was told that he couldn't leave until he'd experienced the eighth inning Sweet Caroline sing-a-long. He hasn't quite mastered all of the lyrics, but apparently the song stuck with him; Garnett was whistling the tune on his way to the elevator as he made his way out of the ballpark.
"I've just got to learn the hook," Garnett said in the elevator before breaking into song. "Touching me, touch-ing you..."
Just one day in town, he's already touched Boston and Boston has touched him. After a sampling of chowder, a meet and greet and Boston accent lesson with Pudge and a night in the private suite, Garnett's already learning how to fit in here in Boston. And the electric standing 'O' during his Fenway introduction said it all. The KG love affair is already on.
Good times never seemed so good.
Peter Stringer covers the team for Celtics.com. You can send him .