Posted: Apr. 1, 2014 10:48 am Updated: Apr. 15, 2014 11:14 am
By ANDRES MARTINEZ
Herald-Whig Sports Writer
When Cody Anderson arrived at the Quincy High School baseball field for Monday's game against Springfield Southeast, he saw his mother, Julie, and his fiancee, Shannon Armitage, were in attendance.
Anderson, an assistant coach for the Blue Devils, assumed they were surprising him by finally coming to watch one of his team's games.
"I thought maybe they were actually just here to support me and watch me coach," Anderson said with a laugh.
"I told Shannon that Cody was going to get a special award at the game, and I would just pick her up and run out there," Julie said.
The surprise Anderson's mom had planned for him and his fiancee was bigger than anything he would have expected.
Anderson, 26, and Armitage, 27, had made plans to get married Friday outside Fenway Park before the Boston Red Sox's home opener against the Milwaukee Brewers. However, Julie learned Monday afternoon that a friend had made arrangements to allow the couple to get married in the right field upper deck inside the park at 9 a.m. Friday.
Cody, who also serves as an assistant coach for the Quincy Gems during the summer, learned about his mother's handiwork via a phone call from the Red Sox that he took in the dugout before Monday's game at the QHS field.
"We both had no idea that was coming," Cody said.
Cody had told his fiancee, a native of Southwick, Mass., after the Red Sox won the World Series last year that they should get married on before his favorite team's season opener. His uniform number (and favorite number) is 4, and the home opener will be played on April 4, 2014, or 4-4-14. The couple planned to get married outside the stadium next to the Carl Yastrzemski statue. Yastrzemski was the favorite player of Cody's father, Stan, who died in October 2011.
"Stan had always been a lifelong Red Sox fan, which meant everybody in our house was a Red Sox fan," Julie said. "Stan took Cody out to Boston for Cody's 21st birthday, and before Stan died, they always talked about going back to Boston."
Julie was in contact in January with Teri Flynn, a former teammate on Sheridan Swim Club teams in the 1970s and a Quincy High School graduate who is a former ESPN/ABC Sports executive and now works for the Television Sports division of Mayhem Pictures, a film production company. Julie told Flynn about Cody’s marriage plans. Flynn contacted Charles Steinberg, executive vice president and senior adviser to team president Larry Lucchino, who along with Red Sox owner John Henry (who was born in Quincy) helped arrange for the wedding to take place inside the stadium.
Julie didn't know the plans had been finalized until 2:15 p.m. Monday. She kept all the info from her son and daughter-in-law-to-be until the phone call.
"Then (WGEM-TV's) Ben Marth comes in the dugout, and I thought it was something with him, and all of a sudden my family comes inside the fence, and they say, ‘You need to come down here,' " Cody said. "I thought, ‘What in the world are we doing?' "
The surprise caused Cody to have a difficult time focusing on his team's performance on the diamond. The Blue Devils defeated Springfield Southeast 16-2.
"During the whole game, I'm trying to concentrate on the game, and I'm like, ‘I can't think about this,' " Cody said. "I feel so blessed, and so lucky, and I can't believe it's actually happening. Even on the day of, on Friday, I'll be sitting up there like, ‘This is not really happening.' Even after the fact, it'll take a couple of days to actually sink in."
After Friday morning's ceremony, the newly married couple will stay to watch the 1:05 p.m. game between the Red Sox and Brewers. The Red Sox also will receive their World Series rings in a pregame ceremony.
"If God said, ‘Hey, you can get married wherever you want,' that would actually be where I would pick, and to have a great enough fiancee to actually be like, ‘That's where I want to get married too,' I'm a pretty lucky guy," Anderson said. "I can't put into words how lucky I feel. It should be awesome."
/221-3366EDITOR'S NOTE: Teri Flynn's job title was incorrect in a previous version of this story.