12 April 2005

Ring Ceremony, Home Opener, Know You Missed Me...

If ever there was a picture that demanded to be a background on someone's desktop, motherfucker, that one is. I mean, my God, that picture alone should sit on my casket someday. Beautiful.

Well, if you didn't see the ring ceremony on TV (like me- more on this later), you can see it here. It really was a magnificent ceremony the Sox put together, and a nice little bit of closure on what was, in sum, one of the greatest experiences of my lifetime, and the greatest season in Boston sports history. All that hyperbole jazz. It was hard not to be in complete shock and disbelief actually seeing it happen.

To start, Don "Erin's My Biggest Fan" Orsillo introduced the Boston Pops, and after the previous five championship banners were unfurled on the Monster to the sounds of Also Sprach Zarathustra, eventually the Wall-wide 2004 banner fell, as the crowd went bananas. A truly great opening.

Then, emerging from the banner were military personell- many of whom were in Walter Reade Memorial Hospital in Washington when the Sox met the President. A really, really great moment. The crowd gave them a big hand, and they carried the rings and trophy to the podium. From there, one by one, by order of seniority (more or less), the Sox got their rings. Wakefield started it off, and Pesky was the last, the ultimate "it's really dusty in this apartment" moment in an event that was full of 'em. He looked really excited. Meanwhile, the biggest ovations came for Ortiz, Schilling, Lowe, and Roberts it seemed to me, with the obvious thunders for Foulke, Ramirez, Varitek and Nixon.

Though I totally understand why he wasn't, I don't know if I'll ever be OK that Pedro wasn't honored there that day. Just doesn't seem right.

The ring ceremony, conducted to the tune(s) of "The Impossible Dream," "Star Wars Theme," and various other regal march-type dirges from the Boston Pops, was followed by an introduction of Red Sox from years past (and a moment of silence from recently departed Dick Radatz). Evans, Rice, Yaz, Gedman, Tiant- all joined the current team out to CF to raise the 2004 World Series Championship banner on the flag pole. Fucking amazing.

Of course from there it was on to player introductions (props to Rivera for playing along with the standing "o" given him by fans for his blown saves... props to all the Yankees, actually, who were clapping the whole time) and the start of the game which, as it turns out, was pretty good...

WP- Tim Wakefield (1-0)
LP- Mike Mussina (0-1)
HR- D Mirabelli (1)

So here's the story. I decided, it being the first Opening Day for a World Champion in Boston in I-don't-know-how-many-years (yes I do, but who cares), I was going to call in sick to work, and it was going to be a banner day (heh). What little of the Ring Ceremony ESPN would show at 2 (of course NESN was blacked out, seeing as we were playing the Yankees), and then the game on YES at 3. I couldn't fucking wait. I had people taping the NESN broadcast too, so that base was covered.

So I roll out of bed at about 1130 and stagger into the TV area (not far at all from every other "area" in my minute NYC apartment), grab the remote, flick the fucker on, and wander towards the pisser. After finishing up, wandering back out, I noticed an odd silence. I glanced at the TV. It was frozen in place on a crowd shot from the Ellen show.

Long story short- I was entering the opening minutes of an eventual 35-hour "manual outage" for Time Warner Cable in my area which, much to my seething rage, encompassed the internet as well. There I sat, alone in my apartment on Opening Day at Fenway, and I was powerless to the preventative powers of Time Warner's shitbagged ineptitude. It was the handcuffed kind of circumstance that allows a special rage, even magnified considering the occasion and what I was missing. I think I called TW no fewer than 10 times to complain. Minutes ticked off, and by the time Erin and I went out to see Fever Pitch, the game was over, and I'd missed all of it. The ring ceremony. The jerseys with the gold flex. The chants. The player intros. Renteria's first AB. The game!

But at least it was good. Mirabelli struck first off Mussina, lowering the boom on an inside fastball, clearing it out and sending it over the Monster to pick up where he left off last year- as the best backup catcher in baseball, period. Seeing the Sox come out by rank of seniority made me realize- Mirabelli's been with this club a damn long time, a desperation trade post-Varitek injury in 2002 with Texas, for Justin Duchscherer (edit- I actually spelled that right on the first try, I looked it up to make sure- still got it), now with Oakland.

Wakefield was dominant, Trot hit a big 2-run double, and Rodriguez committed a key error. A fun day all around. Here's to a bunch more, and here's to Schilling pitching a Wakefield Wednesday in his season debut.

For the Globe's excellent photo collection from Opening Day, click here. Some pretty good desktop wallpapers to download (especially stuff from HO) here.

Erin and I saw Fever Pitch Monday too, and we both liked it well enough. See, as a movie, it was like taking a bath in vanilla- just a bland, normal romantic comedy in which Jimmy Fallon was funnier than expected, and Drew Barrymore was her cute, adorable, wonderful self (full admission- I've been pining for Drew since I was like, 11).

But see, the Sox stuff. The Sox stuff was great. Plenty of Fenway footage, Sox clips, appearances- Manny looking and pointing at (clearly not know at what) the camera trotting to the on deck circle- and a nice recap of the playoff run in the context of the relationship. The best was seeing Drew run on the field and remembering that Mike and I were at the game (against Baltimore, we lost 8-5, Wakefield pitched) they filmed for. The line Fallon gives, ("the field, was it spongy? Solid?") was great too.

The people up in arms about this (hello, Bill Simmons) should really just yank the bug out of their ass and relax. It's the definition of "harmless."

By the by, not only are Varitek, Nixon and Damon in the film- so are Dr. Charles Steinberg, the Sox PR guru, and a couple of the fans from Still We Believe. I won't point out where, cos I don't want to ruin anything if you haven't seen it. Go, Sox fans, it's a fun hour and a half.

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