12 May 2005

I Went to Baseball Games Tues. and Wed.

WP- Matt Mantei (1-0)
LP- Octavio Dotel (1-1)
HR- K Millar (2)

WP- Keith Foulke (2-3)
LP- Octavio Dotel (1-2)
HR- M Ramirez (8), E Byrnes (4), J Varitek (7)

Most of the pictures weren't fitting right in blogger, plus there were way too many of them- so go ahead and peruse the links to the pictures instead. It's the same thing really, but different.

Oh man, the Slurpees we had in Boston. Those things were fucking delicious. "Black Cherry Lemonade," on two consecutive really really hot days, on our way to the park, just absolutely delicious. The second best one I've ever had (next to the Sprite one, interestingly enough).

Oh right right, the games! Those were pretty good too.

On Tuesday morning, Erin and I got in the car in CT to drive up to Boston for the first of two games we'd see, both against Oakland. The first game was our Green Monster seat shot for the season, and our first game of 2005. Arroyo vs. Saarloos.

The drive was fine- we saw an interestingly named piano movers company, who had a truck on I95. "Piano Movers"? That's an actual business?

We got there in time to grab a parking spot over in our special "no tickets and no charge" area, a nice walk through the Fens away. Erin really wanted to go on a Fenway Tour, and having been myself, I was more than happy to go on another. It was a later one- 3 PM- and I was a little worried it wouldn't be as great as that first tour Mike and I took a couple years ago (where we then later met El Tiante), going on the field and walking out to the Monster and the like.

It wasn't. I'm pretty sure you have to get to these things at like, 1 PM on a 7PM gameday. Maybe they've appended the tour- someone could leave a comment to that effect and it'd be fantastic. Anyway, while on the tour we saw David Wells working out and, devastatingly, Erin couldn't possibly have missed her hero Don Orsillo by much slimmer a margin without actually slamming into him. We were walking on the media level, and as she turned to walk away from the TV booth- in walked Orsillo right behind her. Kinda funny, actually. She was crushed.

Got some great pictures of the 2004 World Series pennant, the Cask N Flagon sign, the retired numbers, Erin's "Empyreal Environs" shot, the 2004 championship banner, a beautiful shot from the pressbox... and Kevin Millar holding court.

We left the tour after it finished, showing us probably 35% of the interesting stuff, and we hit the streets in search of some grub. I was looking forward to checking out this new improvement, a dynamic looking addition to the brick facade with some new numbers thrown up. After deciding we would just wander around and eat in the stadium...

We took our seats on the Monster. Not bad.

One early development was the turd with his son sitting directly next to us. We were in Section 9, second row, and this guy showed up with his kid, his kid's sign... and a sign of his own. It read something like this:





He like, made it up all nice on his computer and everything. Gross. His kid had this small "HIT IT HERE!" sign with a cutout for his face. Erin's blew all the signs in our neighborhood out of the water. "GOD DON-IT, I [HEART] ORSILLO".

We saw batting practice, and Manny in particular was hitting some absolute bombs. Then, Manny and the Sox hit the field for the top of the first, and one thing became clear- when the ball was NOT in play, Manny was doing nothing but interacting with fans. The finger points, nods, smiles- he spent the entire two games staring into the stands when the ball was no longer in play. You HAVE to love Manny.

So then, it was the first pitch of the game. Bronson pitched incredibly well, giving up only one hit through the first 6, and ultimately only surrendering his 2 runs (one earned) on defensive gaffes by Millar. In fact, in the play that eventually scored a run in the 7th, we couldn't even tell why the guy on first was still there, and there was only one out. Oh. Millar decided not to step on first. Gotcha.

So going into the bottom of the ninth, down 2-1, as we were getting quite cold up there, it was time for one more "push." After Ortiz walked, Millar came up having only one HR on the season- the night before. Against a really hard throwing RHP like Dotel, I was hoping for just a continuation of the inning. Just get that run.

Meanwhile, Bobby Cox Jr and Earl Weaver's twin were bitching CONSTANTLY over pinch hitting Payton for Nixon against Rincon, and for not pinch running Ortiz- both moves you make with half a brain, naturally. I can't effing stand Sox fans sometimes. The guy wanted everyone in the section to know he thought he knew more about how to manage that situation than the manager, so much so that it was forcing him to shout it at us.

The Millar got a 2-2 fastball that tailed right over the heart of the plate, about sternum-high, and he hooked it into the base of the light tower in LF, about 4 sections to our right. We exploded. The celebration was fun, raucous, and protracted. I really, really didn't want to leave. It was too much fun taking it all in. Millar popped out of the dugout for an interview, and everyone flipped out. Fun times. AND, I got a souvenir cup, 5th season running.

In the second game, on an absolutely amazing day, Erin and I got our Slurpees and headed to the LF grandstand seats, considerably less comfortable (section 29, 14th row) than the Monster stools. As soon as I saw that they were wearing the red jerseys, I knew Mike would be jealous. I certainly didn't mind.

Clement looked incredibly sharp, and Oakland was really lost all game- stringing together a couple of hits in the 7th for their only run against him. Damon extended his hit streak to 17 games, Manny crushed a nice 2-R HR, and with Renteria chipping in with a great game on both sides of the ball, we were crusing into the 9th with an easy 4-1 lead. We hit Zito hard, held them down with a scoreless 8th from Timlin and Myers, and had the pleasure of being able to hand our closer the ball to finish it off.

I was actually pumped to see Foulke come in and pitch. He's one of my favorites, and certainly my favorite Sox pitcher, even still. But, it had been a long time since he'd seen action, and even though he had a two outs with a two run lead, an RBI single and a 2-R HR to Eric Byrnes later (who I saw on Yawkey Way and yelled "hey" to after the FIRST game- only to be ignored), the park was dead, except for the drunk meathead fratboys (there since the 6th inning) who were getting a really strange satisfaction out of screaming obscenities at Foulke (and Bellhorn, and Renteria, and Mueller, and Millar...). I was devastated. We were going to have to do it, AGAIN.

And we did. Papi walked, and with one out, Tek turned on a pitch down and in, spanking it down the line to right. Being in the LF grandstand seats, I had to bend down to track the ball, and as soon as it came back into my view, I saw it sink into the crowd beyond Bobby Kielty's reach, for a HR. I swear to God, I could not fucking believe it. Twice. I looked down at the mosh pit at home, noticing that on-deck hitter Trot Nixon was pushing EVERYONE around- he was a madman. When Tek hit the pile, they mauled him, and continued it into the dugout too. The park was literally roaring.

So we filed out, and it was hard to really believe we'd seen that twice in a row. Come to find out later, it hasn't been done like that, in back-to-back days by the Red Sox, since 1935. The best part? The people that left when there were two outs in the top of the ninth. They did miss Foulke's blowup, but the also missed THE END. Losers.

Seriously, two of the greatest games I've ever seen. I've now seen 5 walk-off hits in my life- Troy O'Leary HR off Oakland to win in 1996 from the RF roof seats, Jay Payton walk-off HR for the Mets against the Brewers in 2000 (where I caught my only foul ball- loge level, 1B side- thrown by Rick Reed, fouled by Marquis Grissom), Kevin Millar walk-off 2B against Seattle in 2003 with Mike in the Monster Seats, walk-off HR from Millar again against Oakland with Erin in 2005 in the Monster Seats, and Jason Varitek walk-off HR against Oakland the next day with Erin from the LF grandstand.

They're fun, if you haven't experienced them in person.

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