Thursday, June 3, 2010

On Fenway

Reflections on a close to perfect day, a game that had a little of everything. Warning: This is probably only interesting to someone who was at the game!

  • Fan Photo Day! Arrive 1 1/2 hours early, and you can go down to the warning track and meet the Red Sox. Seriously, the whole team strolled around park, stopping to shake hands and have pictures taken with fans. For the very short fans, the young ones, lots of stooping down to get right on their level. It's enough to make you fall in love with the Red Sox (or any other team whose players spend an hour before the game greeting fans).
  • Baseball fans. They've got them in Boston. They know the game, they follow the play, they teach their kids. I made new friends: Canadians taking in a game, a guy who gave me his seat when the very tall man sat in front of me.
  • Plays at the plate! I love plays at the plate, especially when I am sitting less than 20 rows up right behind home. Two runners out at the plate on throws from the outfield; one runner out when he ran on contact (you could almost see the "whoops!" when he was three fourths of the way down the line and saw the catcher with the ball).
  • Home runs. I'm not a big fan, but in Fenway the suspense just kills you. Is it a foul, a ground rule double, a big bounce off the Green Monster, a home run? There were at least four today (OK, I lost count!). One, hit by Dustin Pedroia, was upheld on review. Even Pedroia seemed surprised. He literally stopped at second, hung out for a few seconds, and then continued on his way when the umpire waved him home.
  • Concussion in right field! Ryan Sweeney took a knee to the head in an outfield collision. Yikes.
  • Rules. Turns out you can bring outside food into Fenway. I stopped at Trader Joe's and got a half pint of raspberries. No reason why I should gain five pounds every time I go to a game.
  • Ball park food. That doesn't mean I can't also have an italian sausage.
  • The rare six-out save. Closers almost never go more than an inning these days. But, in honor of my visit (I'm sure), Andrew Bailey entered the game in the eighth, two on and no outs. He got Adrian Beltre and Kevin Youklis to fly out, and David Ortiz struck out. In the ninth, he gave up a solo home run but nonetheless closed things out.
  • Youklis's batting stance. What's up with that? In any case, it works for him.

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