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2001: Diary of a Season
Mariners 5, Red Sox 2
The left field grandstand is one of my favorite areas to sit. The prices are closer to bleacher rates than to infield grandstands a couple of sections over, but the view is great, even from the last row. While most of my tickets this season were for the bleachers, I did choose left field for the "value" pack I ordered. I got the package of four tickets because it included Opening Day, and this was the third game I had the exact same seat. My brother and I had the two seats on the end, but the next two seats in had gone unfilled the previous two times. Both times, I had moved over into the third seat in, to give us both a little more breathing room. Both times, the Red Sox had won. So this time I took the same "lucky" seat, third one in from the end in the last row of Section 32. I noted that two years ago, on May 10, 1999, Nomar had had his three-homer, two-grand-slam, 10-RBI night against Seattle, and we were playing the Mariners on May 10 again.
This was John Valentin's first game back after nearly a year on the D.L. We gave him a nice standing ovation, and he hit a double in his first at-bat and walked twice later. The problem was in the fifth inning, when two guys showed up with the tickets for the empty seats I had moved into, so I had to go slide back to my original (non-lucky) seat. In the next two innings, Seattle scored five runs, one of which involved a bad call at the plate that earned both Jason Varitek and Jimy Williams an ejection. The Sox did manage to score two runs in that time, but it was too little, too late. The guys with the seats next to us had apparently seen enough, because they left before the seventh inning, and I took my lucky seat back. Derek Lowe, Tim Wakefield, and Rod Beck pitched in relief of Tomo Ohka, and no more runs scored. Unfortunately, the damage had already been done.
Red Sox 9, A's 3
Another Pedro game! (And a good thing, too, since I hadn't seen them win in a while.) This one went according to plan. The Best Pitcher on the Planet struck out 12 in 7 innings of work to run his record to 5-0. Meanwhile, the Sox scored four runs in the bottom of the first and never looked back. Lou Merloni was the only Red Sox player who didn't collect a hit, but Trot Nixon had four, and Offerman, Everett, and Bichette each had three. In the fifth inning, Manny hit one so high over the Monster, that I really don't think it ever came down! Watching the highlights later, I saw that it bounced off the far end of the parking garage across the street, then rolled away toward the railroad tracks and the Mass. Pike. I imagined a driver heading west on the Pike, when suddenly a baseball crashes through the window of his car! I know it's more than 700 feet to the Pike, but it's an amusing image anyway. The homer was measured at 486 feet, but what had impressed me most was the height. When I lost sight of it against the gray sky, it was still going up.
We were sitting with a good crowd today, too. There was a little boy next to me, around five or six years old. Usually kids that young are restless after a while, but he stayed focused on the game the whole time, and kept track of the balls and strikes on each batter. He'd say excitedly, "3-and-0 to Trot!" I thought, "This kid's going to be a real diehard someday!"
During the seventh inning, a trivia question is posted on the message board. This time it was, "Can you name the last two Red Sox pitchers to finish the season with an ERA under 2.00?" That's easy. My first reaction was, "Can I name them? Well I know who they are, but I don't think they want to hear the names I have for one of them!" When they announced the answers - Roger Clemens' 1.93 in 1990 and Pedro Martinez' 1.74 in 2000 - everyone booed the mention of Clemens' name and cheered for Pedro. Only in Fenway do fans get to boo a trivia question!
Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 0
This was the first of many games in Section 40. It's right behind the Red Sox bullpen, so we got great views of everyone warming up and their antics during the games. We monitored the progress of pitching coach John Cumberland's tomato plants. (He had planted 18 tomato plants along the wall of the bullpen. He said the number represented 1918, and was an attempt to reverse the curse. Unfortunately, by harvest time, it was Cumby himself who wound up getting canned. The small plants are visible behind Castillo in the picture below.) Section 40 is a good place if you like to heckle. I personally am less likely to make sarcastic comments in a place where the players can actually hear me. The problem with Section 40 is that if you sit in the first few rows, you have to watch the whole game from behind the fence. The fence is a good place for kids to hang out (literally, see above picture) during batting practice to try to get baseballs. But after a few innings, it gets annoying trying to watch the game through it.
There's not much I can say about this game. A shutout is pretty boring. There was nothing to cheer for (except when El Guapo entered the game), no controversial plays, nothing to debate in the stands. I hate losing!
Red Sox 4, Blue Jays 2 This was the best seat I've ever had at Fenway. I had a ticket for Section 36 in the bleachers, but some people I know have amazing seats and let me use an extra ticket they had. Box 52 is behind home plate, just past the screen, right near the visiting team's bat boy, and I was in the front row! It also was the day of the Red Sox 100th Anniversary Celebration, for which many former players returned. It was fun to welcome back all the players from the past (we even gave a standing ovation to Ted Williams, who was unable to attend for health reasons.) The game was great, too. The Jays took a 2-0 lead, but the Sox came back and won 4-2. My pictures from the pre-game ceremonies and the game itself are on the 100th Anniversary page.
Red Sox 4, Blue Jays 2
This was the best seat I've ever had at Fenway. I had a ticket for Section 36 in the bleachers, but some people I know have amazing seats and let me use an extra ticket they had. Box 52 is behind home plate, just past the screen, right near the visiting team's bat boy, and I was in the front row! It also was the day of the Red Sox 100th Anniversary Celebration, for which many former players returned. It was fun to welcome back all the players from the past (we even gave a standing ovation to Ted Williams, who was unable to attend for health reasons.) The game was great, too. The Jays took a 2-0 lead, but the Sox came back and won 4-2. My pictures from the pre-game ceremonies and the game itself are on the 100th Anniversary page.
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