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2002: Diary of a Season

Saturday, April 27, Fenway Park, Section 14, Box 110

Red Sox 10, Devil Rays 0

When tickets went on sale for the 2002 season, I chose mostly Sundays and Tuesdays. That left my Saturdays free (although I of course still found a way to watch or listen to every game). So this weekend I had invited a friend up from Connecticut for Friday and Saturday, since I was going to the game on Sunday. A little over a week before the game, I was offered tickets to Saturday's game by a business associate. I've never passed up the chance to go to a game, even if it was "only" the Devil Rays and I already had a ticket for the following day. I had to break the plans with my friend. (She's known me long enough to know how I feel about the Red Sox, so she understood.) I invited my parents to come with me, and they also had to cancel a meeting they were scheduled to host that day. But boy were we glad we did! This game against the Devil Rays on a day with plenty of other things to do turned out to be one of my very favorites of all-time.

I am, of course, talking about Derek Lowe's no-hitter. Read my full description and see more pictures here.

No-hitter!One of the best things about this game was that it changed my whole outlook on life. I'm not a jinx! After thinking I was destined to keep watching the Red Sox almost get no-hit by the Yankees, I actually got to see them pitch one! This meant I could enjoy the rest of the games I was going to, and not worry that it was my fault if they lost. That may not sound like much, but it's a pretty surprising revelation for a life-long Red Sox fan!

Sunday it rained. It was raining hard in the morning and there was no indication that it would let up all day. The game was called before 10:00 am. I heard it on the radio, and it saved me from driving into Boston and sitting in the rain for a few hours. Normally a rainout would disappoint me, but somehow it seemed OK. I needed another day to savor the no-hitter. Going back there a mere 24 hours later to watch Frank Castillo just didn't feel right. Instead, I popped in the tape I had made of the no-hitter and enjoyed it all over again.

Tuesday, April 30, Fenway Park, Section 32

Red Sox 4, Orioles 0

This was the first of many Tuesday night games I would go to this season. It looked for awhile like it would be a Pedro Martinez start, but the rainout the day after the no-hitter bumped everyone up a day, and Darren Oliver was starting instead. He was still in the rotation while Dustin Hermanson recovered from his groin injury. I didn't go in with high hopes, but, as they say, "That's why they play the games."

In the first inning, Johnny Damon reached on an error, stole second, and scored on a Nomar Garciaparra single. Manny Ramirez followed with a single that scored Nomar and gave the Red Sox a 2-0 lead. Oliver pitched really well. Through the first eight innings, he scattered eight hits and didn't walk anyone. With the Sox still up by only two runs, closer Ugueth Urbina started warming up in the bullpen. But in the eighth, the Red Sox scored their third run on another Nomar RBI hit, and their fourth when light-hitting Rey Sanchez lofted his first homer since the 2000 season into the screen. With the score now 4-0, Grady Little let Oliver come back out for the ninth, and he retired the side in order, to preserve the shutout. It wasn't the Pedro game I had hoped for, but the result was a pitching line that looked like it could have been Pedro's: 9 IP, 0 R, 8 H, 0 BB, 4 K.

Wednesday, May 15, Fenway Park, Section 32

Red Sox 8, A's 0

My next game wasn't for another two weeks. The Red Sox had a very productive road trip, sweeping Tampa Bay and Oakland before dropping two in Seattle. The biggest blow came in the final game in Seattle, when Manny Ramirez broke his finger sliding head first into home plate. He would end up being out for over six weeks. Being without Manny for so long would end up being costly, but for now, the Red Sox were on a roll. They had the best record in baseball, and they were maintaining that level even now that they were playing some of the better teams in the American League.

Jerry Remy and Don Orsillo Derek Lowe was pitching, and the Red Sox gave him an early lead when Brian Daubach and Shea Hillenbrand hit back-to-back homers in the first inning. In the second, Nomar Garciaparra hit a foul ball into the broadcast booth, where it was caught by NESN play-by-play announcer Don Orsillo. In times like this when things are going well, everyone seems to be able to make the plays! Lowe held the A's to only two runs, and the Red Sox piled on eight. Tony Clark and Rey Sanchez each hit a triple. Rickey Henderson had two doubles. Hillenbrand beat out two infield hits for RBIs, both times with two outs. El Guapo breezed through the ninth. The out-of-town scoreboard even showed the Devil Rays beating the Yankees.

Riding the T home is often a hassle. Immediately after a game it seems as if all 33,000 attendees are squeezed onto the same trolley car. Every available inch is taken, and it's a 30 to 45 minute ride to my stop at the end of the line. But when the Sox are winning and everyone's in a good mood, it can be fun. Today we had a real character on board. I was near the middle of the car, and there was a guy standing in the back who had apparently been celebrating a bit. The Celtics had beaten Detroit in the Eastern Conference semi-finals the night before, and he announced to no one in particular, "How about those Celtics! They're going to the Conference finals! How about a 'whassup' for the Celtics... WHAAASSUUUUP!" like the guys in the beer commercials. When no one answered, he continued, "Come on now, the Celtics are the best team in the NBA. 1, 2, 3..." and a few Red Sox fans who had just gotten on joined in, "WHAAASSUUUUP!" Now he was on a roll. "And how about the Patriots, the World Champions!" A larger group of people shouted, "WHAAASSUUUUP!" By the time he got to, "I can see this is a baseball crowd, so how about a 'whassup' for the Red Sox for being in first place," about half the car was chanting along, "WHAAASSUUUUP!" And when he exited the train a couple of stops later, the people by the door all waved and called out after him, "WHAAASSUUUUP!"

Sunday, May 19, Fenway Park, Section 36

Red Sox 3, Mariners 2

My next game was Sunday. It was only 56 degrees at game time, but it was sunny, and it always feels warmer than the announced temperature in the bleachers. The Red Sox, still holding the best record in baseball, were facing off against the Mariners, who owned the second-best record. John Burkett, already 4-0 this season, was pitching against Freddy Garcia, Seattle's ace. The Red Sox scored a run in the first when Johnny Damon singled, went to third on Jose Offerman's double, and scored on a wild pitch. Burkett gave the lead away in the second, when the Mariners scored twice. But in the third, Damon singled again and stole second. Nomar Garciaparra hit a double to score Damon and tie the game, and Brian Daubach, batting cleanup for the injured Manny Ramirez, followed with a double of his own, to knock in the go-ahead run.

After Burkett had thrown 97 pitches in five innings, Tim Wakefield came in and pitched three scoreless innings, including striking out the side in the eighth. Ugueth Urbina got two quick outs in the ninth, and then allowed a walk to Jeff Cirillo. Luis Ugueto was brought in as a pinch-runner, and after one pitch to the next batter, he broke for second. Jason Varitek threw him out, and the caught-stealing ended the game.

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This page and all photos copyright © 2002-2003 by Kristen D. Cornette.