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2005: Diary of a Season

Sunday, August 14, Fenway Park, Section 38

Waiting out a rain delay The Red Sox kept winning, finishing up a sweep of the Texas Rangers and winning the first two against the Chicago White Sox. I was back on Sunday as they tried for their seventh straight win. I was originally supposed to go with two friends, but they couldn't make it, so my parents drove down from Maine. It turned out to be Maine Day, but that was just a coincidence. It was hot and the sky looked threatening, but the game got underway on time. Carl Everett hit a ground-rule double, but Matt Clement got through the inning unscathed. Then the skies opened up and it started to pour. We were 24 rows back in the bleachers and it was only the first inning so everyone was still seated. It took a full twenty minutes for everyone in the rows in front of us to clear out so that we could finally get under cover, and it poured the whole time, so we were soaked. When we finally got downstairs, there was nowhere to go but just stand in the concourse near the ramp.

We actually weren't down there too long before the game started up again and we climbed back up to our seats. The Red Sox went in order in the bottom of the first, and the White Sox went quickly again in the top of the second. Clement ran into trouble in the third, giving up three runs. The Red Sox got two back in the bottom of the inning, on four straight hits by Gabe Kapler, Adam Stern, Alex Cora, and Tony Graffanino. It had been raining lightly, but in the fourth it got worse, both in the sky and on the field. Jermaine Dye led off with a home run, and back-to-back doubles made it 5-2, Chicago. As the rain got worse, some people started leaving their seats. When the tarp was officially rolled out again with one out and runners on first and second, enough people had left their seats that it "only" took us ten or fifteen minutes to get down to the concourse this time. I had thrown my sweatshirt on the first time, but that was wet now, so there was no sense in putting it back on. So I wore my father's rain poncho, while he used an umbrella.

This time we waited underneath for over an hour. Eventually the rain let up, but apparently there was more in the forecast, because they didn't restart the game yet. But we were at least able to go up and sit in the seats. At 5:15 (this had been a 2:05 game, and we had of course arrived when the gates opened at 12:00) the scoreboard informed us that the delay would go at least another hour. To amuse us as we waited, they showed the World Series video on the scoreboard. That provided the only good point of the afternoon, as we got to applaud Dave Roberts' stolen base, Papi's walkoff hits, Curt's bloody sock, Johnny's grand slam, and the final out. By 6:45 it was dark, and we moved over to the right field grandstand where we could sit down under the roof. We were still waiting for the game to resume, and now they told us it would be another half-hour. By now I was cold, but I couldn't put the sweatshirt back on because it was still wet. I convinced my parents to stay over at my house rather than driving back to Maine that night, and we continued to wait. Finally, at 8:00, after eight hours of waiting, the game was called. Because they hadn't played five innings, the 5-2 score would be wiped out, and the game would be replayed in its entirety. The Red Sox would get another chance to pick up the win, but the only common off-day for the teams was Labor Day, and that meant the Red Sox would have to play thirty straight games in August and September without a day off.

Wednesday, August 17, LeLacheur Park, Lowell

Spinners 8, Tigers 1

Lowell Spinners The Red Sox went on to Detroit, where they lost Monday, won Tuesday, then lost Wednesday afternoon. On Wednesday night, I went with my friends to another Lowell Spinners game, as they took on the Oneonta Tigers, a Single A affiliate of Detroit. Just like the Spinners game I had been to a couple of weeks earlier, Ryan Phillips was pitching. Again, he did a really good job, holding the Tigers to one run in seven innings. And again the Spinners offense was in full gear. (Even the final score, 8-1, was the same as my last game.)

This time I did get to see Jacoby Ellsbury, the centerfielder who was the Red Sox' number one draft pick earlier in the year. He went 2-for-5 with a walk, a stolen base, and two RBI. Left fielder Yahmed Yema was 3-for-5 with a stolen base. Catcher Mitch Stachowsky homered. First baseman Jason Twomley had two hits, a walk, and an RBI. He was a local kid from Fitchburg, MA, who went to U-Mass. Between innings toward the end of the game, they played a video on the scoreboard which was apparently from a show with a hypnotist in a high school auditorium. Twomley was hypnotized and was singing a Backstreet Boys song. They called it "Rally Hypnotized Guy," a reference to the "Rally Karaoke Guy" video of Kevin Millar lip-synching to "Born in the USA" that the Red Sox had used for inspiration in 2003. The Spinners scored four in the seventh and one in the eighth, so I suppose it worked.

Sunday, August 28, Fenway Park, Section 41

Red Sox 11, Tigers 3

Curt Gowdy The Red Sox' road trip continued with stops in Anaheim, where they split a four-game series, and Kansas City, where they lost two of three. Then they returned home to play the Tigers, and they won Friday and lost Saturday. They entered Sunday still in first place but with only a 1.5 game lead over the Yankees. I was back with my parents and brother. It was sunny when we got there, and even though it clouded up later on, it was much nicer than the miserable rainout we had been to two weeks earlier. Curt Gowdy, the announcer for the Red Sox in the 1950's and 60's, was honored in a ceremony before the game. After a brief speech, he circled the warning track in a cart. Looking out at the field, we could see the line dividing the existing grass and the new lighter-colored sod that had just been laid down earlier in the week. The whole outfield had to be re-sodded after being destroyed by the giant stage constructed in center field for the Rolling Stones concerts the previous weekend. Friday night's game had even been postponed an extra hour while they finished cleaning up the park.

Fenway Park David Wells was matched up against Nate Robertson. Wells allowed a run in the first on an infield hit, a wild pitch, and a double, but the Sox got it right back in their half. Johnny Damon walked, advanced on Edgar Renteria's groundout, and scored on David Ortiz's single. After Wells struck out the side in the second, Kevin Millar singled and Bill Mueller doubled. Gabe Kapler knocked in the go-head run on a sac fly, and Damon drove in a third run. An error by Bill Mueller contributed to a Tigers run in the third, but Mueller quickly redeemed himself. In the top of the fourth, he made a diving stop of a ball down the left field line, landing in foul territory but still able to jump up and throw the runner out. Then in the bottom half he homered, giving the Sox a 4-2 lead. The first batter of the fifth hit another drive to third, and Mueller made another great dive and throw just like the last one. But the next batter singled, and Chris Shelton doubled, cutting the lead to 4-3. Magglio Ordonez hit a grounder to first base, where Millar bobbled it. That allowed Ordonez to be safe, but when Shelton tried to come around from second to score the tying run, Millar recovered and threw him out at the plate. After Dmitri Young's single, Wells struck out Craig Monroe to end the inning and preserve the one-run lead.

Manny Delcarmen carries the rookies' backpack In the sixth, the game got fun. Manny Ramirez singled and scored on Jason Varitek's double. Millar walked, and later in the inning Graffanino's double drove in a run and Damon's single knocked in two more. In the seventh, Mueller's third hit of the day drove in another. Wells pitched through the seventh, striking out a season-high seven. The Red Sox tacked on two more runs in the eighth on Big Papi's big home run. Chad Bradford pitched the eighth, and Abe Alvarez pitched the ninth. Alvarez had just been called up when Mike Remlinger, who had managed to ring up an ERA of almost 15.00 in the few weeks he was with the team, had been designated for assignment. For the past month the relievers had had a blue flowered backpack that they made the rookies carry out to the 'pen before each game. Manny Delcarmen (pictured here) had had the job for a few weeks, then Jonathan Papelbon had taken over that duty when he was called back up recently. It was revealed on TV a couple of days earlier that the bag was full of candy. Today it was Alvarez's turn to carry the bag, and when he entered the game, they opened it up and started tossing candy bars into the bleachers behind the bullpen. We were sitting too far back, but they were landing in the section where my Tenth Man Plan seats are.

When the attendance was announced, they also announced that it was the Red Sox' 204th consecutive sellout, passing the Colorado Rockies' streak of 203 sellouts from 1995-97 as the second-longest sellout streak in baseball history. (The Cleveland Indians sold out 455 straight games from 1995-2001.)

Wednesday, August 31, Fenway Park, Section 35

Red Sox 7, Devil Rays 6

After Sunday's victory, the Red Sox went on to beat the Devil Rays on Monday and Tuesday, and I was back on Wednesday with my friends. Tim Wakefield went against Casey Fossum, but Wake wasn't at his sharpest. Tampa Bay's Julio Lugo led off the game with a home run, and in the third Carl Crawford hit a three-run homer and Travis Lee added a solo shot. The Red Sox got one run in the second on Kevin Millar's homer. He had had a span of over two months with no home runs, stuck on four for the year, and had just hit his fifth a week earlier. Tonight's was his sixth, but the Sox trailed, 5-1. In the fourth, Doug Mirabelli got the scoring started with a home run. Bill Mueller and Gabe Kapler followed with hits, and Alex Cora and Johnny Damon knocked them in, making it 5-4.

In the fifth, Big Papi's home run tied up the game. With two outs in the seventh, Manny Ramirez was hit by a pitch, and Millar hit another home run. This one was a huge blast off the Coke bottles over the Green Monster, and it gave the Sox a 7-5 lead. Mike Timlin, serving as closer now that Curt Schilling had rejoined the rotation, finished the Devil Rays off in the ninth.

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