A Haven for the Diehard Sox Fan
  Home > Departments > Diary of a Diehard > 2005 > Page 5

2005: Diary of a Season

Saturday, May 21, Hadlock Field, Portland

The Red Sox won only two of six games on the west coast, and returned for a brief three-game homestand against the Braves. They won Friday night, with Wade Miller picking up his first win of the year. Saturday, I drove up to Portland, Maine, for my annual look at the Red Sox Double A affiliate Sea Dogs. They would be playing the Bowie Baysox, an Orioles affiliate. I was looking forward to seeing shortstop Hanley Ramirez, whom we had seen in spring training, and Dustin Pedroia, the highly-touted second baseman. I wanted to see either Jon Papelbon or Jon Lester pitch, since they were the two best prospects, but I found out the night before it would be their number five starter, David Pauley, who was the minor leaguer obtained along with Jay Payton and Ramon Vazquez in the Dave Roberts trade.

The closer I got to Portland, the harder it rained, and by the time we ate dinner and got to the ballpark, it was really pouring. The lineups were posted in the concourse, and I was surprised to see Simon Pond's name with the Baysox. We had seen him in spring training with the Red Sox, and I even got his autograph, but he had apparently been traded to the Orioles earlier in the month. We waited through the rain delay for about an hour, and they went ahead with their pre-game ceremony honoring "most-improved students" at local schools. (Every time I go to a Sea Dogs game, it's most-improved student night.) But then the announcement was made that the game was rained out. It was only May, but it was their ninth rainout of the season, and they had never had more than six in one year. My parents were able to use my ticket, since they live in Maine and go to a few Sea Dogs games ever year, but I wasn't able to get back for a game.

Sunday, May 22, Fenway Park, Section 6

Red Sox 5, Braves 2

After the Sea Dogs game, I stayed over at my friend's house in northern Massachusetts. We were planning to get up really early and go down to Fenway to try to get tickets for Sunday's game. The Red Sox spent most of the month on the road. I hadn't been since May 8, and wasn't going again until June 2. So I needed a game this weekend before they went back on the road again. But when tickets went on sale in January, it was done online, and I hadn't been able to get through for any of the games in this short three-game homestand against the Braves before they completely sold out. My plan was to arrive at Fenway in the wee hours of the morning and wait for the day-of-game tickets to go on sale at 9:00, which was how I had been able to go to Opening Day. But luckily for us, on Saturday night a friend of my friend came through with two tickets for Sunday's game that he couldn't use, so we didn't have to get up early after all. We watched Saturday night's game on TV. It rained throughout the game, just like it had in Portland, but they were able to get the whole game in. When we got to Fenway on Sunday, it was down to just a drizzle. Our seats were in the Section 6 grandstand, so they were under cover, but it was pretty cold (53 at the start of the game) given that it was only a week before Memorial Day.

Wearing my ring This year the Red Sox were raffling off real, personalized World Series rings just like the players had. Ten dollars would buy a ticket, and three lucky fans would win an actual ring. I had already bought my raffle tickets, but now there were replica rings we could try on in the concourse where the tickets were being sold. So of course we had to stop and have our pictures taken wearing them. Today's matchup was Matt Clement against John Smoltz. Clement didn't allow a baserunner through the first three innings, and needed only 28 pitches in that span. Smoltz was not as sharp. The Sox had two baserunners in the first, loaded the bases in the second, and had two men on in the third, but all were stranded. The Braves finally broke through in the fourth, when a double, two singles, a hit batsman, and a sacrifice fly scored two runs. But the Red Sox tied it up in the fifth, on RBI singles by Kevin Youkilis and Bill Mueller. Youkilis was playing first today, because Kevin Millar was off to a really slow start and Youk needed more playing time. Smoltz was up to 112 pitches, and didn't make it out of the fifth.

Fenway Park In the sixth, Johnny Damon singled. Edgar Renteria grounded out (and got booed, which really annoyed me. Yes, he was performing well below what we had expected, but give him a little time to adjust. We just won the World Series! Anyone needing a reminder of that only had to go as far as the closest ring raffle table and try one on. Why focus on the one negative? And yes, the team as a whole was underachieving, a couple of games behind Baltimore in the A.L. East, but that was because of injuries to the pitching staff, not a slow start by the shortstop.) But David Ortiz took Edgar off the hook with a double, knocking Johnny in and breaking the tie. Manny Ramirez followed with a homer, giving the Sox a 5-2 lead. From there, Clement went back on cruise control, setting the Braves down in order in the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth. We were sitting in Section 6, which is one of the sections in right field where the seats aren't angled toward the infield, so we had to twist to see most of the game. But we had a good view of the bullpens, and could see that no one was warming up during the bottom of the eighth. Sure enough, Clement was back for the ninth, and he allowed only a harmless single before finishing off the compete game win.

Monday, May 30, Museum of Fine Arts

The Red Sox went back on the road, where they got swept in Toronto and won two of three in New York, including a fun 17-1 romp. They returned back home for a series with the Orioles on Memorial Day, but the game wasn't until Monday night, so I took advantage of the holiday to go in to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. They were running an exhibit based on the Norman Rockwell painting, "The Rookie". It was on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post in 1957 and depicts several Red Sox players - Ted Williams, Frank Sullivan, Sammy White, Billy Goodman, and Jackie Jensen - in their spring training locker room. To go along with the painting, there was a collection of Red Sox memorabilia on loan from the team and from the Hall of Fame.

Curt Schilling's spikes: K ALS   American League Championship trophy

There were artifacts from Harry Hooper, Ted Williams, Yaz, and Jim Rice, among others. From the current team, they had the spikes Curt Schilling wore in Game 2 of the World Series (note the "K ALS") and the American League Championship trophy.

Cy Young statue When I finished at the museum, I went down the street to the Northeastern University campus to see the Cy Young statue which stands at the site of the old Huntington Avenue grounds. It was the home of the Red Sox from 1901-1911, and the site of the first World Series. Today it's on the NU campus, just off Forsyth Street near Churchill Hall. A home plate-shaped marker reads: "THE FIRST WORLD SERIES. On October 4, 1903, the first modern World Series between the American League Champion Boston Pilgrims, later known as the Red Sox, and the National League Champion Pittsburgh Pirates, was played on this site. General admission tickets were fifty cents. The Pilgrims, led by twenty-eight game winner Cy Young, trailed the series three games to one, but then swept four consecutive victories to win the Championship five games to three. Home plate sat at this location with the left field fence along the Huntington Avenue sidewalk." Sixty feet, six inches away is a statue of Cy Young.

Thursday, June 2, Fenway Park, Section 40

Red Sox 6, Orioles 4

The Red Sox lost two of the first three games in their series with Baltimore, falling four games behind them in the standings. (At least the Yankees were five games back.) Thursday's game was the makeup of the game that was rained out on April 27. My friend couldn't afford to take the day off from work to go to the makeup (we had already taken one day off to go to the originally scheduled game) and we had purchased another game later in the season to make up for it, but as I told my co-workers, if I gave this ticket away, it would probably end up being a great game and I'd miss out on something memorable like a walk-off home run or some other kind of great play. So I took the day off and invited my brother down. It was a gorgeous day weather-wise, the first warm, sunny game I had been to in a month and a half. I was in the Tenth Man Plan "puddle" seats, so I bought a newspaper in Kenmore Square so that I could throw it under the seat and sop up the puddle. But when I got there, I thought I was in the wrong section. The puddle was gone! They had actually filled it in and leveled it off so it wouldn't fill up with water. (I had only been asking for a year!) I knew that had to be a good omen. I had to call my parents, the friend who normally sits there with me, and my co-workers - everyone who had heard me rant about it for the last year and a half - and tell them the good news. When my friend and I first got the seats last year, I had sat on the right for the first few games. But we lost the first four in that configuration, so for the fifth game last year I made her switch so I could sit on the left. They won all the rest of the games in that package once we started sitting in that order. So today I got there first and was ready to sit in my usual seat on the left, but there was chewing gum on it. (Oh great, I finally lost the puddle, only to gain gum!) I scraped off what I could, covered the rest with the newspaper, and then sat on the right.

Matt Clement My brother drove down from Maine in plenty of time to be there early, but because it was a weekday afternoon, the lot he normally parks in to take the T was full of commuters by the time he got there. So he drove in to Fenway, figuring he'd just pay the $30 to $40 to park in one of the lots there. He was outside Fenway before the game started, but all the lots were full. So he had to circle around the area, difficult enough with all the traffic, and look for a lot that wasn't full, which is almost impossible, and meanwhile the game was starting. Lots get cheaper as they get farther from Fenway, so the fact that he ended up in a $15 lot indicates how far away he finally ended up parking. By the time he got there, it was the third inning. (He was so relieved to finally be there, he wouldn't have cared if he was sitting in gum, but I had gotten most of it off by then.)

Matt Clement was pitching, and they were wearing their alternate red jerseys. They had worn them on the Sunday afternoon game I went to a couple of weeks ago when Clement had pitched a complete game. On day games it's up to the pitcher to decide which uniforms they wear, so he had picked the red ones again. The Sox got a run in the first when Kevin Youkilis doubled, moved up on a fly ball, and scored on David Ortiz's groundout. Youk was playing third and leading off today, with Jay Payton in center field to give Johnny Damon the day off. Johnny had cuts on his face from crashing into the fence on the side of the bullpen two days ago but hadn't taken any time off because of it yet. Jay Gibbons hit a solo homer in the second to tie it up. In the fourth, Jason Varitek's two-run double gave the Sox a 3-1 lead. In the sixth, Clement walked the first batter, then allowed a single, a double, and a groundout, as the Orioles tied it up again. When Payton's spot came up in the bottom of the seventh, Damon came in to pinch hit. He flied out, then went out to play center field for the eighth. So I guess he only gets a couple of innings off per major crash!

With one out in the eighth, B.J. Surhoff singled. Jay Gibbons hit a bloop to shallow center, where Johnny raced in and almost made a great catch. Surhoff had to hold up to see if it would be caught, but Damon dropped it. Then he scooped it up and threw it to Edgar Renteria at second to force out Surhoff. (It's not every day I get to record an 8-6 FC in my scorecard.) Keith Foulke came in and got out of the inning, and then came back out for the ninth. An infield hit and two walks loaded the bases, then a fielder's choice scored the go-ahead run. We headed into the bottom of the ninth down 4-3, with the bottom of the order due up. That's when I remembered I had never switched back to the seat on the left. I told my brother we needed to switch seats. He rolled his eyes, but obliged.

Johnny flied out to center to start the inning. Mark Bellhorn singled, giving us hope. Youkilis struck out for the second out. Renteria was up next, and he'd have to do something to keep the inning going so Big Papi could get to the plate. On the first pitch he squared around and bunted... It seemed to be happening in slow motion... Was he nuts? There were two outs! ... But... it was perfectly placed, and caught the third baseman by surprise. It turned out to be a very heads-up, intelligent play. He knew he shouldn't try to knock in the run from first himself. He just needed to reach base so Papi could bat, and the third baseman was playing deep. He was safe, and here was Papi coming to the plate. He worked the count full, then launched one into straightaway center field that left no doubt. Home run! Walkoff! Dirty Water! Just like that. Just like I had predicted. It was absolutely worth using up the two vacation days. (It would have even been worth sitting on gum!) Thank you, Papi!

<<< Previous   |    1     2     3     4     5     6     7     8     9     10     11     12     13    |   Next >>>

HomeDepartmentsFeaturesArchivesMore InfoInteractSearch Diary of a DiehardRedSoxDiehard.comRandom page
E-mail the webmasterPost to Message Board
This page and all photos copyright © 2005-2006 by Kristen D. Cornette.