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2005: Diary of a Season

Sunday, July 3, Fenway Park, Section 39

Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 2

The Red Sox bounced back the next day with a win over the Indians, and then split the first two with the Blue Jays. I was back on Sunday with my parents and brother. We were all the way back in the second-to-last row of the bleachers, because it had been so hard to get tickets - especially for weekend games - even on the first day they went onsale. I was just happy to be able to get four seats together, so I didn't care where they were. We entered as soon as the gates opened, and we watched as Curt Schilling threw long-toss in the outfield. He was going to be starting a rehab assignment in Pawtucket in the next few days, and he hoped to rejoin the Red Sox after the All-Star break.

It was Bronson Arroyo against Roy Halladay, the same matchup I had seen in April which had not gone favorably for the Sox. This time the Blue Jays picked up a run in the first on Aaron Hill's two-out double, but the Red Sox got the run back in the bottom of the inning. Johnny Damon led off with a single, extending his hitting streak to 19 games. He had had an 18-game hitting streak earlier in the year, but this marked a new career best. Edgar Renteria also singled, sending Johnny to third, then stole second. Big Papi knocked Damon in with a single, but then Manny Ramirez hit a popup and Trot Nixon grounded into a double play to end the inning. The Jays strung together three hits in the second to score two more runs, and Halladay went on cruise control. He was likely to be the starting pitcher in the All-Star Game the following week. The Red Sox didn't have another baserunner until the fifth, when they stranded two. They managed to load the bases in the sixth, but didn't score.

Arroyo settled down too. He ended up going eight innings and only gave up three runs. But in the ninth, Alan Embree put two men on base, and Mike Timlin came in and gave up a triple to score both runners. In the bottom of the ninth, the Red Sox finally got the chance to face the Toronto bullpen. With one out, Nixon walked. Jason Varitek singled, and John Olerud's single knocked in a run. Bill Mueller singled to load the bases and give the Red Sox hope, but Miguel Batista got Mark Bellhorn to pop up, and Scott Schoeneweis induced Damon to hit another popup, ending the game.

Tuesday, July 12, Fenway Park

RemDawg All-Star Party
American League 7, National League 5

The All-Star Game was held in Detroit, and the Red Sox were prominently featured. As manager of the previous year's American League Champions, Terry Francona managed the game. Johnny Damon, David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, and Jason Varitek were voted in as starters. Matt Clement was added to the roster a few days before the game when Toronto's Roy Halladay broke his leg and was unable to play. And Red Sox announcer Jerry Remy, a.k.a. The RemDawg, was hosting an event at Fenway Park where we could have behind-the-scenes access to parts of the park like the batting cages and clubhouse, see and photograph the World Series trophy, and watch the game on TV in the .406 Club. Naturally, I had to buy a ticket.

The Red Sox clubhouse The game wasn't until 8:00, but the event began at 5:00. We were able to go onto the field and walk around the warning track. We entered the field near the dugout, next to owner John W. Henry's seats. A panel in front of his seat was open, revealing his plasma TV. I sat in the dugout, then walked toward the outfield and stood in Canvas Alley, the area where the grounds crew's equipment is kept. In center field, people had the chance to go into the batting cages under the bleachers and take B.P. I circled around past the Green Monster and the visitors' dugout. When I went back into the concourse, the door to the clubhouse was open. I was looking forward to seeing the clubhouse, because I had never been in there before. There were two leather couches and a TV in the middle, with lockers along all the walls. The players' mailboxes were in the corner where we entered, along with lockers for the coaches including Johnny Pesky. It was fun to pick out everyone's locker. I noticed that Curt Schilling's was next to Jason Varitek's. I saw Manny's and Papi's next to each other on the back wall. John Olerud's had the helmet he always wears, even in the field, hanging in it. Kevin Millar's had a football helmet (just Kevin being Kevin?) across from it. Trot Nixon's hat was traditionally filthy.

Jerry Remy Next I went up to the right field roof area, then checked out the roof boxes in the infield, then walked down the hallway past the luxury suites and around to the Green Monster. It was cool that we had the run of the place. While I was on the Monster, I saw that they had brought the trophy out in front of home plate, so I went down and got in that line. It was the third time I've been photographed with the trophy, but that's something that never gets old! I went up to the .406 Club, and had something to eat at the buffet. Then I got autographs and had my picture taken with Jerry Remy and Jim Rice. When the game started, it was shown on the monitors in the .406 Club as well as the scoreboard in center field. Between innings there were raffles for Red Sox souvenirs and RemDawg merchandise.

The game went well for the Red Sox and their American League teammates. Mark Buehrle of the White Sox started, and Miguel Tejada of the Orioles homered in the second inning. Damon singled and scored in the third. Big Papi had two hits, including an RBI single. Tek collected a hit in the second and walked in the fourth. Clement walked one batter but otherwise pitched a clean fifth inning. The American League went on to win 7-5 and gain home field advantage in the World Series.

See the rest of my pictures from the RemDawg All-Star Party here.

Thursday, July 14, Fenway Park

Yankees 8, Red Sox 6

The next two weeks were eventful for the Red Sox. After the game I went to against the Blue Jays, they went on the road to Texas. On July 4th, Keith Foulke melted down again in the ninth inning, blowing another save. It was finally revealed he had been pitching all year with injured knees, and he went on the D.L. I was actually relieved to hear that, because it explained his poor performance this year, and hopefully it could be fixed before the end of the season. The Sox rebounded, winning the next two games in Texas, with Mike Timlin and Alan Embree recording the saves. Then it was on to Baltimore, where they dropped three of four. Before the first game, they traded backup infielder Ramon Vazquez to the Indians for slightly-better backup infielder Alex Cora. Jay Payton had been unhappy with his role as a backup outfielder all year, and had said he'd like to be traded. But the Red Sox knew they had three injury-prone starting outfielders who each required time off, and valued having a hitter like Payton around for those situations. There were plenty of players on the 2004 team who could have been starters elsewhere but sacrificed that for the chance to win, like Gabe Kapler, Dave Roberts, Pokey Reese, and Doug Mientkiewicz. But Payton wasn't willing to do that; to him, the financial gain he could get as a free agent the next winter was more important than team success, so he picked a fight with Terry Francona to force the team to ship him out of town. It worked, and he was designated for assignment that night. Adam Stern was called up from Pawtucket to take his place on the roster. Stern was a Rule 5 pick, meaning they had to keep him on the 25-man roster or the disabled list all year, or they'd have to send him back to the Braves. He had been injured in spring training and was just now finishing up his rehab.

The Green Monster A couple of days later, Payton was traded to the Oakland A's for reliever Chad Bradford. The bullpen help was welcome, but there was still no official closer. Meanwhile, Curt Schilling had made a few rehab starts in Pawtucket, but wasn't able to stretch out his outings any longer than five innings. As much as we wanted him back in the rotation as soon as possible, if he couldn't go deep into games, it would just put more pressure on the bullpen which was already overtaxed and struggling. So Curt decided that instead of wasting another three weeks in Pawtucket waiting to be healthy enough to make a meaningful contribution, he would help the team where they most needed it - in the bullpen. It was a brilliant plan! I pictured Curt riding in from the bullpen on a white horse with his superhero cape flowing in the wind behind him, just in time to save our entire season! If he could go out there in a bloody sock and pitch as well as he had in the postseason last year, he could certainly get a couple of batters out at the end of a game. I was certain he'd be one of the best closers in baseball, and then when Foulke came back, he'd go back to the rotation, just in time for the postseason. I was excited that I had tickets for the first game after the All-Star break, and that they were the Tenth Man Plan seats, right behind the bullpen.

It was Bronson Arroyo against Mike Mussina. Arroyo escaped damage in the first inning when Manny Ramirez threw out Robinson Cano trying to stretch a double into a triple. Manny gets no credit for his defense, but he was leading the league in outfield assists. The Sox got on the board first. Johnny Damon extended his hitting streak to 26 games with a leadoff single, then stole second, was sacrificed to third by Edgar Renteria, and scored on David Ortiz's hit. Manny walked, and Trot Nixon hit a home run to make it 4-0. Mussina walked two more batters before finally getting out of the inning, but Arroyo wasn't sharp either. He gave up solo homers to Jason Giambi and Bernie Williams in the second and a run-scoring double to Gary Sheffield in the third to make it 4-3. Jason Varitek knocked in a run after Nixon singled and Kevin Millar doubled in the third, but Arroyo gave up a homer to Sheffield in the fifth. It was frustrating that every time we'd extend our lead, he'd let them right back in again. Bronson had been at a highly-publicized concert the night before, promoting his new album, Covering the Bases. I didn't think that was as big a problem as people made it out to be, since it was during the All-Star break and I'm sure there are a lot of pitchers who do worse things than singing the night before they pitch. But it did seem to be affecting him, and he was asked to tone down his musical activities in the second half. A wild pitch and a throwing error contributed to another Yankees run in the sixth. The game was tied 5-5, and Arroyo was done for the night.

Mirabelli and Schilling walk to the bullpen Mike Myers came in to get the final out of the sixth, and then we got to see the highlight of the night. Between innings our new closer Curt Schilling walked out to the bullpen along with Doug Mirabelli, to a loud standing ovation. Chad Bradford got the first out of the seventh, then walked a batter. Alan Embree came in and got the next two outs. In the bottom of the seventh, Big Papi did his thing, hitting a home run to give the Sox the lead again. Now all the bullpen had to do was get through one more inning, and we could turn it over to Curt. But Embree gave up a double to open the eighth. Mike Timlin came in and got one out, but then gave up another double, and the game was tied again. Curt came in for the ninth even though it wasn't a save situation. That was OK with me. I figured he'd shut them down and then Papi would be up again in the bottom of the ninth, and Curt could wind up with the win. Instead, Sheffield doubled to start the inning. No problem, I know Curt can get out of this. Ball one to A-Rod... Ball two... then Smack! A homer over the Monster.

Ouch! I hadn't thought of that.

We sat in stunned silence. I really hadn't even considered the fact that Curt would be anything other than awesome. And there was no magical rally in the bottom of the ninth.

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This page and all photos copyright © 2005-2006 by Kristen D. Cornette.