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Red Sox vs. Mariners

Fenway Park
August 14, 1999

About twenty minutes before game time, Pedro jogged from the dugout to the bullpen to warm up. The whole crowd cheered. Finally it was time for the game to start. The announcer read the starting lineup, and as he neared the end, I got ready to jump up and give Pedro a rousing ovation. But instead, he said, "And pitching for the Red Sox, number 39, Bryce Florie." The crowd went silent. There must be some mistake! Was Pedro hurt? And if so, what did that do to our playoff chances? How would we ever win again? I sure hadn't been running around the past two weeks saying, "I'm going to see Bryce! I'm going to see Bryce!"

Bryce Florie

At least disappointment is nothing new to Red Sox fans, and I resolved to enjoy the game anyway. In the picture above, the Red Sox bench looks on while Florie pitches. He threw well for four innings, and the game remained scoreless. At least he was doing a good job on short notice.

Brian Daubach bats Brian Daubach was cheered loudly each time he batted. He had had five RBI the night before, and was on his way to being named A.L. Player of the Week.

In the fourth inning, Pedro began to throw in the bullpen. "What's he going to do, relieve?" I joked. At least it meant whatever had prevented him from starting was not a major problem.

The Red Sox scored 5 runs in the bottom of the fourth, on singles by Troy O'Leary, Jason Varitek, and Brian Daubach, a double by Darren Lewis, and a two-run homer that Jose Offerman hit deep to left-center, over the center field cameras. In the top of the fifth, Florie started to struggle. Two hard-hit doubles gave Seattle a run, and the Mariners' Dave Bell was at second with two outs, when Jimy Williams pulled Florie in favor of Rheal Cormier. I noted that with only 4 2/3 innings of work, Florie could not qualify for the win, despite pitching well. Cormier gave up a hit to the only batter he faced, but Bell was caught in a play at the plate, as he tried to score from second. The replay later showed that Varitek's tag may have missed Bell, but he was ruled out, and the inning was over. Seattle manager Lou Piniella and third base coach Steve Smith argued vehemently, kicking dirt and throwing helmets, and both were ejected.

Arguing the call at the plate

The Sox added two more runs in the fifth. Nomar hit a double that just missed going over the Wall, moved to third on a fielder's choice by Troy O'Leary, and scored on a throwing error by Seattle's David Bell. After a walk to Jason Varitek, Daubach singled home O'Leary. As soon as the last out was recorded in the bottom of the Red Sox fifth, we saw the bullpen door open, and Pedro walked to the mound! We stood and cheered, giving him a hero's welcome. Finally, the sell-out crowd would be treated to the event they came to see!

Pedro takes the mound

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This page and all photos copyright © 1999-2000 by Kristen D. Cornette.