Saturday, May 07, 2011

What A View

I hope you know me well enough to know what my first thought about today's game will be: We got the good camera angle! The only time you see it at Fenway if you live in NESN land is when it's a national game that's not on NESN. Ah, slightly-off-to-the-side view, how I've missed thee. It's just so much better than the head-on robot cam view. With the batter and pitcher appearing to be next to each other instead of on top of one another, you can zoom closer. And in HD, it's even better. I hope fans watched today and said "hmmm, centerfield camera, did you get a haircut? New glasses?" No, it's the view from the good ol' camera well, which NESN used to use but for some reason felt the need to switch to the directly-behind-mound robot cam. It's not like we can't tell balls/strikes being just off to the side....

And we got to see a shutout win too. Clay was great, coming out after a two-hour "rest" (he kept itching simulated innings down below while it rained) and continuing to mow 'em down. Hill, Albers, Bard, and Pap threw the last four. 4-0 win.

Some wackiness from the game:

Remember how I saw Ken Rosenthal on game two of the season in a bow tie? And how I wondered why he wore it for game two but not opening day? Well today I found out he wears a bow tie "every week" for charities. Since game two was a Saturday game, that explains why he specifically wore it that day.

Stockton was okay today, but he did have one rough moment when he thought the top of the first was over, despite that a safe call had been made. He was thisclose to sending it to commercial, having described a 1-2-3 inning, when he finally realized the runner was safe.

Has Fox always used the same music for football and baseball? They kept playing that "giddy up giddy up giddy up let's go"-sounding NFL theme. Even Kim was like, "this is cold weather music."

At one point, Youk was thrown out stealing second, but the pitch was ball four. Joe West called Youk out, who started going to the dugout, before seeing that it was a walk. He stood around, off the bag, and the fielder tagged Youk again. West, still with his back to home plate, and walking back toward the outfield (where he'd stand if no one was on base) again gave an out call, completely oblivious. But Youk was finally allowed to stay.

The ticket-buying page changed. You get that seating chart that shows you the view from the section, and the verification page is a weird pop-up, and.... it's just different. And they're still putting out Monster Seats on there, one homestand at a time. They moved them from the regular section to the premium section down below, but, for example, you can still get two Monsters together for tomorrow. Take your mom! (Hey why is the processing fee double for premium seats?)

Got to see the end of the Verlander no-hitter on MLB Network. That station is great (for me) for two things. That, and old-school stuff, like old games and shows about past seasons and stuff.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Twins A Lot, Us Invisible

Another game we didn't come close to winning. I guess the fact that we're *only* 5 back after these last few days of extreme crap-ziness is a good thing. Also, eff Joe West. Eff is for fire.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Thursday Crap Game Gallery

Discovered a new place where you can park for free. A little over a mile from Fenway, but exercise is a good thing so I walked it even though I could have hopped on the T. Only player on the field when I got inside was Torii Hunter, posing for pics with people from City Year. Isn't it weird how he's not the tallest person in this group of non-athletes? That's somehow odd to me. Something about Gammons being in the shot cracks me up too. Like he's laughing and smiling along with everybody as if he's part of the group.

What a weird day. Sun, clouds, rain, rinse, repeat. In this shot you see the beautiful warm day on the left and the gray chilly day on the right.

I saw the Red Sox pitchers going out to stretch in right field so, after the absolutely ridiculous new Fenway tradition of keeping the fans between the bases until 1.5 hours before the game (Even if they don't want us underneath because nothing's open yet, why not still let us roam around anywhere within the "seating bowl"? We all stand there grouped up like idiots waiting for the ushers to allow us to pass when the time comes. So pointless.), I went out there to get some shots on this batting practice-free day. Above, Lester and Bard.


Bard waving at me. (Meaning someone near me who said his name.)

Daniel Bard chooses Gulf when he wants to spend $4.07 per gallon.


Pap again.

Buchholz and the pole.

I used a technique I've had in mind for years. I had a standing room ticket, but I used my ipod touch to go on the scalper ticket sites and see what great seats they had available right before game time. If they're still for sale, no one has them. So I found two seats available behind the third base dugout, row C. I could see that spot from where I was, and the row of four was empty. So I went down there and hoped nobody would buy those tickets. In the first, four guys came. That made no sense--until I realized the four empty seats in the front row, two ahead of me, WERE row C. I'd been in row E. (Yes, I should have known this or at least looked at the row letter as I sat down--it's not like I'm not aware of Fenway's seating quirks....) So now I'm feeling really good, as even if one group of two arrives, I'm still gold to stay in one of the other two empties. I made it till the fourth, when finally three people came, confusing me even more, talking about how they had that box plus a suite up top. They left and two more girls came, and by that time I was happy with my four innings in the front row so I took off. (Even though there were other empties all around since it was a weekday afternoon game, but it gets uncomfortable feeling like you could get taken down at any moment.) Now that you've read or skimmed/skipped the story, here's the view:

Jed Lowrie.

Youk at bat.

Youk close-up with Adrian on deck.

Kim's a Vernon Wells fan. So I toook an inordinate number of shots of him.

Youk throwin' brow-sweat to the ground. (Not joking, that's what he was doing here.)

Front row.

Vernon Wells up.

Vernon Wells yet again.

Trumbo looks on as Lackey prepares to bed shit.

Now I'm back up in the standing room. I noticed that they left a few rows open for fans in section 35 above the batter's eye. Usually it covers all of 34/35.

Lots of sombreros in the crowd on this Cinco de Mayo.

Here comes the rain again, and many of the fans who stuck around in this blowout went up under cover.

I kept waiting for a rainbow. I was seeing phantom rainbows! It was the perfect day for it.

As you can see, suddenly it's bright and sunny again. Though the scoreboard is quite depressing.

Rich Hill's first pitch with the Red Sox of 2011. Lots of people in the boxes are standing, because they didn't want to sit back down in the now-soaked seats. I later went down there again, armed with napkins.

Hill on the himself.

I took better shots of Lucchino, but I like the crazy motion of this one.

My mile-plus walk backfired as it rained on my way back to the car. But later, I got my rainbow. It was a full arc, and was actually a double if you look closely. Or even if you don't:

At Fenway

I'm here using their new "fan wifi". No BP as I thought, but I got some great closeups of our pitchers. And Torii hanging out with Cityyear kids. I actually see some blue sky. But still not warm.

End Of Game Late Night Fun (Or, Live-Blogging The Craziest Game Of The Year)

***8th Inning***

12:30 in the morning, we go to the bottom of the eighth, after an earlier 2.5 hour rain delay. 2-0 Angels. In the seventh, we finally got our first hit of the game. Am also playing Chan in Scrabble, thanks to that app allowing people not in the same room to play each other without using shitbook. Just played SKULLING on a TW for 92 points, putting me up by 108. In the last game, Chan was up almost 100 and I came back to beat him by nearly that much.

12:31: If NESN misses pitches due to local ads (I'm guessing this could be Verizon's fault) here, it won't be the first time tonight.

12:32: Rodney in for the Angels. Tek: Doubles down the right field line! Wet grass helps him out...tying run up in Jacoby.

12:35: So, yeah, soooo many people went home. Larry, Henry, and Werner were actually giving out hot chocolate to fans down below. And a crowd of rowdies has surrounded the subdued Kapstein since we resumed play. Ellsbury grounds out, Tek to third. Still 2-0 Angels.

12:37: Pedroia up. My hope is to see a game-winning home which the ball just bounces around while fans chase it through the RF boxes or bleachers. Dustin...2 and 2 count....

12:38: Even the Joy of Sox thread is just me and Allan. Full count...

12:39: Dustin swings and misses. Gonzalez up. I lead Chan by 105. Dribbler, and Ellsbury scores! And the throw goes over the catcher's head (Rodney shouldn't have even thrown) so Adrian goes to second! 2-1 Angels.

12:42: The funniest thing about this game is how the crowd is the type you hear late in a blowout. But it's a close game! Normally, bottom 8, tying run at second, Youk up, you'd hear a loud crowd going nut as one--but now, you hear the individual shouts of a couple hundred crazies. This, team owners, is why the BEST seats should cost the LEAST. Youk singles! But it's hit too hard right at Wells in left so Adrian has to hold at third. First and third, two out, down one, Papi up--and he flies out on the first pitch. We go to the ninth, 2-1 Angels.

***9th Inning***

12:48: Oki gets the first guy in the ninth.

12:50: Wells reaches on grounder in hole that Scutaro dicks around on then one-hops Lowrie. Had he picked it, it woulda been an out. Adrian's out because we ran for him last inning, which I guess I didn't notice.

12:54: Now Scutaro can't catch a looper, just over the glove. Bad jump. Scutaro, the rest of us are playing a baseball game. First and third, one out. Pitching change.

12:55: And I just beat Chan in Scrabble, 417 to 304. Always nice to hit the big 4-0-0.

12:58: Wakefield in. Second and third as runner advances on DI. Full count. And a walk. Bases loaded. Last two pitches coulda been called strikes.

12:59: Sac fly. 3-1 Angels. Chan sent me our Scrabble board--check out the last three letters he had left! (He played all three after that, this is not the final board you see.)

1:00: Fly out to right. 3-1 them, going to the bottom of the ninth.

1:02: All the west coast games are over! Walden in to pitch on this pond-esque field. Bottom 9--Lowrie up, let's do this. "A little hesitation cheese," says Eck.

1:04: Lowrie walks! Tying run up, no outs. Cameron up.

1:06: Cameron rips a single to left!!!! Winning run at plate, tying runs on. Crawford up.

1:09: Ump calls a balla strike. Now, pitch gets scores but Cameron out at fucking third! Fuck! But now Crawford doubles. This is insane!!!! Tying run at 2nd, ONE out.

1:11: Tek up and it's 0 and 2. I can't even believe this. If Scutaro doesn't fuck up TWICE in the top, we're tied right now. Or if Cameron doesn't try to get to third it's tied or WON. Instead, 2 outs, down 1, tying run at second.

1:14: Ellsbury up. 2 and 2. I forgot to say that on the ball Cameron tried to go to third on, it hit the ump's leg. It woulda gone to left field and that's another reason this should be at least tied. The 2-2 pitch....ball, FULL COUNT!

1:17: TIE GAME! Hey sleepy Sox fans! Never go to bed on the Red Sox! Come on! Ellsbury singles in Crawford from second to tie it at 2, and Dustin ends the ninth with a fielder's choice. We go to the tenth inning!

***10th Inning***

1:20: To recap earlier play: 1st and 2nd, no out, ball trickles behind catcher. He fires to third but he's not gonna get the runner. It goes past the 3rd baseman, but hits the ump's leg and goes toward the shortstop. Runner goes home, but Cameron is barely thrown out going to third. And NESN stupidly shows the runner crossing the plate, so we DIDN'T SEE the play at third. Anyway, we did tie it after all, and now, after Wake warms up, they go to Papelbon.

1:25: Top 10, Pap gets first guy out, nice job by Pap covering first on a grounder to second.

1:26: Single for Torii that prick. Did I mention there's like 500 people in the stands. Man, I would love to be at this game.

1:28: Torii almost picked off, but Lowrie misses his arm with the tag or it woulda been a really close.

1:30: Strikeout. Two down, man on first. Gotta get this thing to the bottom o' the tenth tied. Pap facing Kendrick.

1:33: Strikeout! We go bottom 10, tied at 3! I still want my empty-seats walkoff dong!

1:38: Scutaro up. He needs to atone for his delaying on that grounder followed by bad throw followed by mistimed forget it, he hits an easy flyout. One down.

1:40: Youk up, crowd singing his at bat music on their own. Hits what shoulda been a gapper but Torii was way out in right center and caught it easily. Papi up.

1:41: Green light on 3-0 for Papi, fouls it off. 3-1 pitch...ball 4!

1:42: Lowrie up, Darnell pinch running as the potential winning run at first.

1:43: Blooper past third for a double!!!!! Second and third! Two out.

1:45: Cameron up...two and comes your pitch...nope, strike called, two and one.....called strike at the knees, 2 and 2, remember, wild pitch will win it....

1:46: Cameron doens't wanna swing, but it's called ball 3, full count....ground out second base. We go to the 11th!

***11th Inning***

1:49: Bard in, Dice-K up in the bullpen! 3-3 score as we start the 11th.

1:50: Backwards K for Wells. One out.

1:52: Double down the RF line off the boxes. Damn. Amarista pinch runs for Conger.

1:55: Bard needed a K there and got it. Two out.

1:58: Groundout to Bard. We go to the bottom of the 11th. I'm going to tomorrow's 1:35 game. I was planning on getting there for batting practice, but now I'm wondering if either team will even be awake by then.

2:00 in the morning! Crawford...grounds out easily to second.

2:01: Tek up. Hey, you think Remy's awake? I think Eck just dozed off. It's been almost 7 hours since this one started. Full count to Tek...strikes out swinging.

2:02: Ellsbury...strikes out looking. The ump really should clean the plate. Maybe he can see it from where he is, but it's all brown from center field. We go to the 12th, tied at 3.

***12th Inning***

2:08: Bard still in there, facing Abreu. Kays his ass. One out.

2:10: Izturis up. Another K.

2:11: 4-pitch walk to Torii. Man on first, one out.

2:12: Callaspo up. And he grounds out softly second to first. We go bottom 12.

2:15: Pedroia up. Bell still pitching for them. Golden sombrero for Dustin as he Ks.

2:17: Scutaro: Grounder up the middle, single. Winning run on base for Youk.

2:19: Terrible swing by and two...This is incredible! Youk hits what looks like a massive dong. Off the Wall, though. Scutaro coming around, trying to score from first, perfect relay from Aybar, guns him at the plate.

2:22: Darnell up, You k on second, 2 out. Oh and two. I can't believe this game is still going on.

2:23: Dribbler to third, can't be handled by the 3Bman. Youk gets to third. First and third, two out. 3 to 3 score. Unbe-credible. Jed coming up.

2:24: Grounder right side. Looks like a hit. First baseman gets it, throws to pitcher covering. We go to the 13th inning.

***13th Inning***

2:28: Dice-K in the game. First ever relief appearance. Grounder to Lowrie, off the glove--Gonzalez woulda had it. Kind of a bad hop I guess. Go-ahead run on first, no outs.

2:31: Ha, NESN shows foul ball go up to the ESPN booth, Nomar gets it. Now crowd chanting his name after he threw the ball down to fans. Wells flies out. One down.

2:32: Pop out. Two down.

2:33: Soft single to right. First and third, two out.

2:39: Two-run single to right, past Pedroia, Abreu, get that smile off your face or I'll kick you in the teeth from here, Walky McGee.

2:36: Three and one to Aybar....called strike, full count...nowhere near, ball four. Bases loaded, two out for Abreu. Then a popout, we go bottom 13, down 5-3.

2:43: Bottom 13. Bell still in for them. Cameron batting. Pops out.

2:44: Crawford grounds to pitcher on first pitch. Fuck. Saltala... batting for Tek.

2:45: Fly out to left. Over. We lose in 13 innings.

2:48: To reiterate, goddammit. Good night.

3:00 AM: Okay, one more thing. The photo of my Nielsen log from its final night--it goes thru 5 AM, so I'm able to add this whole game in there. You can see the hours on the left, starting at 7 and going allll the way down to 3.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011


Today's the last day of our week as a Nielsen home. I've always wanted to do this--it's like the good jury duty. You know they actually sent us five one-dollar bills in the mail as incentive to mark down what TV shows we're watching? Last night, though, Verizon had an "outage" which lasted until this afternoon. What a crazy worksheet the Nielsen people are gonna get from us. It will include shows I've titled "Bin Laden Death Coverage" and "No TV, Verizon Outage."

I've also made sure to mark down shows I like and want to stay on the air, even if I forgot to watch them. Shhhh. Is this really how they tally the ratings? People sit there and read the surely incomplete chicken-scratch records of the few random people who not only were selected but remembered to do it and mail the thing back? There's got to be an easier way....

Sox vs. Team That Forgot How To Beat Us, 7:10, weather permittin'.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

May Flowers

Lester was on. Haren was onner, though, and we were down 1-0, until we finally broke through in the 6th. Then the 8th was a 3-dong frame--Gonzalez, Papi, Scutaro. And that was it. 7-3 win, another victory vs. the Angels. We've beaten King, Wheel of Fish, and Haren in the last three. And we're undefeated in May at 3-0.

After Sutaro's HR was reviewed because a fan caught it right at the top of the Monster, NESN showed the Pesky pole and it appears Don still sees it as "the poles not being lined up." I don't see how he doesn't understand it but I guess he never will. Here's the post I did at the time that he needs to read.

After 30 games in 2010, we were 7.5 games out of first. This year, after 29 games, we're 4 out (if the Yanks lose--they're down 2 in the 8th). (Update: Yanks lose. And Liriano has a no-hitter through 8.) (Final update: He gets the no-hitter. Got to see the 8th and 9th on MLB Network. Awesome.)

Where's The Non-Beef?

I was excited to read before the season that Fenway would have "Jamba Juice in the Big Concourse, and expanded vegetarian and lighter fare options, including vegetarian pizza, veggie dogs and veggie burgers".

Yet I've looked around and found none of this stuff. Let me know if you have. I would get a Jamba Juice. I like that moo one, and the creamsicle-esque one. As for the veggie dogs/burgers, it's more of a curiosity thing, to see if they're better than the ones they had last year.

In fairness, they did say they'd be introducing this stuff "in 2011," so I guess it could be September. But they got our hopes up, they should deliver!

Monday, May 02, 2011

Big W

I like to see those bust-out innings. Adrian's three-run doobler, Youk's one-run doobler, and Papi's dong put this one out of reach. But it was Dustin's long-ass at bat that gave us the lead. Kim and I were watching some sweet Michael Showalter videos during that part of the game, so I DVR'd it and was watching the Pedroia at bat while fast forwarding between pitches. And it was a really long at fast-forward! Finally he knocked in two off Weaver with a single. Not so tough are ya now Weava? Spin the wheel of fish.

On Gonzalez' hit, we actually had three runners between third and home at once. Screen shot to follow below as soon as I upload it.

Update on that weird MLB standings thing where they showed 1981: They now have standings going all the way back to 1901. We've had this stuff available for years on retrosheet and B-R, but now you can go to any date (back to 1901) right on the MLB site. If you want.

Tek's just about to cross home, Ellsbury's almost half way home, and Pedroia's already hitting third.

Thank You, Donna Marsh O'Connor

Watching the flag-waving on television in New York, Donna Marsh O'Connor, who lost her pregnant daughter in the September 11 attack, said she, too, saw little reason to celebrate.

"Osama bin Laden is dead, and so is my daughter," she told Reuters. "His death didn't bring her back. We are not a family which celebrates death, no matter who it is."

Angels/Sox, 7:10. We missed Weaver in Anaheim, but we face him tonight.

Sunday Photos

That was very nice of Scutaro to purposely not hit an easy sac fly so that Crawford could get the game-winning hit. Click these to enbig.

Nice day, high 50s and sunny enough to make my nose/arms red.

Bs and Cs getting scoreboard "love" as tweens and adults would say.

Bard was signing for special warning track people.

As was ClayHH.

Portrait of Don Orsillo with horizontal lines.

I love how Ichiro's looking at the ball in the air here.

Ichiro's always fun to watch/photograph. He's also fun to watch play--one of the guys I respect the most. I know there are criticisms of the guy but he's an amazing talent. Soon he's gonna break Pete Rose's all-time hit record, and I hope people recognize the feat though it will be an unofficial-type thing.

Update on the gates-opening thing. It's basically the same--you're still stuck in the infield for that first half-hour. Since the Red Sox didn't hit at all, we didn't miss much ball-snagging time as the Ms didn't start hitting until that half-hour was almost up. Still, I haven't got a ball since my amazing (for me) 2009 season. Anyway, the one thing different is that even though we were all confined to the infield, we weren't led through one path to get there under the stands. You could enter through any doorway along Yawkey Way after getting in through one of the two open gates, A or D.

Showing how those pesky (lower-case p) poles go all the way down.

I was in section 36 for this game, in those top few $12 rows. I was right against the back wall. No one to my right, no one behind me, and a single seat to my left that remained empty the whole game.

By the power of Grayskull...

Crowd watching King Felix's warmups.


I wish I'd notice this Vermonty mascot standing next to Pedroia for the anthem, I would have gotten a close-up. I guess the Sox got a lot of sleep the night before. As you can see, none of them were really around until gametime--still mostly in the clubhouse for the anthem.

The Pru's antenna right at the top of the wall-edge.

My least-favorite camera. It's cool to watch the highlights of this game on the Seattle feed after seeing the NESN one. The road teams get to use the classic camera well while we get stuck with the crappy straight-on view. With everything widescreen these days, it makes even more sense to use the off-to-the-right view.

Game starting up and stuff.

Ichiro in right field.

Gonzalez gets a hit.

We were shifting the hell out of lots of guys.

Something was happening with a woman in a wedding dress but I never figured it out.

A shame Wakefield didn't add a win to his total on this day. (Also a shame I stopped shooting just before Papi hugged Wake.)

Ninth inning, nobody on, one out, fly ball to Ichiro. And he loses it in the same sun that burned me. It was weird, after a long day of focusing my camera on Ichiro, here I was shooting him as he blows the game, although we know how tough that sunfield is. Lowrie got to third on the play to set up the win.

Crawford hits one up the middle, and the Red Sox win....

They really went nuts on Carl.

This tiny plane politely stayed in line as fans left Fenway Park.

Sign I saw on my way to dinner with Kim in one of our old Somerville haunts after the game. She was selling soap in Boston while I was at the game so it worked out nicely.

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