Saturday, April 14, 2012

Pounding The Rays Some More

How can Tom Caron describe today's win as "a sigh of relief in Red Sox Nation" in one breath and then note that the Red Sox are a game behind every team in the division but one (who we're 2 behind) in the next? I'm so relieved--without this win, we'd be THREE games out of first place with only 154 to play! Whew! It just never ends with these people.

13-5 win today with many dongs. ClayHH struggled in the 1st but settled down incredibly well. Glad we got a bunch of runs for him. Down 4-0 and 5-2, we came back, and it was still tied at stretch time. But we pulled away with 3 in the 7th, 5 in the 8th. Twelve runs yesterday, 13 today. Morales and Aceves each threw a perfect frame.

(photo by Michael Dwyer; Green Death alteration done shittily by me)

Tom Werner was just as pissed at Aviles at one point today.

Sox/Rays, 4

Scroll down for my pics from yesterday. Judging by the number of views on my videos, I'd say not many of you made it that far in last night's long post, so here is the direct link to the flyover video. And here's your Green Death moment from yesterday, as Dustin uses the magic patch to blow up Keppinger's head:

Today it's Hellickson/Buchholz at 4:05. Not on Fox, so we got that goin' for us. WIN.*

*Was thinking "which is nice," to continue the classic quote, but it works as a demand to the team to win the game. Gunga galunga!

Home Opening Day Gallery

The sky was extra blue today, my friend. After parking on my special meter-free, no-tickets-given street and walking a mile to Fenway, I arrived seconds before the gates opened, and cruised right into the ballpark. Or at least to the ticket-taker. As you know, I had a "digital ticket," which means my ticket existed not physically, but within the magnetic strip of my credit card, which they would swipe at the gate. Only some of the ticket-takers have the magic swiping machine, and I was directed to one. As you also know, my card was "compromised" shortly after I bought the ticket, meaning I had to get a new credit card with a new number. I called the ticket office and gave them my new card number, and they did the transfer, even calling me back to confirm the ticket was on the new card. But I still feared the worst. And today, when the guy swiped, it didn't work. Tried again, tried entering the number, while people got pissed behind me, still nothing. I had to go to the nearby ticket services window, and the woman was very nice and apologetic, and finally confirmed everything was fine, but had to print out a ticket. After a ten-minute delay, I was finally inside Fenway Park. (The good thing about all this is I have a ticket as a souvenir--but the bad isn't over, as I bought several games on that same order, and will probably have to go through this crap every time.)

As we thought, the retired numbers are back in the order they were retired after a long, numerical-order hiatus.

The Sox were done hitting by the time I got in. Here's old friend and native son Carlos Pena.

Opening Day in the year Fenway turns 100.

The red, white, and blue buntings are in place!

They had the scoreboards in full-page mode in pre-game, showing pics from through the years. I took this one to show fans of the past (who happen to all be nuns) vs. fans of the present. I cropped it to mess with your head.

Those pole trucks always come out for big events.

More stuff on the boards--was trying to make it look like the Citgo sign was extending out from one of them.

People looking for their bricks on the ground.

The Red Sox Hall of Fame banners, and more buntings.

Am. flag and 100 Years flag.

Beckett holding the wall up per his routine.

The 100 Years logo on the field.

Fenway, Boston, and the red carpet. I had a seat in the last row of the bleachers, but I tried to get upstairs and succeeded. Got some good shots up there, but I figured being in the sun and sitting would be better than being in the cold shade and standing, so I'd eventually go back to my real seat just as the ceremony was starting. It was a classic Fenway April day where if you're in the sun, you're comfortable (and actually hot when the wind stops), but if you're stuck in shade, you're in your winter layers and drinking hot chocolate.

Yawkey Way partially hidden by partial foliage.

On my way back down, I found myself behind that Fenway Park sign by Gate D.

The Pops.

I think these people were up here, on a rooftop across Lansdowne St., for the flyover. (If you're not a Fenway regular, and if it isn't obvious from the pic, the Citgo sign is not on the roof these people are on--it's much farther away.)

Valentine greets Maddon as the teams are announced. This freak show could sell out Caesar's Palace 300 nights a year.

Your 2012 Boston Red Sox, ready to not be judged on 3/81 of the season.

I pretty much nailed this prediction: Wake and Tek throwing out the first ball(s) and each getting their own day later in the year. I had suggested Tek catching Wake, but Tek deserves to throw the pitch for once. They had Jim Rice and Dwight Evans catching them.

Wake and Tek wave to the cheering crowd, which includes some Rays.

L-R: Jim Ed, Wake, Dewey, Tek. Pesky said "play ball." And Beckett indeed had that 5% secret idiot society boo him before the cheers took over.

Next is the flyover video. I don't care about the military aspect of it, but loud, low planes flying by is always fun--turn your volume up.

Josh Beckett throws the first official pitch of 2012 at Fenway Park. Notice how the buntings down at field level are different than the "classic" ones you see elsewhere--maybe they're stuck up against the wall like that to avoid players or the ball getting caught up in them.

I was in row 50, right about at the edge of the bleachers near the gap.

Looking to my left.

The vertical view from my seat.

David Ortiz had a check-swing single early on that gave us a 3-1 lead.

I'm never big on action shots at Red Sox games (other than maybe a pitch or a swing), just because I don't want to miss what happens on a play. But with Ellsbury running, I figured I try one. And it happened to be the play where he gets landed on. He could be out for a while. The next few shots are from that play:

Did you notice that in the second-to-last shot, Bobby V is looking on, down on one knee with a concerned look, and then in the last picture, he's still in that pose, even though everyone, including the injured man, has started to walk away!?

Sweeney replaced Jacoby in the leadoff spot, and was greeted in right field with a green beach ball.

At one point, Eliot from Jordan's walked all around the stands, greeting the people who got Opening Day tickets for buying furniture. He ended up at the Jordan's sign, which is part of their "hit the sign" promotion, and pointed at it happily. The guy is so well-known from his ads that run during games and from their Red Sox-related promos, people were constantly yelling his name and getting pics and autographs.

We put the game away with 8 runs in the 8th, thanks partly to this Lueke guy. Watch what happens to his ERA:

But he keeps on smiling!

A high view of the bricks. Isn't it funny how Fenway did this brick thing in an area that was already there? Usually brick-inscriptions go along with the bricks used to build a new place. The Red Sox did it with an existing building. And I'm sure people will criticize them of making money off us, but, I think it would be cool to have my name permanently inside Fenway Park. And I would have done it if it was more affordable. So, to clarify, I will criticize the price of the bricks, but not the fact that they're selling them.

8 in the 8th! A lucky number on Friday the 13th.

We really kicked their asses today.

The view looking behind you if you're in the last row of the bleachers.

I didn't look at the bricks up close until after the game and the victory song trilogy. I made no attempt to go to good seats at the end, even though with a 10-run lead, plenty were available. I decided to stay in the last row until the whole park was cleared out. So then I went to the Gate B bricks, and saw the various stars' hand-prints, which is also a way to locate your brick, as there's one star per section. (Some people just had their name with no hand-prints, including Nomar and Millar, who you'd think would be easy to find.) Here's my old fave Mike Greenwell.

And here's Castiglione. Orsillo has one, too. I didn't see all of them. I wonder if there's a Gedman. Or a Janet-Marie Smith. Or a Trupe! The possibilities are endless. Well, short of grave-digging, we'll just leave it as "numerous."

Other stuff:

At one point in batting practice, I was right down at the wall in right, and a teenage kid threw his jacket down to stop a ball rolling past. At that point, the scheming began. "Hold his feet and dangle him down!" But the security guy (the one who looks like an adult version of the kid in Billy Madison who says "hey, Billy peed his pants too!") was having none of it. He came over and asked the guy who he was with as he picked up the jacket and the ball. The kid announced who was in his party, probably scared they were all about to be ejected, and the guy goes, "okay, then I'll give it to this guy," and hands the ball to a younger kid who wasn't with them! Normally those guys say they're not allowed to touch the balls, but in this case, I guess since it was already tampered with by non-player clothing, its ownership left the visiting team and became Fenway property. Or maybe he just really wanted to make that joke.

A couple of at bat songs I noticed--Pedroia with that "wrapped up like a douche" song, and Ross with Bon Jovi's Livin' on a Prayer.

You know how Welch's is gonna have that "world's biggest toast" at the 100th anniversary game? Well they're showing a little highlight reel on the scoreboard to go along with it called "Sparkling Moments at Fenway." However, one of the moments is at the old Yankee Stadium! It's the Yastrzemski catch from 1967. I guess they got confused by the left field scoreboard...which looks nothing like the Fenway one! And isn't on a giant green wall! Again, it's a case of: didn't one person who knows anything about baseball take a peek at the video before it went live? Apparently not.

Kelly Shoppach made possibly the worst slide ever. He was headed for second on some kind of delayed steal (or maybe it just seemed that way since he's so slow), with another runner on third. The throw was late, and the fielder caught it, forgetting about Shoppach and only worrying about the guy at third possibly bolting for the plate. But Kelly started his slide way, way before the bag. Even if he'd made a regular slide, he never would have reached second base. But his cleats caught, propelling his body forward, and he headed face-first toward the ground. But since he was still so far from the bag, he had to make a head-first dive to get to it. The fielder actually had enough time to go back and tag him, just too late. So he was safe, but it was far from pretty. The scoreboard showed a close-up of him on second, hands on knees, bent over, trying to keep a straight face. I don't know if there's video of this online, but it was hilarious so I'd like to see it again. (And see how accurate my description was, as I only saw it once, from hundreds of feet away.)

Interesting new stuff on the scoreboard for player stats/info: It comes up onto a "scoreboard" in the same way the numbers are put in place on the Monster manual board, complete with rust stains on the botto of the numbers. Check out the vid:

Friday, April 13, 2012

Red Sox Gold, Rays Barf

Pictures from Opening Day coming soon! Watch this proverbial space.

History 101

63 and sunny for Opening Day in Boston, as we start Fenway Park's 101st season. Ceremony 1:30, game 2:05.

Update on the gates-opening situation: Looks like they've made a compromise. Instead of part of the park being open 2 hours before gametime and the rest 1.5, they'll now open all gates at once and the whole park will be accessible, starting 2 hours before weekend games, and 1.5 hours before weekday games. The RSN opening will still be 2.5 hours before gametime and go for an hour. The one thing that will now overlap will be the RSN people who choose to go to CF, duing their final half hour on weekend games, which will be the first half hour all gates will be open. Therefore, in CF for that 30 minutes, you'll have the RSNs and the Regulars mingling....

By the way, with Opening Day upon us, I still haven't received my RSN stuff in the mail. So tomorrow it's gonna be all these people with printouts waiting to get in at Nation's Way, with none of us getting our cards scanned for potential prizes. Terrible job by the Red Sox, completely dropping the ball on one of their most highly promoted initiatives. I just re-read the e-mail I got when I signed up in early February: "Membership packages will begin shipping in March 2012. The package will arrive 4-6 weeks after shipment". So even if they all shipped March 1st, that still potentially wouldn't have them arriving until right around tomorrow. If they shipped mid-March, we could be waiting two more weeks!

In case you missed it: I took some pics around Fenway on the under-photographed "day before Opening Day," and the podcast I was part of at Surviving Grady has been posted.

So we come home 1-5. Last year we went 0-6 but then went on to play the best baseball of anybody for months. Too bad people's memories in our society don't go back that far--except for the bad things. Notice that the media won't mention that last year's bad start was quickly erased when talking about this year's. But if we go into September, ya think they'll bring up what happened last September? Funny how that works. I even heard one of the radio gasbags today say something that to me is an admission that they want the team to fail. When accused of just that, he said how he wants the team to do well, to win the World Series, because the team is on his station, and that would be good for everybody. Right there, he's saying that what he wants is for the most interesting thing to happen. And he knows full well that chaos is more interesting on sports radio than a smooth sail through summer, when no one calls because there's nothing to complain about. We really need to start berating these guys when we see them at Fenway. If I see any, I'll be booing them to their smug faces.

And speaking of that, I guess it's not just Dishonest Abe who thinks Beckett will be getting booed. TC and Eckersley also acted like it's inevitable, as if it's just something we all know and agree with. The guys I listened to today on my trip to Boston also talked about it. And there's even an article on talking all about it. I had no idea that this was something people were "talking about" as if it's a real thing. Maybe I'm the one who's out of touch, but had I not listened to any of these people, I literally wouldn't have even thought of the possibility of Beckett being booed in Opening Day introductions. But I think I'd rather be out of touch with that crew than with reality. They've actually brainwashed people not only into thinking Beckett is a horrible person, but that he's not a good pitcher. Go ahead, ask your water cooler pals at work what Beckett's ERA was last year. Or just ask which pitchers were good and which weren't. People have been taught that he's this huge question mark. I just don't get it. Still, I'm so pissed that of all the days he has to go and give up FIVE home runs, it has to be his pre-Opening Day start. Because now the people who think he's bad got "proof." Whatever. There's nothing I'd love more than to hear a big long cheer for Josh and then see Dishonest Abe at the park and just rub it into his face. I still can't believe there'll be anything more than that one EEIdiot listener per section who does what the radio tells them while the rest of the crowd reacts normally. But honestly, I'm more concerned with why people think he isn't good anymore. Articles will talk about how important it is to see "how he responds" and all this crap. Why? The guy's had a few bad outings after a season of great ones. Look at his game log from last year. Where does this massive uncertainty surrounding him come from? If he's got an injury that's one thing. But he says he's okay. Hopefully he's healthy.

See ya on the other side, Ray. I guess we'll also see if my Wake-to-Tek first pitch prediction comes true today....

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Guess What? I've Got A New Pet Peeve!

What's wrong with each one of the following statements?


"As the Sox prepare to play their 100th season in their friendly confines, their fans will build on their record 712-game sellout streak.", 3/20/2012

"There’s no surer sign that spring is here than Opening Day for the Boston Red Sox. And with this being Fenway Park’s 100th season, the team’s doing all kinds of special things to celebrate.", 4/8/2012

"The Red Sox will open the 100th season of Fenway Park on Friday" --ESPN, yesterday

"After an off-day today, the Red Sox open Fenway Park’s 100th season with a nine-game homestand against the Rays, Rangers and Yankees" --Boston Herald, today


The answer: 2012 is not Fenway Park's 100th season. 2011 was. The celebrations in 2012 commemorate Fenway's 100th birthday, but this season is #101. I saw where a friend of mine said this year was the 100th season, and, whatever, people make mistakes, and I knew what he meant, but then I thought...Hmmm, I wonder who else is making this mistake (knowing full well that minor publications and would be culprits). But right away I saw MLB themselves, the worldwide leader, and the two big Boston papers had said it like that too. And a new pet peeve was born! Actually, it'd be a "pet peeve" if they could be considered correct at all, but they can't be. It's simple math!

Pre-Op Fenway

Remember how I thought it was odd that the Red Sox' new spring training park had the retired numbers posted in the order in which they were retired (which is how Fenway used to do it until about 10 years ago)? Well, I went to Fenway Park today, and check this out:

Obviously it's a "Nation-wide" change--expect them to be in that order on the right field roof inside the park...

As far as other new/different stuff, there are the bright new RSHoF banners you can see in the photo above (they've fixed this travesty) which are also ordered differently. And...

They've got these banners up on light-posts all over the neighborhood, extending far from the ballpark. Collect 'em all! I did see a few repeats but there are a lot of different ones.

Here's another one, as the rain fell on Landsowne. (If you've never been to Fenway, the green in the top half of the photo is the underside of the Green Monster seats.)

I had to look through glass to see inside Gate B--you can see the new ground inside made up of the bricks people paid to have their names on.

For some reason they're facing away from the entrance, so I had to flip the following pic upside down. See if your brick happens to be there...I can make out....Jim Kincaid....Bob Cesario...Deezer Irons..."Daddy, I miss you, love, Cutie".....

So there are some pre-Opening Day Fenway pics. Tomorrow's the real deal!

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