Saturday, September 29, 2012

Perfect Day Redux

Last Saturday was the "perfect day" ruined: Sox lost to O's, Nebraska won, and the Yanks found themselves down by 4 in extra innings, only to come back and win and keep the AL East lead at 1 game.

Today, I got my perfect day. Yanks lose, this time unable to hold the 1-game lead, Sox lose to O's again, and Nebraska comes back from down 17 in the second half to beat Wisconsin on national TV.

Funny how the Red Sox losing was one of the positives on both Saturdays.

(Today's) mIssion accomplishED

Red Sox continue to play spoiler to the only team that needs spoilin', the New York Yankees. We did it via the loss in Baltimore tonight. So there's a tie at the top again. One more game for each team in the current series, Sunday afternoon, then three more regular season games. Shit...

Yanks lose! People, we are actually in the position where the O's can tie up the division again, and all they have to do is beat the Red Sox tonight! Man, this whole month has felt like one long playoff series. Today the Yanks scored two in the top of the first, but had many squanders. Bases loaded, nobody out at one point. They fucked that up, though, and slowly watched that game, and possibly their division hopes, slip away. Jays in spite of themselves were able to tie it, go ahead by a run, and hold on for the win. Yanks lead by a half a game heading into tonight, after which each team will have 4 games left.





















Keeping Pace And Stuff

I knew I'd be missing a good chunk of the games tonight. So when the Red Sox went down big early (or some might say when they put their uniforms on), we knew the O's had their win locked up, and I was able to breathe a sigh of relief knowing it would only be a 1-game lead maximum for the Yanks at the end of the night. The Yanks also were up early, and led all the way for a W.

So it stays at 1 game with 5 left. Totally doable for the O's. I prefer that they at least tie it up going into the final 3.

Yanks play at 1:07 Saturday. O's and us play at night. We could be feeling two completely different ways around 6 p.m. As for a tiebreaker, if the two teams tie, there will be a 1-game playoff to determine division champ. Home field advantage is determined by head to head. But they're even, so it goes to division record--the O's have the lead there so if there's a tiebreaker game it will be in Baltimore.

Oh, and my reddit pic topped out at around 1200 points. Not a bad day's work. As fake Internet points go. Easily my all-time best submission.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Spoil. Not Them, Them.

Okay, Red Sox, get some REST (wink wink) this weekend, you've got a big series in New York next week!

Basically it's a 6-game playoff series for us. To win, you must lose the most games possible out of the first three and win the most in the last three. Do that, and 2012 will be a success after all.

Home Finale Pix

Here's how we're gonna do this. I'll do the pics in this post and the vids in a later one. With one random exception. Go.
When my mom saw my pics and read about the 2006 home finale (Hansack's 5-inning no-hitter), she said she wanted to be there for the next one. So we made it a tradition to go to the regular season finale together every year. Not that we've completely kept up with it, or that we ever said out loud that it was an official tradition, but every year now I buy tix for the last game and if she can make it, she goes with me. This year we lucked out that it was the All-Fenway Team ceremony (though I would have gone anyway once I found that out). It was also what we thought was rookie hazing day, so we decided we'd stay till the end and then watch the players board the bus. Above, Yaz.

They had the top 3 at each position. Here's the official Red Sox legend of this blog, Rich Gedman, with another favorite, Trot Nixon.

Bill Lee in the hat. Next to him, Jim Lonborg. Behind him, Carlton Fisk. At right, Dennis Eckersley.

Pedro Martinez, Luis Tiant, David Ortiz, and more, including a player we booed who shall, along with another horse-riding dick, remain nameless (and countryless).

Pedroia, Nomar, Fisk, Lee.

I actually didn't mean to post this yet, but somehow it snuck in when I uploaded a bunch of pics at once--which is why it automatically went to Google Video instead of YouTube. Whatever. It's Don Orsillo doing the "9 rules of Fenway" and finding them quite amusing. You can also see co-emcee Joe Castiglione briefly at the end.
Living members of the All-Fenway Team posing for their picture. (At bottom left is Reuters photographer Jessica Rinaldi. She's the one who loved my "The Media is Toxic" T-shirt on Anti-Media weekend and kept taking pics of herself in front of it.) It was cool seeing all those guys. I never really got close-ups because they left through the left field side door. But between this and the 2004 team returning the night before, I got to see a lot of awesome guys. Dave Roberts even did a separate video for the two different teams, one shown each night on the board.
Our seats were in the back of the bleachers, but we stuck around in the field boxes for a couple of innings. Here's Lester on the mound.
Pedro Ciriaco up.
I like how you can see the ball flying through the air off the bat of Podsednik here. Looked like a dong, but it was caught.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, the man my mom named her dog after.
Finally we went out to section 36, row 27. A look at the socks on the outfield--you have to be high up to see them. A little chilly out there, but, again, for late September, totally fine. Barely needed a light jacket.
I usually take shots from this spot facing the Green Monster. (Example here.) I finally thought to take one looking UP the back wall toward the HOB and the Pru. I posted this pic on reddit and it shot to #1 on r/baseball and is still getting votes as I type. Anyway, Lester had a no-hitter in the 5th (I didn't make the Hansack connection till just now!), and in the 7th, we headed back toward the first base side to see if the buses were there, meaning the team would be headed out that night, and hopefully the rookies would be in weird costumes, as they were in 2009.
They've added wind screens to that spiral-ish staircase in right field.
The Rays won, despite the remaining fans all standing and cheering for a rally through the last few outs. You can see Rodney and Pena looking up at the fake arrow.
Then the players started throwing stuff to the crowd, mainly rolled up T-shirts. I almost got one from really far away, but the guy overshot me. Here's Miller way on the other side of the field giving stuff out.
Aceves had a whole bag of stuff to toss.
At this point we had to make a call. On our way out of the bleachers we saw they were obviously setting up for a long line of fans but we didn't know why--next thing we knew they were saying fans were welcome to not only go on the warning track but RUN THE BASES after the game. So it was that or watch the players come out to the buses. Between the fact that my mom and I had already been on the field this year at least once each, and her having a huge bag to carry, and the fact that it would surely be a mob scene, we opted not to to the base "running."
But I did get this picture of it all going down. At this point we left Fenway Park for the final time in the 2012 season.
As for the hazing, it didn't happen. Maybe they did it for an earlier road trip. Maybe they decided this wouldn't be the best year to be goofing around like that, even though it wouldn't make a difference at this point. But we still ended up having a great experience of basically saying goodbye for 2012 to each Red Socker, one by one. Above, Cody Ross and family.
Then I started shooting video. I got a lot of guys as they came out. That will be a later post, along with more vids from the pre-game ceremony. Both my batteries were done, and I had about 6 pictures left out of the hundreds of pics and vids I took. But I got this shot of Papi in the front seat of the bus.
And then one more on Yawkey Way. Gee, what a surprise, the Souvenir Store, who used to have the WRONG championship years on the front page of their web site until I pointed it out to them, made a spelling error on one of their signs! CollectAbles? Come on. I guess it's an accepted form, but I'm pretty sure we as a society have decided on "collectibles."

Got back to Providence at 1:30 a.m. A fun night despite all the BS of this season. I guess next time I'll be at Fenway will be for the Yard Sale. I can't wait.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Burnin' Up The Reddit Charts

So I posted one of my pics from last night to reddit. And it shot to number one on r/baseball! Check it out here, and feel free to give me an upvote/boat, or, if you hate it, a downvote. (It actually has nothing to do with the All-Fenway Team, it's just an artsy shot taken from section 36.)

The key to reddit submissions is having a few people vote it up right away. If not, it quickly dies. But once you get votes, you get visibility. And once you have visibility, you get more votes. And on and on. So the upvotes are coming in fast and furious right now. And it feels gooooood..... ah, meaningless Internet points....

Screenshot of me at #1 below! Woohoo!

Flat Earth Society

The Yanks played Toronto tonight, knowing they'd end the night either 1 or 2 games up with 6 to play. In other words, it was a huge game. And they fell flat on their ass-faces! 6-0 Blue Jays win. Michael Kay blames the other team's stadium's deadness.

So it's back to one game.

And the Red Sox control our own destiny. If they can just purposely lose 3 to Baltimore and then sweep 3 in NY in their last six games, it probably will have meant the Yanks' collapse was seen all the way through. The fun starts tomorrow night. Six for the division, and our eliminated boys are right in the middle of it.

I'm still working on posting pics and video from last night. There's just so much. I went through two batteries and all the space in the camera. Not sure how to play this....


Yanks won, Baltimore won, and I was at Fenway for the last home game of the season. Above, a picture of the All-Fenway Team...getting their picture taken. More pics/vids from this night tomorrow night.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Baseball And Whatnot

Yanks @ Twins, *afternoon game*, 1:10

Jays @ Os, 7:05

Rays @ Sox, 7:10, home finale, including ceremony for the All-Fenway Team

2004 Red Sox Ceremony Pics/Vids

My plan for the game tonight: BP early entry, see ceremony for 2004 team, and then do something I've always wanted to do, go out to Lansdowne and try to get a home run ball. Since I knew I was going to a game the next night, and since it really doesn't matter if the Red Sox win or lose at this point, I figured the ceremony alone was worth the price of admission, so why not use this night to do something I've been meaning to do? As for BP, there were only about 6 other people in CF for a good while. All in front. Any ball that cleared row 1 in section 34, 35, or 36 was mine. A few balls made it, but they all bounced right back onto the field. I was shut out. Then I went to the dugout area for the ceremony. There wasn't a cloud in the proverbial sky, and it was only slightly chilly. No complaints for late September. (Though I still say September is rarely as dreadful as April. April is still two or more months from summer, whereas most of September IS summer, and even if the temp is low, the park's been pre-heating for months. But enough about weather.)

I didn't know how the ceremony would be set up, but I spotted a duck in center. They all came out in three ducks. Coaches in the first and players in the next two.

Above, the Tito boat as it passes me. The moment the cam goes all screwy is when I'm reaching to snag a soft ball with my left non-recording hand. Clean catch and I was able to keep right on filming. You can see where I tried to show the ball. After reviewing the tape, I thought the toss came from Lynn Jones at first. But upon further review, it's clearly Papa Jack's throw that goes to me. Then you see the Embree/Tek/McCarty/Nixon/Foulke boat go by.

Captain Cheese delivers.

The final boat was Millar, Pedro, Wake, Nomar, Timlin....

Above, the duck carrying Pedro and friends rolls by with the trophy. For some reason Pedro was intent on humping the trophy all night. You can see where Papi joins them.

The ball I caught. I also got another one that landed in the seat in front of me, and gave it to the woman to my right who was second in line for the one I caught, and who I'd seen crawling on the ground trying to get another. I figured she wanted it most, and I wasn't about to keep two of the squishy balls. Similar to the final game at McCoy last year.

The ducks went all the way around, and then all the guys de-ducked and started walking in toward the mound. Here's Millar, Pedro, and Papi.

They had Foulke throw the first ball out to Tek.

And what an awesome bonus it was when Tek reenacted his jump into Foulke's arms!

The team heading to the dugout with the trophy. Looks like about 17 guys showed up. In these pics you can also see Joe Nelson, Phil Seibel, Jason Shiell, Brad Mills, Ino Guerrero, and Dave Wallace. No Leskanic, no Reese, no Schilling. No Damon. Lowe, Arroyo, and Roberts were shown on the board doing pre-taped messages. Bronson brought out the old "apple sox" line.

And everybody again. Note Millar's kids.

Before I headed out to Lansdowne I got right behind Wake and friends as they headed out the clubhouse door, under the stands, and out to the good seats next to the dugout. I filmed it but it came out really bad.

Then I left the park. I still wasn't sure I'd actually go through with it but I did. Turns out I was the only person out there for the purpose of getting balls. Nothing came over. Oh well. I gave it a shot, and I got to experience the during-game Lansdowne culture. The band "Down" was playing HOB so I saw a lot of their metal-tastic fans roll through. Kenmore/Lansdowne of course is the Disnified Times Square version of its old self, but it was still interesting to see the slightly seedier element of it all once the baseball fans were safely inside the park. I watched the T-shirt guys pack up their tables and load the van. I watched the parking lot attendant motion to Sausage King (who keeps selling all night) how I was clearly there to trespass in his lot should a ball go in there. I watched two college guys get sausages and eat them on the curb waiting for balls for about two innings before giving up. I didn't think I'd make it too long. I thought standing there (under the Monster Seats facing out so you don't have to crane your neck the whole time, plus any caroms come back toward you while you have a straight shot out toward the parking garage if it goes in there) for the length of a baseball game while not actually watching a baseball game would be agonizing. But the game went by really fast. I was able to see it on the TVs through the windows of the Cask, too. Of course, the ball will land before the TVs even show the swing, but at least I could kind of track the game. I could hear them announcing the batters over the PA, but barely. But, alas, I never saw a ball. I was just about to leave around the 8th when I saw my cousin Amy! She and hubby Howie had been at the same game, unbeknownst to me. So that was cool. You may remember Amy from when we took our dads out on the field at Fenway a few Fathers Days ago. She pointed out that the balls they gave us that day to play catch were the same as the one I got tonight!

After I got my post-game tradition cheddar cheese/pretzel Combos and Cherry Coke Zero (formerly Cherry Coke before I realized soda makes you gain all kinds of weight--but diet soda disgusts me, so this zero stuff will have to do), I got in the car and heard the O's lost. Shit. Flipped over to 880 (yes, both it and WBAL 1090 Baltimore came in just fine) and heard Sterling describing how the Twins could take the lead with a hit. And they did. They held on for a 5-4 win. Whew. So they stay just 1.5 up.

As for the plan of trying to get balls in BP and during the game on Lansdowne: I got neither, but I ended up getting a ball. And since it came from a member of the 2004 world champs, it's the best ball I could have gotten, despite its squishiness. Way more meaningful than a BJ Upton home run or some crap.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Waiting For Leskanic

"All uniformed personnel from that season have been invited," the Red Sox say about tonight's pre-game ceremony honoring the 2004 World Champion Boston Red Sox.

It'll be interesting to see who comes back for this. Does anybody know where Pokey Reese is? We know Foulke and Pedro were in town the other night for the Pesky thing so they should be there. I'd think anybody who isn't working for another team (and therefore would be busy) would go. Plus all the non-playing staff. Like Dana LeVangie.

But I'm rooting for Curtis Leskanic most of all. At the time, I really thought his 11th/12th inning performance in Game 4 was going to be looked back on as the pivotal moment of the series and make him a cult hero. That distinction ended up going to Dave Roberts, who of course deserves it too. But I feel like Leskanic never got proper credit. So I hope I get to see him tonight.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Son Of A Goddamn Bitch

Orioles leave 10 men on base. And hit into 4 double plays. Lose. Goddamn. I feel like the whole freakin' race turned on a fruckin' dime right in the 6th inning. With the Yanks rolling against the lousy Twins, the O's had come back from a 4-0 deficit to make it 4-3, then loaded the bases with two outs but couldn't tie it in the 5th. The Jays go the run right back in the 6th, but then the O's again loaded the bases. After a single closed it to 5-4, there they sat, bases loaded, nobody out. At the very least, you have to tie that game. It's pretty hard not to, actually. The next guy strikes out. And the next guy flies out, and they try to score the runner from third. Out at the fucking plate.

Of course they were still only down 1 with three innings left. Next inning, the Jays load 'em up with nobody out. So now I'm really pissed, but hey, we just saw a squander in the same situation so who knows, right? O's proceed to get the next two out, and it looks like they're gonna return the favor. Nope. Grand slam. 9-4 Jays.

It stays that way through the 7th and 8th, and the Yanks have their game pretty well in hand, but the O's, instead of leaving me to die mercifully on the side of the road, break my ribs with some CPR, loading the bases with nobody out, before finally accidentally drop a brick on my head while loading me into the ambulance, with a double play and a strikeout to end the game just like that. And as a bonus, the Twins rally in the 9th but fall short, 6-3.

So we end up with the Yankees gaining a half game on the Orioles today. Unfuckingbelievable. O's 1.5 out. Fuck the fucking Yankees, and Pettitte with his magical recovery potion.

Big Win

Orioles win game one! This is huge. They're now a half-game out, and can move in to first if things go well under the proverbial lights.

In Doubly

Apparently the Orioles have a doubleheader today. Because's Gameday has been so horrible lately, I've been using ESPN to get scores, etc., lately. The last few days I looked at their schedule probably ten times, and never noticed the O's had two games today. Looking back at it, I see they had each game listed separately, not even next to each other on the list, with neither one noting it's "Game 1" or "Game 2." They even show game two as being at "7:05," which isn't gonna happen since game 1 is at 4:05. Terrible, terrible job by ESPN. Even if it was a day/night, I'd still put a little notation that each game is part of a DH, but in this case you've got a single admission old-school twi-nighter, and they still list them as if they're two unrelated games with two set start times.

So yeah, game one is under way. Scoreless in the 4th. [Update: O's lead 3-0! Woohoo!] The O's could overtake the Yanks for first if they get 2 wins plus a Yank loss.

(By the way, have you seen the commercial where CC Sabathia claims "pitching is 100% mental"? Maybe we should start calling Kim Ung-Yong "Cy"! Okay, I wouldn't even get that reference. I just Googled "smartest people in the world" and looked for one with a name close to Cy or Young...)

Four Pics, Four Pics, Four Pics

First of all, it's always good to see Bronson Arroyo celebrating. What the hell is that chalice? The NL Central Cup? [AP/Tom Uhlman photo]

Screenshot from NESN of Rich Gedman signing the pole tonight. Rich wasn't about to climb the ladder they'd set up any higher than necessary to reach yellow.

TBS put up a calendar showing Oakland's wins and losses for the month. It's bad enough that the W's and L's look ridiculous and were in some cases unreadable, but, of course, they used the old version of the Circle Sox logo. So they're sitting there at TBS headquarters, grabbing team logos: "Make sure you get the new version of the Orioles' cartoon bird, Stan!" "Okay, Renee, don't worry, we all got that memo before the season. Any other changes?" "Nope, just use whatever pops up first on Google Image Search for the rest of the teams." (Had Toronto or Miami been on there, I know they would have gotten theirs right, too.) The Red Sox have just about completed four seasons with the new version of the logo. Four full years of the one shown above being retired. Yet me and like 13 other people are the only ones who know about it. I'm gonna be really pissed if they change it back and it turns out some outlets never did make the change and end up being current again....

Yeah, it's a Little Caesar's reference. So, finally, TBS showed this today. What's wrong with these "dimensions"?

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Just saw some of the Johnny Pesky tribute on NESN. They brought back a lot of old players and had the current team sitting in the stands with the rest of the fans. They had little groups of guys getting interviewed in front of the crowd--I missed the beginning of that, but I think it's funny that they actually sat Bill Lee next to Roger Clemens. Also there: Tiant, Rice, Fisk, Merloni, Foulke, Gedman...and of course Pedro who once again proved that he, more than maybe any Red Sox player other than Pesky, "gets it."

Then all the players, past and present, went out to the freshly painted right field foul pole and autographed it. I noticed there's a sign on there now telling fans not to write on it. So that was a good plan--paint it up, get some meaningful sigs on there, and bronze it.

Wish I'd seen what Lee had to say--I'll have to catch the replay.

As for why I'm not there: Well, I was planning to go. However, once I found out they'd be having the 2004 tribute and the All-Fenway Team on Tuesday and Wednesday, I figured I'd go to those and skip today's thing. Had they told us how awesome it was going to be, I wouldn't have missed it. (And the crowd, despite it being a free event, wasn't that big, only a couple grandstand sections across. I feel like they could have promoted this thing better....) At least I will get to see many of the same guys this week.

A's Win, O's Flounder

God damnit. If the Orioles had just been able to beat the Red Sox, the division would be tied right now.

Another crazy day with two tight games. Sox were up 1-0, when the O's rallied in the 5th, had a run in, with 1st and 3nd and nobody out. That's the moment you put the game away. But no, they get no more. It stays 1-1 until the 8th when the Sox take a 2-1 lead because nobody gave Pedroia the memo that we're trying to lose. Then Valentine fails to bring in Aceves, who surely would have blown the game. But Bailey tried, letting the O's load the bases with one out in the 9th. Again, O's have to score there. But somehow they don't. Red Sox complete mission of trying to ruin another September, except for the fans at Fenway who this weekend seemed to have no idea what's going on in the American League East. We'll have a chance to redeem ourselves by getting swept next weekend in Baltimore.

As for the Yanks, they fell behind 3-0 very early, but cut it to 3-2 on a dong, then had a TYR to score two more and take a 4-3 lead. But Oakland would tie it and eventually take the lead, and we all had to sweat out the last few innings, but the A's held on, 5-4.

So STILL it's the Yanks with a one-game lead on Balty.

Now we've got the Yanks going to Minnesota for three (Monday and Tuesday night, Wednesday afternoon), and the O's at home for three with Toronto (Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights) [correction, O's have doubleheader Monday]. After that there are just two series left for each team. O's gotta gain a game this week, minimum.

I've got more to say about TBS and stuff, but I'll hold off on that for now. Actually, fine, I'll tell you about one thing: All game long they put a scroll at the bottom of the screen saying that Miguel Cabrera's batting average is .346. That's actually Melky Cabrera's average. Miguel's is .332. Terrible job. I mean just have one person double-check the shit you're gonna roll across the screen a thousand times during the game....

Base Ball To-Day

A's-Yanks, 1:00 (on TBS--maybe we'll get more of this)
O's-Sox, 1:30

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