Sunday, September 26, 2004

Fenway Park, 9/25/2004

About the umpiring situation: I could do what I'm supposed to do, and just say, "You gotta play through the bad calls." or "The Sox defense is what lost the series, not the umps' bad calls"(like Suzyn Waldman said after the '99 ALCS). Or I can call it as I see it, which is that the yankees have had the umpires in their pocket for years.

From Jeffrey Meier, to the '96 WS, where umps were literally running into Braves fielders, to the '99 ALCS, where the calls were so bad that you had the field at Fenway covered in debris. And right up to the first two games of this current series. As if I needed more proof, last night I was at the game, and watched as the umps allowed a yankee to score from first on a fan interference play. On that play, you put the guy at third base, and then have a discussion about whether or not he could have scored. On the scoreboard, they had already put up the scoring of the play: Double, 1 RBI. But the umps just acted like it wasn't touched by a fan, even though the 1st base ump called fan interference right away. I watched the replay on Yes when I got home, and their announcers said they'd never seen a guy awarded home from first on a fan interference judgment call.

I've been watching the yanks' all my life. I've seen most of their games since about 1982. The umpires might as well be wearing yankee hats. Especially at home, with that loud crowd, half of these umps are scared to death of getting booed or worse if they make a call against the yanks at that stadium. And they love to hear those cheers after making the call in favor of the yanks.

In '99, as soon as I knew the Sox would be playing the yanks in a seven game series (something that was impossible up until four years before that), I knew my heart/stomach were gonna have a tough time getting through it. So I just said to myself, "As long as it's a fair series, I'll be happy." That way if the Sox lost, I could say it was because the better team won, and it wasn't because of the umpiring. But of course, the umps started right in with the crappy calls. And it ruined the series.

So I'm gonna continue to bring this up whenever it occurs, instead of ignoring it like everyone else seems to.

Anyway, about yesterday's game, it ruled. Seeing Jeter hit into two double plays, and miss a throw at second, and hearing the whole crowd chanting "Je-terrrr" really loud and for a long time just made me giddy. Not as many fights as usual, but some people, of course, got ejected. Including one guy who was yelling at the yankee bullpen and climbing the fence to do so. This was at 5:30. The dude got tossed an hour and a half before game time. Anybody who says these series "don't have any juice" have never been to Fenway for a Sox-yanks game. And not just because of the fans, but just the way the games are always so crazy.

Pat & I have really honed the craft of getting in and out of Fenway/Boston as cheaply and as efficiently as possible. To think we used to pay 20 bucks to park every time, when we now know you can always find a metered spot if you know where to look. We also saw wins in our last 6 games up there. And two over the yanks. We've also got our ALDS game, which is part of the 10-game plan deal.

Joe Castiglione's son Duke works for CBS-2 TV in New York. Which seems sacre-freakin'-lij. This morning, on Duke's round table show, he had his dad on, with Chuck Steiner, live from Fenway. At one point, another guest on the show jokingly said, "Which one's Duke's father again?" And Joe, uncharacteristically, said, "We're not sure." Steiner almost lost it. The sheepish look on Castig's face was priceless. I don't think he could believe he'd actually said it, nor did he realize exactly what the comment suggested. The rest of the time they all just kept making fun of the whole "Who's your daddy?" situation.

Speaking of that, why does everyone think that Pedro saying he never wants to see the yanks again means that "Pedro has admitted he's afraid of the yankees."? He was just saying, What the frig do I gotta do to beat these guys? Kind of like how as fans we say it sometimes. We watch the team lose to another team in frustrating fashion, and we say how we can't wait til they leave town. That's what Pedro was saying. To say he's "afraid" to pitch against anyone is to not know Pedro Martinez.

Magic number is 13. If we win with Schilling today, it's a 3 game deficit with 7 to play. That'll put some pressure on the yanks as they play Minnesota while we're in Tampa Bay.


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Location: Rhode Island, United States