Monday, May 09, 2005

Fenway Park, May 8th, 2005, And More

Saturday, May 7th:

I got as far as the Mohegan Sun casino when I found out that my Saturday game was rained out and rescheduled for Sunday at noon. Since the Kentucky Derby was to be run a few hours later, and I'd had so muh fun last year watching the Belmont Stakes at Mohegan Sun, I figured I'd go watch the Derby over there. (I was alone on this trip, as my normal cohort was sick and would have gotten pnuemonia with a capital P had he sat in the cold and rain for an entire day.)

The casino, in southwest Connecticut, is about 80% Red Sox territory, which is good. Although the guy behind the counter at Krispy Kreme was attempting to give me crap about being a Sox fan. "It all comes around," he said, having the audacity to imply that "I'm gonna get mine." I tried to inform him that "it" has already come around, and "it" will be here for a while, and he better get used to it. Like most Krispy Kreme level yankee fans, he literally didn't hear a word I said, and therefore just said things completely unrelated to what I had just said. So I showed him my World Champions shirt, got my one glazed, and my one custard-filled chocolate, and headed to the race book to bet against the horse owned by his team's owner.

After making all my exotic wagers, I realized that I should have done what I did the year before, when I bet every horse in the race except for Smarty Jones, who was a huge favorite, and was going for a Triple Crown, and I won some money. Had I used this method on Saturday, I would have made about 60 bucks. Instead, I won nothing. But what matters was I got to see that pig's horse come in SEVENTH place. If only they could have shown a replay of George's reaction to another one of his soul-less animals choking. They did show him before the race, prompting a chorus of boos from the casino race book crowd, led by me. Even the yankee fans there couldn't bring themselves to cheer for that guy. I also forgot to mention that Torre's horse also lost its race the day before. So it was a great weekend for rooting against yankee-owned equines.

Then I figured I'd just stay in a hotel around there, since I had to be in Boston for gates at 10 A-freakin-M the next day. The room rate at the first place I tried was $130. At that point I thought I might just be sleeping in my car. But then, for some reason, I turned off 395 and took Route 6 toward Providence. I crossed over the line into the unknown netherworld that is the Island of Rhode, and soon saw a tiny motel. The horror movie kind. So I went for it. The Indian lady in the office thought for a second, before answering my pricing query with "fifty dollar." I took the deal. She gave me a non-working remote to the TV, and sent me to Room 1.

I don't know why, but one of the perks of Room 1 was a personal sauna. I was kind of scared at first, imagining the door getting stuck, and me baking to death. But then I noticed a flier in the room with detailed instructions for the thing, so I followed those and got in.

If you've never done this before, I recommend you stop what you're doing right now, and head for the nearest one of these insta-wombs. I don't normally buy into things that say they're going to make you relax, and that people have been doing it for centuries so it must be good for you. But in this case, I became a believer. Sauna. Do it now. Also, while I was in there, I had the Braves game on TBS, and I could see the TV through the little window on the sauna door, and Julio Franco hit a home run. Now I'll always think of the little 200-degree room in the scary motel in the middle of nowhere whenever I hear the name Julio Franco. (This replaces my old Franco association from 1986: Pete Williams, left-handed pitcher from my Little League team, saying how he doesn't buy baseball cards because "What do I care about some Franco Julio baseball card?") Wow, I've really come full-circle on Franco. How is that dude still playing all these years later?

It was also pretty funny, the way in which I called each of the two people I'd be meeting up with at Fenway the next day from the motel that night. Because Empy of Empyreal Environs got the "I'm about to go into the sauna" call. And Rebecca, aka Faux Shui, got the "Awwwww yeah, I just got out of the sauna. Oh my freakin' god, dude" call. Go to their Sox blogs for more on Sunday's game, and possibly some pics, like one of me touching the Ted Williams retired number. (It's possible, but barely.)


I got to Fenway right before ten, and Empy was already there. I recognized her immediately, even though I'd only seen her picture on the internet. But then again, she was the only Hawaiian-looking person in the vicinity. We went up to the right field roof deck, sat around for awhile since there was no batting practice, and monitored the crowd, to see if we could snag a better seat. Right field roof deck is cool, and it was my first time up there, but when it's freezing cold and rainy and there are lots of empty seats, you pretty much have to move downstairs. We sat right behind home plate in the grandstand. Then Rebecca and her friend arrived, and we all moved down even closer, but between home and third.

We stayed there the whole game.

80 dollar seats for 25 each. Not a bad deal. Thank you inclement weather.

Jeremi Gonzalez was great. We gave him a standing O. The Millar three-run double looked awesome from our angle. A very good game one.

In about the eighth inning, something happened to me that's never happened to me before and never will again. I felt something hit me behind my right shoulder. It hit with a real thud, the kind that makes you immediately think you may be seriously injured, until you realize that it doesn't even hurt, like, say, when a Nerf football hits you unexpectedly. I looked back and to the right, figuring somebody threw something, and I probbaly wouldn't find out who. Either that or a bag of peanuts went astray from an inaccurate vendor. I saw nothing. No sign of a thrower, or even an object. Beach ball? Nah, wrong area of the park, and this was more substantial than that. I notice the red-haired girl to my right with a look on her face that suggested she was about to cry. She looked at me and said, "That was a bird."

She pointed down below the seat in front of her, and there was this poor bird, laying on the wet concrete, struggling with not much luck to move it's head and wings. Then the commotion started. "What the-- Where did that come from? What happened?" I watched as the bird's movements slowly came to a stop. It was dead. I was still trying to grasp the fact that a bird just slammed into my shoulder, fell to the ground, and died. We all kind of figured it must have slammed into the glass of the .406 club, and fell to the ground, not before my shoulder broke it's fall. Which would make sense if the .406 club was directly above us, but we were at least twenty feet to the side of it. Maybe the bird came in from an angle, or maybe it flew a little to the right as it was falling. I'll never know, I guess.

After game one, we went to the ticket office and got tickets to game two, which started at five. Then we went to a Mexican place to get food. There, we talked about what it means when a bird dies on you. Because if a bird crapping on you is good luck, the entire bird landing on you must be, like, the holy grail. I just remember Rebecca saying, "It touched you last."

Well, maybe it wasn't good luck, because the Sox lost game two. We were all pretty baffled at Cla coming in for his major league debut in such a key situation. The grand slam looked wind-aided, though.

The three home runs or near-home runs by Ortiz were great pieces of art. Again, we sat behind the plate, and even though more seats filled in for game two, we never had to move. We really picked the exact right places to go, for good seats held by people who never showed up, and for birds falling out of the sky.

There was an Elvis a few rows in front of us. He wore a Red Sox hat. He was a pretty weak Elvis. I called him the "Bedazzler Elvis." He did stand up for "Sweet Caroline," and pretended to sing it Elvis-style, though. I tried to think of what kind of schtick I'd add to my own Elvis, if I were to choose such a career path. The best I could come up with was "The Obviously-Had-No-Help-From-His-Parents-With-The-Costume Elvis." Which is a Simpsons rip-off. ("I'm Idaho!")

We also got our ring-raffle tickets. So they are still available, but they're only selling 200,000. So act fast.

This has been a weird day or so. Not quite like Butch's day in Pulp Fiction. But maybe as close as you're gonna get on what was supposed to be a pretty routine trip.

Well of course the Yankees fans in the Mohegan Sun didn't cheer for Steinbrenner. Why would they? The Yankees are under .500. Remember what they did to Jeter last season when he was in that horrible slump? If the Yanks keep losing, the fans are shortly going to be booing Steinbrenner like that.
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Location: Rhode Island, United States