Friday, January 19, 2007

T-Zone No Longer Oily

Today, Trot Nixon's 13-year run with the Boston Red Sox organization came to an end, as he signed with the Native Ohioan Peoples.

I want to bring up something that no one has yet, as far as I know. Take a look at the above perfectly accurate depiction of Fenway Park's main seating bowl. ("Seating bowl" is the funniest term in sports. Besides "puck." I use it whenever I can.) See the pine-tar colored area with the little Ts? What do these people have in common? That's right, the closest Red Sox fielder to their seat, for the better part of the last eight years, has been Christopher Trotman Nixon.

Now realize how big that portion of the crowd is in relation to the rest of the park. That's a good third of the paying customers. One in every three Sox fans at Fenway on any given day takes more pictures of Trot Nixon than any other guy. Out of nine guys.

The center fielder gets a nice chunk of the bleachers, but they start 18 feet above field level. Manny gets the Monster Seats, plus that whole side of the left field grandstand. Maybe you could say the first and third basemen have little rooting sections, and the people by the dugouts get to cheer everybody up close. But there may not be another player in the four major sports who has a bigger exclusive rooting section relative to the rest of the crowd than the right fielder at Fenway Park.

What else do all the people in Trot's area have in common? Just that. They're the common fan. i.e. shitty seats! He's got the bleacher bums. The college kids who say "woo!" a lot. The upper bleacher, "I can't even afford food because this was my last 12 bucks" crowd. The "Dunkin Dugout" aka "poor kids" crew. The "I thought row one would be good but the bullpen fence is directly in my line of sight" schlubs. The "ooh, right field box! Box=good, right?" folks who end up with home plate directly to their left and have to look over their shoulder, craning their neck while staring directly into the sun or some stranger's ear for four hours. The people who get stuck behind Pesky's Pole. The young families who get talked into grandstand seats that not only don't face the field, and are not only a hundred feet away from it, and about 500 from home plate, but are made of wood and were constructed in 1933. The ones who think everything's okay because their section's pole is not in front of them when they face forward, but when they turn 45 degrees to the left, another pole is right in the way of home plate.

These are Trot's people. I have a ten-game plan, and those seats are in Trot's zone. We kinda like this guy, is what I'm sayin'. I wonder if the front office thought of this. How can you replace Trot? He was the perfect guy for this segment of Fenway's population. Can JD Drew fill these shoes? I guess he could come out strong, hit a lot of massive dongs, and we'll cheer him out there. But he's never gonna be Trot Nixon. Wait, do we even have Drew yet? Who knows at this point...

New England will miss you, Trot. See you on Memorial Day--sadly, in a gray jersey, with a horrible stereotype on your filthy, filthy hat. That will be some ovation.

Now, we all know there's that whole white guilt thing with scrappy guys who get credit, seemingly because of their "normal" looks. I know this is a real problem, but sometimes you gotta realize that a guy is loved because he's just that awesome. I'd hope if Trot were black, he'd be just as loved. I know that in America, terribly, it wouldn't be that way. But as a person who doesn't judge people by the tone of their skin, I'm proud to say I love Trot. He'll be an inspiration to dirty hat wearers like myself for years after he's gone.

Above: The T-Zone. Below: Trot walks off the Fenway field for the last time in a Red Sox uniform.

Great Post Gere--and you are absolutely right--there will never be another player like Trot Nixon--I always felt like he would lay down and die if that is what it took for the Sox to win--he will be missed...

I just hope JD Drew is WORTH all this drama--although I fear he will not be...

Great drawing as well...did you draw that? and is it to scale ? ;-)D
Thanks! Yes, all pics taken/drawn by me. I prefer, and am better with, pencil/pen, but Photoshop or paint programs allow me to skip the scanning step. It probably is pretty close to scale, heh. I've looked at that seating chart probably more than any other single diagram in my life. I could draw it in my sleep.
I too agree with Christine...a stellar post. I will miss Trot, and my seats for the '67 World Series were just there....and '86 too. In '75? Wow, right behind first base, 3rd row, to see Looie spin a gem against the so strong Reds. With my Mom, and a weekend off from colege in Pa. What a year! Bruce Hurst pitched...And the shadow of Dewey will ALWAYS be there for me. Thanks Jere!
In '86, Brucie pitched.....and won. But then the Shea Stadium antics changed a year to remember with a smile to a year that will always be rememberable, if not with a smile, then with a proud sense of "we were there...we should have done it."
So much sweetness amongst the bitterness of WHAT HAPPENED.
Thanks for the memories, Trot...the one and only DIRT DOG.
One of the best Trot posts I've read. And it's true, even though they are pretty shitty seats, I always seem to sit there because of Trot. I'm pretty sure I've sat there for every game I've been to except for 2 of them.

Trot's still the best. We're all gonna miss him.
Wow, the girl sits out there BECAUSE of Trot. That's hard core.
What can I say...
Of course, over the last three seasons, all those fans sitting in the "T-Zone" only actually got to watch Trot Nixon play on average about 56% of the time; the other 44% somebody else was playing RF for the Sox.

I always like Trot a lot, going back to following him in the minors after Lou Gorman drafted him. I was there sitting behind the plate for his walk-off in Game 3 of the 2003 ALDS...I told my friend, who wasn't a big Trot fan, right before he hit it that if Trot won the game for us, we were heading right over to the Souvenir Store and getting Nixon t-shirts. I was also there in the Loge at the Toilet for Game 6 of the 2003 ALCS; I had kept very quiet until Trot's 2-run hr iced that game, at which point I spontaneously jumped up and shouted. Three sections of Yankee fans started chanting "Ass-hole" at me, and I had to watch my back leaving the Stadium.

I wish Trot well in Cleveland, but I think he would have been better off moving over to the NL, where he probably could have had relative success against a bunch of rh fastball pitchers for a while. And I've said this here before, but it's the 2003 version of Trot that I would have re-signed; the 2006 version of Trot Nixon just wasn't good enough anymore to be a full-time corner outfielder on an AL team expected to make the playoffs. The fact that he had to settle for a one year, $3mm contract pretty much confirms that; he's only going to platoon in RF with Casey Blake for the Tribe. If he struggles, they'll probably give his role to Shin-Soo Choo. My sentimental side kinda wishes the Sox had offered him $3mm to be a reserve, but Hinske provides much more flexibility in that role.
Oh, and I was also there in Tiger Stadium on July 24, 1999 when Trot hit 3-hrs against Detroit in an 11-4 victory. It was his first multiple hr game, and those were the 4th, 5th and 6th of his career. It was the last series the Sox ever played at Tiger Stadium.
Nice job being at all those key games. July 99--That's around the time I went to Tiger Stadium. I saw a Yankee game, and had my little "chat" with Clemens.

Baseball Almanac says Trot's nickname is "Volcano." I've never heard this.

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