Thursday, August 05, 2010

A New Era has changed, even adding a rare slogan, though it's more of a statement ("The home of Red Sox Nation"). Of course, in this era of boring uniformity by MLB, this means that ALL the sites have changed--all going to the wrap-around background. Most clubs use a photo of their field. At least we did something a little different, going with a shot of the Green Monster scoreboard. Here's the photo on its own, with the middle cut out for the actual content. (You'll also see this on, you may just have to stretch your browser window horizontally.)

So, of course, seeing the active scoreboard, I had to figure out what game it was from. The trained eye (read: big nerd) recognizes this as the old, smaller scoreboard that started when the NL scores left in the 60s, and ended a few years ago when they came back. You also see that the Sox' pitcher is #21, while the Yanks have #57 going. The last guy to wear 21 for us was Clemens, so this is most likely a game between '84 and '96. And Steve Howe wore 57 for them for many years--'91 to '96.

After looking at all the games from '91 to '96, I found no game that matched. (You can tell they scored 0 in the first and we most likely had a 1. And you can see some other game scores on the right.) Then I worked backwards, all the way to the 60s, even though the team ending with "A" playing Oakland was most likely SEA, meaning the game is '77 or later. I was stumped. It seemed so easy, like I had to be missing something. I checked again. No matches. I even checked that Mets-Sox Jimmy Fund game in September '86.

Finally it hit me. I thought I'd checked over the Yanks' numerical roster (Baseball Almanac is great for this) for every year in question--but I'd forgotten to check Howe's years, making the assumption he was the ONLY Yankee to wear 57 from '91 to '96. So it hit me--in his first or last year, someone else could have worn 57 before he got to the team or after he left. I checked his final year, and sure enough, someone else wore #57 that year, too. Ramiro Mendoza. So I knew I had it! (And if this wasn't right I would have been really pissed.)

So I checked the '96 games, and there it was. Penultimate game of the season, Saturday, September 28th, 1996. Clemens pitching against Pettitte, but Mendoza came in to start the third. We also see that #2 is at bat--that's Jeter since our #2 that year, Alex Cole, wasn't in that game. While Mendoza was in the game, Jeter batted twice, in the 4th and 7th. Since the game started that day at 1:05, and those two other games we see on there did too and they're both in the 6th inning, I'd say our game was in the 7th, not the 4th.

So there you go. 9/28/96. Yanks lead 3-1. Jeter is leading off the 7th against Clemens, and he'll ground out, Nomar to Mo. Joe Girardi is on deck. It's probably a little after 3:00 in the afternoon...and I know exactly where I was!

I was living at home. My friend Mike the Yankee fan was just starting his senior year of college at BC, and I had gone up to visit him and catch a Sox-Yanks game. This was Friday night, September 27th, 1996. We sat in the left field grandstand for a price that's way lower than what you'd pay today. We had bets going on which team would hit the most triples in the game. And in the top of the ninth, the Sox got the second out, and I stood up immediately. Mike said, "You stand when there's two strikes, not two outs, son." And I said, "Not against the Yankees." And the whole crowd proceeded to stand along with me. (I always think of this--the other night when the Sox lost in Seattle, I saw some M's fans stand when they got the second out, and I thought of the Yankee rule and that night back in '96.)

The next day, driving back to southwest Connecticut, I stopped in Old Saybrook--these were the final days of my grandpa's cottage, as it would soon be sold. The tiny TV with the earpiece on the back porch was long gone. A normal TV had been installed in the little front room. I sat in the cottage by myself, having just turned 21, watching my favorite childhood pitcher throw his last game in a Sox uniform, in one of my last visits to one of my favorite childhood places, at the end of the Yankee World Series drought that was pretty much all I'd known my whole life. I would also enter the world of "actually having a girlfriend" the next spring. (Yes I just admitted I didn't have a girlfriend till I was 21. What do want, I was selective. Oh wait, I mean...they were selective.)

What I'm trying to say is, the background of the Red Sox website kind of represents the line between childhood and adulthood for me.

No biggie.

I lived in Kentucky in 1996, but my parents and brother both went to the final game of that season, the day after the game in the picture. This pic, which I had on the front page of my website in its early years, was from that Sunday, 9/29/96.
Nice. Thanks.
Nice post, Jere. The words flow from your Mac.

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Location: Rhode Island, United States