Saturday, April 14, 2012

Home Opening Day Gallery

The sky was extra blue today, my friend. After parking on my special meter-free, no-tickets-given street and walking a mile to Fenway, I arrived seconds before the gates opened, and cruised right into the ballpark. Or at least to the ticket-taker. As you know, I had a "digital ticket," which means my ticket existed not physically, but within the magnetic strip of my credit card, which they would swipe at the gate. Only some of the ticket-takers have the magic swiping machine, and I was directed to one. As you also know, my card was "compromised" shortly after I bought the ticket, meaning I had to get a new credit card with a new number. I called the ticket office and gave them my new card number, and they did the transfer, even calling me back to confirm the ticket was on the new card. But I still feared the worst. And today, when the guy swiped, it didn't work. Tried again, tried entering the number, while people got pissed behind me, still nothing. I had to go to the nearby ticket services window, and the woman was very nice and apologetic, and finally confirmed everything was fine, but had to print out a ticket. After a ten-minute delay, I was finally inside Fenway Park. (The good thing about all this is I have a ticket as a souvenir--but the bad isn't over, as I bought several games on that same order, and will probably have to go through this crap every time.)

As we thought, the retired numbers are back in the order they were retired after a long, numerical-order hiatus.

The Sox were done hitting by the time I got in. Here's old friend and native son Carlos Pena.

Opening Day in the year Fenway turns 100.

The red, white, and blue buntings are in place!

They had the scoreboards in full-page mode in pre-game, showing pics from through the years. I took this one to show fans of the past (who happen to all be nuns) vs. fans of the present. I cropped it to mess with your head.

Those pole trucks always come out for big events.

More stuff on the boards--was trying to make it look like the Citgo sign was extending out from one of them.

People looking for their bricks on the ground.

The Red Sox Hall of Fame banners, and more buntings.

Am. flag and 100 Years flag.

Beckett holding the wall up per his routine.

The 100 Years logo on the field.

Fenway, Boston, and the red carpet. I had a seat in the last row of the bleachers, but I tried to get upstairs and succeeded. Got some good shots up there, but I figured being in the sun and sitting would be better than being in the cold shade and standing, so I'd eventually go back to my real seat just as the ceremony was starting. It was a classic Fenway April day where if you're in the sun, you're comfortable (and actually hot when the wind stops), but if you're stuck in shade, you're in your winter layers and drinking hot chocolate.

Yawkey Way partially hidden by partial foliage.

On my way back down, I found myself behind that Fenway Park sign by Gate D.

The Pops.

I think these people were up here, on a rooftop across Lansdowne St., for the flyover. (If you're not a Fenway regular, and if it isn't obvious from the pic, the Citgo sign is not on the roof these people are on--it's much farther away.)

Valentine greets Maddon as the teams are announced. This freak show could sell out Caesar's Palace 300 nights a year.

Your 2012 Boston Red Sox, ready to not be judged on 3/81 of the season.

I pretty much nailed this prediction: Wake and Tek throwing out the first ball(s) and each getting their own day later in the year. I had suggested Tek catching Wake, but Tek deserves to throw the pitch for once. They had Jim Rice and Dwight Evans catching them.

Wake and Tek wave to the cheering crowd, which includes some Rays.

L-R: Jim Ed, Wake, Dewey, Tek. Pesky said "play ball." And Beckett indeed had that 5% secret idiot society boo him before the cheers took over.

Next is the flyover video. I don't care about the military aspect of it, but loud, low planes flying by is always fun--turn your volume up.

Josh Beckett throws the first official pitch of 2012 at Fenway Park. Notice how the buntings down at field level are different than the "classic" ones you see elsewhere--maybe they're stuck up against the wall like that to avoid players or the ball getting caught up in them.

I was in row 50, right about at the edge of the bleachers near the gap.

Looking to my left.

The vertical view from my seat.

David Ortiz had a check-swing single early on that gave us a 3-1 lead.

I'm never big on action shots at Red Sox games (other than maybe a pitch or a swing), just because I don't want to miss what happens on a play. But with Ellsbury running, I figured I try one. And it happened to be the play where he gets landed on. He could be out for a while. The next few shots are from that play:

Did you notice that in the second-to-last shot, Bobby V is looking on, down on one knee with a concerned look, and then in the last picture, he's still in that pose, even though everyone, including the injured man, has started to walk away!?

Sweeney replaced Jacoby in the leadoff spot, and was greeted in right field with a green beach ball.

At one point, Eliot from Jordan's walked all around the stands, greeting the people who got Opening Day tickets for buying furniture. He ended up at the Jordan's sign, which is part of their "hit the sign" promotion, and pointed at it happily. The guy is so well-known from his ads that run during games and from their Red Sox-related promos, people were constantly yelling his name and getting pics and autographs.

We put the game away with 8 runs in the 8th, thanks partly to this Lueke guy. Watch what happens to his ERA:

But he keeps on smiling!

A high view of the bricks. Isn't it funny how Fenway did this brick thing in an area that was already there? Usually brick-inscriptions go along with the bricks used to build a new place. The Red Sox did it with an existing building. And I'm sure people will criticize them of making money off us, but, I think it would be cool to have my name permanently inside Fenway Park. And I would have done it if it was more affordable. So, to clarify, I will criticize the price of the bricks, but not the fact that they're selling them.

8 in the 8th! A lucky number on Friday the 13th.

We really kicked their asses today.

The view looking behind you if you're in the last row of the bleachers.

I didn't look at the bricks up close until after the game and the victory song trilogy. I made no attempt to go to good seats at the end, even though with a 10-run lead, plenty were available. I decided to stay in the last row until the whole park was cleared out. So then I went to the Gate B bricks, and saw the various stars' hand-prints, which is also a way to locate your brick, as there's one star per section. (Some people just had their name with no hand-prints, including Nomar and Millar, who you'd think would be easy to find.) Here's my old fave Mike Greenwell.

And here's Castiglione. Orsillo has one, too. I didn't see all of them. I wonder if there's a Gedman. Or a Janet-Marie Smith. Or a Trupe! The possibilities are endless. Well, short of grave-digging, we'll just leave it as "numerous."

Other stuff:

At one point in batting practice, I was right down at the wall in right, and a teenage kid threw his jacket down to stop a ball rolling past. At that point, the scheming began. "Hold his feet and dangle him down!" But the security guy (the one who looks like an adult version of the kid in Billy Madison who says "hey, Billy peed his pants too!") was having none of it. He came over and asked the guy who he was with as he picked up the jacket and the ball. The kid announced who was in his party, probably scared they were all about to be ejected, and the guy goes, "okay, then I'll give it to this guy," and hands the ball to a younger kid who wasn't with them! Normally those guys say they're not allowed to touch the balls, but in this case, I guess since it was already tampered with by non-player clothing, its ownership left the visiting team and became Fenway property. Or maybe he just really wanted to make that joke.

A couple of at bat songs I noticed--Pedroia with that "wrapped up like a douche" song, and Ross with Bon Jovi's Livin' on a Prayer.

You know how Welch's is gonna have that "world's biggest toast" at the 100th anniversary game? Well they're showing a little highlight reel on the scoreboard to go along with it called "Sparkling Moments at Fenway." However, one of the moments is at the old Yankee Stadium! It's the Yastrzemski catch from 1967. I guess they got confused by the left field scoreboard...which looks nothing like the Fenway one! And isn't on a giant green wall! Again, it's a case of: didn't one person who knows anything about baseball take a peek at the video before it went live? Apparently not.

Kelly Shoppach made possibly the worst slide ever. He was headed for second on some kind of delayed steal (or maybe it just seemed that way since he's so slow), with another runner on third. The throw was late, and the fielder caught it, forgetting about Shoppach and only worrying about the guy at third possibly bolting for the plate. But Kelly started his slide way, way before the bag. Even if he'd made a regular slide, he never would have reached second base. But his cleats caught, propelling his body forward, and he headed face-first toward the ground. But since he was still so far from the bag, he had to make a head-first dive to get to it. The fielder actually had enough time to go back and tag him, just too late. So he was safe, but it was far from pretty. The scoreboard showed a close-up of him on second, hands on knees, bent over, trying to keep a straight face. I don't know if there's video of this online, but it was hilarious so I'd like to see it again. (And see how accurate my description was, as I only saw it once, from hundreds of feet away.)

Interesting new stuff on the scoreboard for player stats/info: It comes up onto a "scoreboard" in the same way the numbers are put in place on the Monster manual board, complete with rust stains on the botto of the numbers. Check out the vid:

Nice pics! I like the retired numbers being back in chronological order. I noticed that they had done that in JetBlue Park for spring training, but it never occurred to me that they'd be changing it at Fenway. Love the Lueke keeps on smiling sequence too.

I was in section 33, almost directly across from your seat, but it's funny that I got a lot of the same pics - Beckett holding up the wall, Papi's check-swing RBI single, and Jacoby sliding into second. Because I clicked just as his foot reached the bag and my camera freezes the picture on the screen for a second, and because a pole was placed so that I could see the 2nd base bag but not the second baseman, I completely missed seeing Brignac land on him.
Hmm. Neither of you were in Section 36? Too bad.
RSD: That's cool we got the same pic from opposite angles. And I don't know if you saw my post from Thursday where I went to Fenway and saw the retired numbers outside the park--that's when I knew the Florida thing wasn't an accident.

Sec36: Wind blowing in (ish) and in April, no BP homers go to center field, so I wasn't in 36 for ball-snagging or anything else. Kinda rare I go a game without being over there at some point...
Jere, I need your help with my latest mission. I'm trying to find all the plaques around Fenway that commemorate various historical things. They keep saying there are 100, but unless they're counting all the ones in the RS HOF, I'm definitely missing something. I went through my pics from the last 3 years quickly, and came up with the following: . I also have a pic of one from '09 that says "Smith Building" which is way too blurry. I also know there's a second "Copper Tanks" one near the "Automotive Elevator Doors" that I've never bothered to photograph. And I saw on TV the other day that there's a "Canvas Alley" one. Add those to the 15 in my album, and I'm still 82 short. :)

I'm assuming some are in places we can't normally go, like the Green Monster ones, so I want to be on the lookout at the Open House on Thursday. Can you think of any others from past years that I'm forgetting, or have you noticed any other new ones this year? Thanks!
Okay, let's get one thing out of the way--I went to your gallery, got to picture 3, and noticed they have "Ted William" on the Copper Tanks plaque!!!!!!! Unbelievable. Okay, going back to it I see you noticed a "typo," too, I take it that's the one you meant. Moving on....okay, now I see the updated 2011 one. I should have looked at the whole gallery before writing this....

So, I think there's one for the Jeano Building maybe? And maybe another near the Third Base Deck, something about radio or something. Can't think of any more off top of head, but I'll definitely be on the lookout for new ones at the Open House too!
I just noticed one more in today's post-game show, over PGammo's shoulder. Looked like it was next to the big green doors of Gate D out on Yawkey Way.

And yes, terrible job on "Ted William". I don't have any pics of that sign from '10 - or later in '09 - to know if they fixed it sooner.

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