Stephen Strasburg was the story of the night. Except for Bryce Harper, who was another story. And this is the view from my actual seat! Let's go back to the beginning and whatnot.
First, I took a Fenway tour with my e-friend and now real-life friend, Richard Miller, and his wife, Ellen. You may know Richard from his multi-faceted website, Miller's Time. This guy does a lot, and says a lot about it. He also holds yearly contests, one of which I won. Tickets to tonight's game was my prize. But since he was in the area, we were able to meet up and do a tour.
Here we are at the end of the tour. We had a fun time walking around Fenway and talking, but all three of us agreed that the tour itself was crappy. We'd been before, but this was supposed to be the "new and improved" tour. It DID disappoint. Admittedly, parts of the park were skipped since it was a game day tour, but still: you couldn't hear the guy even when his belt-speaker was working, lots of info about the park was left out, the whole "living museum" aspect with all the plaques and memorabilia was completely ignored, and to top it off, one of the staffers was incredibly rude to everyone at the end. My recommendation: unless you can do it in the off-season, skip the tour, and just go to a game and walk around the park. The plaques will tell you what the host doesn't. Google the rest, or e-mail me, I'll fill you in.
Also at this game was Zack Hample. He was approaching 6,000 balls snagged lifetime, and actually held back at his last game at Yankee Stadium so he could reach the milestone at Fenway tonight. He even hired a videographer to capture the moment! (Zack's at left, the videographer's at right.) I knew Zack would be waiting at the RSN early entry, so I headed over there after the tour and talked to him and some other people he was with, including Fenway-snagger Mike, the guy I showed you a picture of out at the camera well a few weeks ago. I missed batting practice at this game, since Kim and I went to dinner in the 5-7 range, but it turns out there was no BP anyway, something Zack was quite pissed about.
And shortly after Kim and I took our incredible seats (thanks again, Richard!), I spotted Zack over on the visitors' dugout. As of right now, he has yet to blog or tweet about tonight's game, so I have no idea how his snagging went, but I have to assume he reached the milestone, as he was sitting on 5,998 going in. [Update, 2:58 a.m.: Nine minutes ago, Zack tweeted that he indeed got #6,000. So he's at least 5,979 balls ahead of me.]
Here's Paula Abdul with Wally.
The Red Sox have been doing that thing lately where kids get to run out onto the field with the players. So, like, here's a picture of that. Pictured are Nava, Aviles, Pedroia, Billy, Jimmy, Dawn, Sebastian...aw fuck it, I'm making these up.
Bryce Harper on deck in the first inning. More on him later because I already wrote it below and now I'm adding this picture and...just move on.
We actually got off to a good start against Strasburg, taking a 2-0 lead. And Doubront looked okay at the beginning too. But soon we'd be down 7-2, with Strasburg striking out 13. This guy's change-up was 89-92. His fastball was 96-100. In case you haven't heard, he and The Beatles are a big deal. He had our hitters pretty baffled.
Here we are scoring early in the game on a hit by Aviles.
LaRoche has this angled Ichiro thing goin' on.
Here's the 19-year old Bryce Harper on third. This dude became the third teenager since 1940 to have three hits in a game at Fenway. One was a dong. Speaking of history, Strasburg was the youngest guy to strike out 13 at Fenway since the 1986 Clemens 20 K game.
A great night temperature-wise, but there were two major downpours before the game, and several showers during the game.
Above is a video of Youk getting ejected. We had a few squanders and would lose 7-4.
Andrew Miller on the hill late in the game.
One to add to my Broken Bat Collection. This ump was very proactive--on every broken bat he'd go running out to get it instead of letting the bat boy do all the work.
That one field, on our way back to the car. It was great how this whole field was lighted but empty, with darkness around it, and then the city in the background. I attempted to capture this but I feel I kinda failed. Still an okay shot though.
Brick of the game: These Nebraskans! As someone who is also a "NE HUSKER"--from going to school there--I was happy to see this. I looked up that name and I see the J.A. is also a Jerry! Though he spells it weird....
Updated standings in our contest are at the bottom of the original post. Ryan looking good! Two games left....
On the way home we heard the Paw Sox were in the 13th inning. I thought about going there to catch the end, but Kim was asleep and it would be weird to park at McCoy, leave her in the car, lock the doors, and go see more baseball with her potentially waking up not knowing where she--or I--was. But I did think about it! But when I flipped on the game on 920 AM, JUST as we passed the McCoy exits, Lavarnway made the final out, so the decision was made for me. The only reason they were talking about it was because Rob Bradford was waiting to talk to Bard--who pitched only in the first inning, meaning the reporters all had to wait 12 innings to talk to the one guy they cared about.
Also, Marlon Byrd was DFA'd to make room for Dice-K, who pitches tomorrow.
And finally, why was I so intent on getting all that blank brick in the shot above Zack and the videographer? And why don't I just crop it now? Because I'm going to bed. Good night all, and thank you once again Richard for the awesome tickets, and the tour!
# posted by Jere : Saturday, June 09, 2012 3:23:00 AM
Jere, it was a pleasure meeting you, and hopefully I will see you on the center field wall in a few weeks when I go to my next game. Thanks for mentioning me in your blog, and I look forward to reading more of your entries.
# posted by Anonymous : Saturday, June 09, 2012 7:31:00 AM
Good meeting up and glad you got to see the two 'new' Nats do what they've sbeen doing this year. Despite the hype, and even when it's against our Sox, it's great to watch them early in their careers. You gotta appreciate good baseball, no matter who produces it. Good post and good to hear you considered topping off the evening at McCoy. Did Kim enjoy actually being able to see a Sox game? Richard.
# posted by MillersTime : Saturday, June 09, 2012 8:51:00 AM
Yes, Kim loved not being 500 feet away in the bleachers! It's funny, I probably would have done the obvious and showed mainly pics of Stras and Harp as far as Nats go, since I really don't follow the NL, but they were the stars anyway so it worked out. Although I would have preferred a win. But yes, good to see young stars in their early days.
# posted by Jere : Saturday, June 09, 2012 12:11:00 PM
And Mike--nice to meet you too, no problem. That's some OpenID handle you got there, haha.
# posted by Jere : Saturday, June 09, 2012 3:06:00 PM
What's wrong with the bleachers?
# posted by Section 36 : Saturday, June 09, 2012 10:35:00 PM
I've got glasses/contacts, she doesn't!
# posted by Jere : Saturday, June 09, 2012 10:38:00 PM