Had a single ticket, Coke deck standing room. My third ALCS game, lifetime. Parked free since it was Sunday, short walk to ballpark after eating my super burrito from Anna's. Above, the new Fenway T station still under construction. I like this shot because it appears to the outsider that it's just a parking lot/construction site, but in actuality you can see Fenway, the Pru, and, if you know where to look, the top of the Citgo sign.
Got there way early (5:45 for an 8:15 start), entered with my RSN card (I lost my card but I always show them my original confirmation e-mail on my ipod touch, and they always don't even care and just assume I'm telling the truth.) I thought it was kind of cool to see that "Stay Strong" banner rolled up on the other side of the fence. And fortunately I went right down to the fence instead of doing my "hang back and get every single ball that goes past the front row" routine since there were hardly any fans around. Because Papi hit a high fly ball that landed on the warning track. And as any Fenway BP-er knows, if hit hits track (not grass), it can and will bounce up high enough where you can grab in on a hop 18 feet up. For this ball, it would have cleared the wall, I didn't even have to lean out and over. I positioned myself perfectly, then watched it come right up...
...and into my waiting hands. An easy play, but I was fundamentally sound and watched it all the way into my two bare hands right out in front of me. I was hoping for some kind of special ALCS ball, but this was a regular. Good wear on the thing, though, not all pure and white and boring. It's my 26th ball, and the Red Sox would later improve to 14-5 in games in which I've gotten at least one. I hardly went to any games this year due to my work schedule, causing me to be shut out all regular season. But now I had my 2013 ball, and I knew the rest of BP was gravy, as I'm always happy to just get one.
David Ross talking to the sons of David Ortiz and Victor Martinez. Lil' Papi had thrown a ball or two up into the small crowd at this point, so I held out hope I could get him to toss me one....
Prince Fielder tackling Lil' Martinez. Would have been a great shot if D'Angelo hadn't been in the way. Oh well. So then Papi hits another ball that's headed for the stands. If it gets over that front row, it's mine....
And it did. Just over the hands of everybody along the fence, I run down to row 2 and snag it off a seat. Again, a regular ball, but, again, pretty good markings. Background shows spot where I got it.
Moon over Fenway. Sox BP ended, but Papi's son stayed out there. Finally, he turned around and I could tell he wanted to throw a ball into the stands. I put my arms up, and had a good feeling he'd shoot for me since I was the biggest challenge, a few rows behind everyone else. And he did. And even though his throw was way to my right...
...it nested into a seat and I easily grabbed it and gave him a thumbs-up, which he totally didn't see. And as you see here, it was a postseason ball! Woohoo! I now have three commemorative balls, this one, a Fenway Park 100th anniversary one, and a Camden Yards 20th anniversary one.
Section for extra media out in the RFGS. Hardly any media ended up sitting there!
I'm finally headed around the park to go up to the pavilion level. Here's a shot from Canvas Alley.
People watching the Patriots game on the TV, behind home plate.
Seeing that the 10-spot-long Coke deck SRO section was already filled, and considering it's really far away and that I can probably just go anywhere up on that level with my ticket, I just went to a pavilion SRO spot on the third base side as close to home plate as possible. Here's the postseason logo, roped off, from my perch. (I wish they'd put an ALCS logo out there instead.)
Bootleg panorama of my view. Wasn't too windy up there, which kept it reasonable. Still needed a sweatshirt but not bad overall.
The scoreboard. Okay, check this out...
Here's the logo on the ball I got earlier.
The banner I'd seen all rolled up before.
Clay getting filmed by the Fox camera guy.
Dave Roberts threw out the first ball.
The action and whatnot. After 4 or 5 innings, annoyed by the fact that we had no hits, and that I had a few Tigers fans around me, and that the pavilion people just kind of sit there and you can't hear the crowd below very well, I decided I needed to be downstairs.
I went out to right field for a while, among the truest Fenway fans, who were really trying to get things going even when we were down 5-0 and had no hits.
Then I went to left field for a while, before finally deciding I could see enough empty seats that maybe I could snag a good one.
And I did, last row of the field boxes, in the 8th inning. Above, Cabrera.
And with Scherzer out (I kept watching his pitch count and knew it was a little high and that we'd eventually see a new pitcher--but that was the only thing keeping hope alive), the magic began. Here's Prince at the beginning of the inning.
Middlebrooks would double to start the rally.
Dustin and Shane getting ready during one of 1,000 Tigers pitching changes.
Dustin up. He would single to load the bases, with us down by 4.
With 2 outs, Papi headed to the plate.
Pedroia at first. And Papi would launch a long liner to right. Torii Hunter went head over heels into the bullpen along with the ball, and it was absolute bedlam in the stands. My video of this and the game-winning hit are here
The four runs that tied the game on one swing up on the board.
Koji came in. It was just a little practice on our way to the inevitable win.
In the 9th, Gomes hit a grounder to the left side. But all I could concentrate on was the bat that was flying toward me. I filmed it as it went into the stands to my left, thinking the grounder was foul, and if fair, an out. As I watched a cop pick up the bat, I heard a cheer. Gomes got to second on a bad throw by Iglesias. And here I was clueless! Of course, I had an excuse because I wanted to make sure I didn't die.
Screenshot of Jonny Wadd Gomes's bat barrel flying through the Boston night.
A wild pitch and/or passed ball got Gomes to third. All we needed was a fly ball now. But we got a hit. Again, see it happen from my perspective here
Papi interviewed after the game.
One of the most memorable nights at Fenway ever. I'd like to really, really, really thank my mom for offering that I buy a ticket with her money as that classic "early Xmas gift."
I stuck around for quite a while, and saw the media waiting to head into the Detroit clubhouse. Apparently Don Cornelius guards the door!
The Tigers' bags packed and ready.
Miguel Cabrera heads out. Probably could have seen all the Tigers come out but security was kicking us out at that point. Then I stood in the background of the NESN postgame on Yawkey Way. People were going nuts but it was partly because the NESN people were telling them to for a fake reaction shot. So I'm not showing my video of that. The end.