Saturday, October 05, 2013

Marching On

What I love so far about this series is how we've just played the way we have all season, and more often than not it ends up as a win. Only a few pressure spots in this one, but we came through with a couple of HUGE double plays to end late-inning threats. Then Papi pulls a Daryl Strawberry Game 7-esque insurance dong and Koji throws nothing but strikes and it's in the books. 7-4 win, up 2 games to 0. Game 3 is Monday at 6:00 in the Tampa vicinity. We were all over Price tonight, despite Maddon claiming we were just lucky. Funny how they always say how Price "still has it" and is "locked in" and is "getting better as the game goes on" even after he's given up SIX runs! It's like the yearly "take away May, June, and that one stretch in August, and Derek Jeter's your clear MVP" argument.

What I'm trying to say is, great job by our guys tonight. TWO-zip!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I love it. As evidenced by the volume of exclamation points used heretofore.

A few things about tonight:

First let's start with the fan of the night:

Go Huskers! (They kicked Illinois butt today--yeah I know, I haven't talked about them much this year, so here ya go: We've done a good job against our patsies, aside from an extreme scare in week one, but that UCLA game, damn, we were up 21-3 I think, at home, and proceeded to give up like 40 unanswered points. Boy am I glad I don't listen to Lincoln/Omaha sports radio. Anyway, we can still win the B1G, as our national title hopes are pretty much dashed with the one big L.)

Isn't it great (if you're like me, which you may not be) to see the low-angle "classic" center field cam for these national TV games!? So key. With the HD, it's like you're right behind the pitcher, instead of floating up in space with the pitcher/batter taking up about a fifth of the screen, with giant patches of nothing on each side. That being proverbially said, TBS occasionally goes with the behind-the-plate cam on pitches, and when the ball's hit, the audience is left clueless. Tonight there were at least three times when they did it where the ball was put in play. Seems like every time they did it, that happened. I wish they'd just show that on replays. It's a cool view but I kinda need to know what's happening. And it's their job to show us.

Remember when that fan got hit in the face? You saw that the ball hit the tarp in front of him, causing it to deflect up and into his grill, right? That's an incredibly tough play, to know that a ball is either gonna go at your chest or your face, with not enough time to readjust. You have to make a judgment and put your hands where you think the ball will go, and then pray to your non-deity or deity of choice that it goes there. The guy chose chest, and it went face. Nothing he could have done. But the damn announcer then quips, "it's always good to bring your glove." Terrible job. His glove would have been on his hand in front of his chest as the ball hit him in the face.

I see Linsday Bucking-hholz has moved up. She's usually a few rows behind the plate, whether Clay is pitching or not, but tonight she was in row 2 with her baby on her lap, next to Kapstein.

No replay on the play where Dustin supposedly was tagged on the hip pocket? Looked Knoblauchian to me....

On Papi's first dong, that one fan got robbed... a player! Morales to be exact. That's a tough one. He did flip it right up to the crowd, but the robbed guy didn't get it. It went to the guy you see in my top pic at left, who snatched it from the bottom of the scrum.

So. About Myers. Wouldn't it be funny if we chant his name during the next series against a completely different team? God that was a funny play. DId you hear Smoltz say he's got a feeling Myers is "gonna do something tonight"? Still waiting on that....

The main dude pulled an Orsillo on Papi's second dong. Ball's in the air, he says it's high and deep, then goes, "but it's...." Now at this point he's screwed. He's leading into the foul call before a call is made. It's called fair and he's forced to audible, but we all know he was ready to say "foul." Then he tries to play it off like it was really close, only to see Papi running to first and looking down because he was so sure. It was that fair. Then that other dude claims he "wrapped it around the pole," only to have to change his mind as we see the ball fly so far past the pole that it went out of view.

Do you get the feeling that during these games, Cano's agent calls him up and goes, "Hey have you heard of this guy Dustin Something?"

ALDS Game 1 Photo/Video Gallery Part 2: The Game And What Have You

I already talked about the game itself here, so this'll just be pics/vids. Above, the sun is fully out and Dustin's giddy.

"Hail Satan." --Jon Lester

First-pitch-of-game shot.

Middlebrooks drops Jacoby's shades.

"Thank y-- wait. Were these on the ground?"

Also, I don't think I've mentioned Victorino's song thing all year. Early in the year I'd be watching on TV, and I'd hear the crowd singing, but seemingly for only one or two seconds. Pretty soon I figured out that it was everyone singing along to Shane's at-bat music, Bob Marley's song [which is called something else but goes "every little thing's gonna be all right]. And I never could tell if the PA turns it down so we can all sing that line a capella, or if they realized we were singing and therefore turned it down to create that cool effect. Anyway, it's been at the point for a while where everybody's ready for it and has a nice if not short singalong.

I don't take enough intentional walk pictures.

Napoli and Gomes.

Salty connects.

That one dude on the Rays who has stirrups.

My view of right field. That back pole really cuts a lot out...

John Travolta in the crowd. I had heard he was shooting a movie in Boston but didn't know he'd be at the game. He was in Henry's box seats along with Mike Barnicle. Funny moment when he went to leave. The count went to 3-2, and he got up and started walking up the aisle. Everyone started cheering in preparation for the payoff pitch, and Travolta assumed the cheering was for him! He waved and smiled as the cheers grew louder. Granted, people were mobbing him all the way up--he went right past our section and then went up the stairs to the pavilion--but it still seemed like a real "those aren't for you, Frank...Weird Al Yankovic is on the plane" moment.

Video of Travolta.

Salty gets filmed by that roving cameraman.

Lester leaves to big cheers.

Red Sox win.

And celebrate.

The "new" scoreboards finally get to do their playoff win thing.

Your final. 12-2 us.

I wore my Dana Levangie jersey to this game. And here he is.

Papi interviewed after the game.

And ESPN gets Salty.

Joe Torre outside Fenway. (I should have said '81, not '82, but you get the point.)

That "we won" thing that flashes after wins that nobody knows about. (Originally mentioned by me in April 2011 when it was new.)

ALDS Game 1 Photo/Video Gallery Part 1: Pregame

Got to Boston around 12:30. I headed for the RSN early entry while mom and Charlie went to Remy's. Kim couldn't go since she's in Maine.

They've got these "October Baseball" signs all over the place.

No batting practice. It was supposed to just be "AM showers," but the drive up was dark and rainy, and though it stopped as we arrived in Boston, there was more rain to come. Nice job by the mow patrol on the B Strong logo.

Woohoo, the playoffs are here....

Ultra-bootleg panorama from way up in the bleachers.

Not much action on the field, except for some Rays in the outfield and Alex Cobb throwing in the 'pen.

Surprisingly, they let us roam all around the park at this early hour, so I got a nice dugout spot, but with the rain I didn't see many players.

Love the bunting! As you know....

Got a glimpse of David Ross in his "3 Lines, 2 Chainz, 1 Goal" shirt.

Koji Uehara's son.

Was surprised it was so gray and menacing so close to game time, but I knew it was gonna clear out.

Mom across the street at Remy's, taken from the back of the RFGS.

Playing catch in the rain.

Playing beard in the rain.

This looks like something out of Being There.

The first base line with the tarp over it.

Finally, the tarp came off.

And right on cue, the sun came out.

And I was finally able to see the postseason logo on the field!

The intros from our seats. Last row of section 15. Poles all over, but at least we had an unobstructed view of the entire infield.

Farrell and our starting nine, minus Salty who was in the bullpen.

You know who. (But if you don't, it's the league's number one message therapist, Russell Nua.)

Lots of Marathon stuff in pregame. Here's that Carlos dude.

Everybody out on the field. Coming soon...the game and stuff.

Friday, October 04, 2013

ALDS Game 1: Red Sox Way More Than 2, Rays 2

I went to the sweet, sweet game today. I'll post photos and videos later. About the game:

Lester wan't effing around today. Fortunately the two dongs were solo blasts. Other than those, he only allowed one hit.

The fourth inning alone made this one of the best games I've been to. What in the world was going on with Myers? He feels for the wall, has room, is camped under it, and...he left the oven on? Where was he going? I feel like he must have thought the other dude was about to come crashing into him from the side and behind, and he high-tailed it outta there. Or, he realized that he wasn't gonna catch it because he couldn't see it, and so he decided to pretend like he had something else to do. Like when the cat tries to jump up onto the counter and doesn't quite make it, then tries to play it off like it ain't no thing, even though the whole room can tell he's embarrassed about it.

Anyway, that ball made it second and third, with us down 2-zip. I was pretty confident at that point. But Napoli popped out. Fortunately, Jonny Wadd Gomes came through with a double. Salty struck out, but I kept saying "if we can only get to Middlebrooks," because he had hit a deep fly to right his first time. Drew hit a little grounder, and it looked like the inning was over, but the pitcher was kinda late getting over to first, and stepped on the back of the bag, allowing Drew to sneak in through the front door. And there's Gomes, sprinting around third! He scores easily. Right then I said to mom and Charlie, "that could be the play of the year." Sure enough, Middlebrooks comes through with a double, which was misplayed, allowing Drew to score from first.

Ellsbury struck out...but the ball got away and the inning continued. Victorino singled in another and it was 5-2 us.

An inning later, Gomes made his second baserunning awesomeness in as many innings. He was on first and Napoli was on second. Napoli takes off with the pitch, and Salty hits one toward the Wall. So he's between third and home when the left fielder pretends like he's gonna catch it. Nap is screwed royally if this happens. But the ball hits the Wall and he walks home. Meanwhile, Jonny Wad is clearly not faked out, and somehow scores all the way from first. What a team. It's 7-2 at that point, and that was your ballgame. We would tack on 5 more runs for a 12-2 victory and a 1-0 lead in the ALDS.

We had a great section. Last row of 15, and to the left of use were guys who really liked starting the rhythmic claps and cheers and stuff. The park was electrified as a motherfucker. Those guys started chanting "Matty," as one-syllable names don't work in the "Dar-yl" style. They changed is to "Matthew," which was much funnier, and we watched as Matthew became more and more unraveled. But I think it really was because he couldn't control anything that wasn't his fastball. So as the first few innings are going by, I'm saying, "we need to sit dead red on this guy, it's the only thing going over the plate." And that second time through our order and beyond, hoo-boy and whatnot. Everybody got a hit, everybody scored a run.

And of course, after Myers did his ding dong ditch, when he was introduced next time up, we gave him such a cheer, the same one we gave Mariano that time, which I knew people would end up mis-remembering as us liking him and thinking he's classy. Fun stuff. It ended up with lots of "My-ers"-ing, but I'll always be more fond of the underrated "Mat-thew"-ing.

Another thing about the crowd: yes it was amazing. But listening tot he radio on our way home, you'd think it was the first time a Fenway crowd was ever excited. They were talking about how there's been nothing like it since the "'03-'04 era." But my lord, who doesn't remember Game Seven against Cleveland in '07? Or the crazy comeback agains the Rays in '08 for the "eight-SEVENNN" win? I was at both of those games, and it's the same as today was. That's just what Fenway is like in games where every single pitch matters. Again, today was awesome, I'm not trying to take away from it, I'm trying to give credit to crowds that were just as good. Maybe when it's been a while, people forget shit. (Of course, we're dealing with a culture that doesn't remember anything but the last 24 hours.)

Did I mention how hilarious that Myers play was? We kept seeing it on the TV screens, and we cracked up every time. Funny, this article said that "without question" it was the turning point. I read that and thought, no, it was key, but we were still down 2-0. It was the Gomes mad dash play that turned things. Sure enough, later in the article, Pedroia agrees with me! YOu don't want to say something in your article and then quote someone who played in the game refuting it....

I'll have more later. My usual photo gallery shit where I talk about the parking and the weather and Russell Nua and John Travolta and stuff.


I just realized something. If Cleveland had beaten Tampa, all eight playoff teams would have been original franchises. ("Original" meaning since the start of the World Series era.) This hasn't happened since 1990--but back then there were only four teams in the playoffs. Before that it had only happened once since 1975, and only a handful of times in the divisional play era (1969-).

Another random history thing: Isn't it odd that the first six times the Red Sox played in the World Series, they faced six different teams? And it only took till their eighth try to play the seventh out of the eight originals.

1903: Pittsburgh
1912: NY (now SF)
1915: Philadelphia
1916: Brooklyn (now LA)
1918: Chicago
1946: St. Louis
1967: St. Louis (first repeated team)
1975: Cincinnati

Still waiting to face the eighth and final original NL franchise, the Braves. This could be the year.

Bonus: If we had beaten Cleveland in that one-game playoff in '48, we would have played the Braves and all eight would have been completed in 1975. (Have I done an identical post to this before? Oh well, it's new to some people.)

Son Robbin'

Supposedly Robinson Cano is a little, surprise, nonchalant on paying child support. Who knows if this stuff is true, but if it is, how sweet would it be if the son grows up to be this great ballplayer, and signs with the Red Sox as revenge against his dad? Bonus: the kid's being raised by someone else, so there's a chance he's being taught to run out ground balls!

Midnight Madness

Even more tix for game 1 on sale now. Including Monster if you don't mind dropping 185.

Also some for game 2.

Finals from tonight: Some NL team something, some other NL team something lower. And over in some other city, the same.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

If You're Up...

All kinds of seats released for Game 1--bleacher seats, SRO, rich-folks stuff. Go.

So the opponent will be the Rays. Moore/Lester Friday, Price/Lackey Saturday.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Guy Yankees Didn't Want Leads Pirates To NLDS With Two Dongs

Russell Martin and the Pirates now face whoever in one NLDS, with two other NL teams playing in the other.

Wednesday night, it's Rays/Tribe to see who faces us.

Fear The Me

The weird thing about having a full beard is that I lose my title as "sideburns guy." The sideburns are still there, it's just that there's hair around them now. Meaning I officially "don't" have sideburns. Even though they're there. It's kind of like having a hundred bucks in your pocket and saying "I have fifty dollars." Because you do have 50, as well as 51, 17, 74, but none of these represent the full amount and therefore get the shaft.

Anyway, it's going pretty well. Except for a very brief beard stint in 2011 during my drive to Vegas and Texas, this is the first full beard I've had since college, when I looked like Jesus. Only difference now is there's some white in there.

It's not my first time growing facial hair "for the team," though, as I had that long devil goatee in the 2004 playoffs.

Anything else you'd like to know? You're getting awfully personal here.

(Ha, I had no idea Amazing Larry was back there....)

Some Times In

Fri Oct 4: Tampa/Cleveland vs. Us, 3:00
Sat Oct 5: same teams, duh, 5:30

I was kind of thinking we'd get the prime time slots, but I guess the series out in Oakland can't start too early or they'd be having breakfast at Wimbledon.

So we had David Price going 9 last night. Which means he'll pitch game 2 for them (if they beat Tito) and will be tired and stuff. And Cobb goes for them Wednesday so he'd be gone till game 3. Also, I gotta figure some of the good pitchers for the Indians/Rays will be ready to go Wednesday which could also screw 'em up for our series.

Part of me wants it to be Tampa because we've shown we can handle them this year. But we went 6-1 against Cleveland anyway. But they were a different group back in April/May when we played them. And Tampa's closer has been so shitty, so maybe we'd better play them. Either way, we're not gonna be afraid. Just gotta be ourselves and we should be fine.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

163 Monday

Okay, we get some chaos. All three teams won so Tampa and Texas play one game Monday to see who plays Cleveland on Wednesday to see who plays us in the ALDS starting Friday. All three teams are pretty hot, but that also means they're due to get cold, right? If we play Tito, they will have won 11 in a row! Hopefully we can run the '07 Rockies picket fence on 'em. Let 'er fly!

In a perfect world, I'll do posts about how we match up with each of the three possible opponents over the next few days. In the real world, I'll work a lot of hours and not have time to do any of that. Wish us all luck.

As for the other races, we lose in Balty which means we tie for best record in all of baseball, BUT, it also means Balty stays in a tie with the Yanks for third. Which is better than them being alone in third. I swear, I saw an article on called "Yanks reflect on unique, memorable season." But wait! I just went back to find the exact title, and I see they've changed it. To "memorable, bittersweet season." Still a little out of touch with reality....

Rooting For Chaos

Before we even played tonight, we knew we had home field advantage throughout the playoffs locked up, thanks to the Oakland loss. So we'll be playing the wild card winner at Fenway on Friday.

There's a chance for a 3-way tie in the wild card. We have to root for that, so that the team who ends up surviving might play Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before facing us on Friday, while we rest all week.

We've also got a race for 4th in the A.L. East. If the Red Sox lose Sunday to Baltimore and the Yanks lose in Huey, we'll actually get to talk about the 4th-place Yankees all offseason. The last time they finished lower than third was 1992, when they tied Cleveland for fourth, 20 games out.

Finally, there's the race for the Best Record in Baseball. We've clinched a tie--if we win Sunday or if St. Louis loses, we've got it all to ourselves. Either way, compared to last year, holy shit.

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