Saturday, October 19, 2013

Game 6! And Game 5

The Cardinals were in the same situation as we are now: Going home up 3-2 facing their league's Cy Young winner. They won 9-0 to advance to the World Series.

So much to talk about from Game 5 that I never got to, and which is now erased from the memory of the American living in the 24-hour news cycle. But whatever, here we go:

Was good to get a hit in the first off Sanchez, since he no-hit us the previous time.

Nice job by Cabrera running through a stop sign! I heard the first two innings in the car and Dave O'Brien never even told me he didn't slide. There was also a recent play, I think in Game 4, where a Tiger hit was Dave O'Brien called a deep drive to left. He said the fielder was going back, back, and...foul ball, not home run distance. That's Sterling shit right there. Also, on his ridiculous call of the Ortiz grand slam, how is it that he said "over his head" before knowing it was a home run? It wasn't over Hunter's head until it was landing on the other side of the fence. Moving on...

The Napoli dong was fun stuff. All those homers to center we've watched him hit against us, and here we are with him hitting one for us, as the game-winning dong in a crucial ALCS game. But we didn't know it was game-winning yet....

Tough seeing Xander not score from second on a double. And though McCarver explained it to the casuals a hundred times, all their replays didn't show what he was talking about. They all started too late in the play to see what Xander was doing when the ball was hit.

We got two LARGE double plays to end innings.

Farrell's been nailing it. I wouldn't have taken out LEster, or Lackey in the previous game. But our 'pen continues to do its job.

Bottom 7, they're down 2, and they've got 1st and 3rd, one out. It's total nervous time. But to think, we'd retire every Tiger batter to step to the plate from that point on. Of course, the first one was a run-scoring double play, meaning we were only up one that whole time.

I think Koji could get a 27-out save if he had to.

And about the Iglesias play: He had it all the way. You know I think the world of that guy's defense. But you can tell the moment a guy has a bead/beat on a ball. He's obviously pissed about being traded and wants to show off. He knows how good he is. He made a nifty catch complete with Rickey Henderson-style snatch which he didn't have to. And people act like it was some kind of great play. I will say this, though: I could be wrong. But if I am, it's only because the one thing that guy does wrong on defense is that he often puts his glove up VERY late on pop-ups. (Believe me, my dad taught me you run to the spot and THEN put your glove up, I know all about it, but I mean on pop-ups, it's almost like he thinks the ball is still higher than it is, and he almost doesn't get the glove up in time.) So this play he made could've been just another instance where he starts to raise the glove a little late, and actually caught it on the upswing of the arm, lucking in to a seemingly amazing play. That ball almost went flying out of his glove as he swung it. Kim always gets mad when I do this. She's all, "if it was our guy you'd being saying what an incredible play it was!" And I always tell her, some of these diving catches and stuff, they LOOK amazing but it's only because the fielder, knowing he had it all the way, MAKES it look amazing. I'll admit it when our guys do it too. Like Gomes in this same game. (I think his dive was to keep his body low to avoid losing the ball in the lights. And Ellsbury in the game before--it was more of a "safety dive.")

Okay, so we move on to a potential clinching game. Our 'pen is so much better than theirs, and I think that's the key. Whatever we can get against Scherzer, fine, just get us to that 'pen of theirs. Crowd will be crazy. Clay just needs to keep us in it. And hopefully we're talking World Series tomorrow at this time. But if there's a Game 7, I'll be there. (AND YES I'M HOPING I WON'T BE AT FENWAY PARK ON SUNDAY.)

Friday, October 18, 2013

Red Sox ALCS Fun Fax

This is our 10th ALCS. (9th in the best-of-7 era.)

This is the first time we've entered Game 6 of an ALCS with a 3-2 lead.

We've never played a 6-game ALCS. (And we've only played one 6-game World Series out of 11 appearances (one was a best-of-9).)

Our record in Game 6 of the ALCS is 5-0.

In other words, a win Saturday will mean our first-ever 6-game ALCS, and a loss would be our first-ever Game 6 loss. Something's gotta proverbially give.

There has only been one 7-game ALCS that the Red Sox weren't a part of (1985).

Non-ish Red Sox ALCS stuff:

This was the first year since 2003 that any ALCS was tied 2-2.

Except for those two horrible performances the Red Sox had against the A's ('88 and '90), there have only been two sweeps in the ALCS in the best-of-7 era ('06 and '12).

What An Incredible, Incredible Team

That's two incredibles, mofo! My lawd, I just had to sprawl out on the ground like a horizontal Jesus after that one. An early 4-0 lead and it looks like a possible cruise-piece, but then we have to sweat the rest out as it goes to 4-1, 4-2, and 4-3. And we hold on as Koji gets the 5-out save. One win away from the World Series!!!!!!!!!!!! And we're headed home....

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Fox Is Missing You At All

This was from game 3. After a K, Fox decides to show a 20-second montage (the dreaded "pitch by pitch," which I think was created for the kids who couldn't keep up with Simon sequences above four), and then push their luck even further by showing a few seconds of Lackey's reaction, followed by the ultra-necessary logo-wipe, causing them to...ya know. Check it out:



Game 5, 8:00 tonight. Momentum changes with the next day's starting pitcher, Suzyn.

Silver Platter

The second inning was key, top and bottom.

Top: Leadoff double by Napoli and then Nava grounds to the right side, putting a runner on third with one out. Perfect. Sac fly means we'd go up 1-0 and presumably cruise to a 3-1 series lead. But Salty pops out. I was pissed, but little did I know I'd soon be injuring walls and hands. Drew ended the inning as one might expect, and we officially had a squander.

Bottom: Fuckin' Peavy. First guy singles. Then he walks Brak Brak on four pitches. Then, in what has become a tradition amongst our pitchers, he gets scared to death of Avila for no reason, walking his ass as well. After a nice diving catch by Jacoby, Peavy then gets to face the guy who stinks so fucking putrid that they dropped him to 8th...and walks him on four pitches to force home a run. That's when he finally induces a DP ball, to the surest of sure-handed infielders, Dustin Pedroia. Who promptly bobbles the ball and can't find it. He ends up getting one out, but the rally is still alive. Then that phony baloney homophobe gets a two-out, two-run double. An RBI single by Cabrera makes it 5-0 before we finally get out of it.

The Tigers would add two more in the fourth, one on another ball Dustin normally gets in his sleep, and it was 7-0. Oddly enough, we were actually out-hitting them for much of this time. We finally scored some runs, but it was never really a game after that shitty second. We lose 7-3, which was my predicted score. Of course, I had the wrong team winning.

2-2. The plan now is for Lester to throw a gem and put us up 3-2 going back to Fenway with two chances to close it out at home.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Read This As If It Were In All Caps

Fuck yeah! Effing fuck yeah! "Oh no, we've got home field advantage but what if we lose Game 1???" Well, we lost Game 1...and then beat Scherzer and Verlander! Lackey matched that cat pitch for pitch today. And Napoli was just waiting to break through and he finally did. And the one run holds up as the bullpen does its thing again! With hardly any hitting in this series, we're up 2-1! Eff yeah emmer effers!!!!!!!! Two wins away from the World Series!!!!!!!!!

Me And Papi

I was psyched to see myself in the background of several Papi grand dong shots. Not that you can really tell, but I know it's me! Gray jersey over darker gray hoodie, dark beard, head cut off. Pink outline.

Game 3 today in Detroit at 4:07 eastern.

Photo courtesy AP/Elise Amendola

ALCS Game 2 Photo Gallery

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.

Pru-ple.

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.

The kids.

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.

Salty up.

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.

We WIN.

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.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Holy Shit

I was there. Will do a "proper" photo gallery Monday night. For now, a few vids:


After I jumped around for a while, I captured Papi scoring on his grand dong, and the fucking pandemonium that was in mid-ensue.


And a little of Torii Hunter--at the end I show the board where you see his flip.


And then Salty's winning hit.

Series tied at 1! What a night.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Dawn Of Time

People continue to be SHOCKED and AMAZED at the UNEXPLAINED PHENOMENON that is the Red Sox meeting the Tigers in the postseason for the first time in more than a century! I heard the first inning on radio last night, and Dave O'Brien was ready to just end it all, as he just couldn't live with this gained knowledge any longer. He said "that's a couple hundred years of baseball." Then Buck and McCarver brought it up too. And then the strangest thing happened....

Tim McCarver was the voice of reason!

He pointed out, as I did (see original post here), that it would have been impossible for the two teams to meet in the postseason for a large chunk of baseball history. He didn't take it far enough, though, only saying that there were no pre-World Series playoff series before 1969. But from 1969 to 1994, the Red Sox and Tigers were both in the AL East, meaning they still couldn't meet in the ALCS. That's right, in ninety-four of 113 years, it wasn't possible*. So it's not a big deal they haven't met till now.

But if you're still suicidal over this, here are the other American League teams the Red Sox have never played in the postseason:

Baltimore Orioles
Toronto Blue Jays
Kansas City Royals
Minnesota Twins
Texas Rangers
Seattle Mariners
Houston Astros (can you believe that?)
Milwaukee Brewers (former AL team)


*They only could have played a one-game tiebreaker (in all years except '69-'94) which is not considered part of the postseason and has only happened six times in American League history anyway

"If We Lose"

What other city do you have the team going into a series with an advantage, only to have everybody say that's bad because "if we lose..."?

Even McCarver came right out and said it before Game 1: The Red Sox have their best pitcher in Game 1 and the Tigers don't. So if they lose, they have to face the better pitchers with their lesser ones. Do other teams do this? Do they say, "We've got an advantage. Shit! This will be horrible if we lose!"? Or do they say, "if we win, we're going to the World Series, woohoooooo! And we've got the advantage, so that's even more logical!"?

But yes, we did lose the first game. So I guess we just shut the lights before we leave? Or do we say, Look how fucked the Tigers are gonna be if THEY lose with their good pitchers coming up? Get your heads in the game, people!

What Cost Us The Game Was Not Mentioned

Or is it just my anti-Drew bias? You be the judge. On the near double play right before the Tigers scored: Drew should have gotten the lead runner at third. Middlebrooks had recently done it right, going home to cut down the run in a 0-0 game instead of trying for an inning-ending DP. On Drew's ball, I admit, I thought there was no chance at a DP, and it ended up being really close. But still, it seemed like a DP was a no-go, so I throw to third there and cut down the lead runner. I mean he would have to wheel and throw, but I think he gets that out. But we never got a replay of that part of the play, and they never even suggested it as a possibility. Yes Drew made a nice play later, but it could have been 0-0 still. Granted, the base hit still might have scored the run from second, but we don't know what would have happened had the situation been different. (Also, McCarver said the hit was "off the end of the bat," when it was actually on the other side of the sweet spot, as seen on two clear, slow-mo relays that were shown while he was saying it.)

So we lose game 1. But according to my dad circa '86, all you have to do in a 7-game series when you have home field advantage is win one of two at home, then one of three on the road, and you come back and win your last two home games. Basically, if you can be alive after five, you strive to jive. Or something.

Okay, Fox talk. First thing I noticed? The damn camera was out of focus! The main center field shot had the fans behind the plate totally blurry, with even the ump and batter seemingly a little fuzzed. The pitcher was fine. It was as if the focus was a little too far forward. Seeing the batter/catcher/ump with a big blurry background was really messing with me. Around the sixth inning, though, they fixed it, which not only improved my enjoyment of the game, but proved I wasn't crazy. I mean, we've got these HDTVs, and the sharper-than-life subjects are fuzzy. I expect the blurry background on an extreme close-up, but not on every pitch.

"What is it the kids say these days? It's crazy." --the soon to be extinct Tim McCarver

Yes, he actually said that.

Where was the replay on Ellsbury's foul tip into the mitt that ended an inning? Then in the next inning, Cabrera seems to not hold up, but it's called a no-swing, and again, no replay.

Hilarious moment when Buck said there was a line out to "Middlebrooks." But it was Drew. Camera shows close-up of Drew, who even turns around to show his number, Buck doesn't notice. McCarver then chimes in with "Drew could have done that" (since they thought Middlebrooks was playing in the shortstop spot). It wasn't till after the next commercial did they figure it out. But my Gedman, you'd think they'd have people whispering in their ears when they call a well-known player by a different guy's name.

So weird that it was a no-hitter until the ninth. Between it being a combo and the fact that it was a one-run game, it just didn't seem to matter. Old friend Anibal did a great job, though. As did our fans. And Lester. We almost pulled it out in the end. But not quite. We'll come right back tomorrow against the bi-borg. Speaking of him, terrible job by Fox doing the in-game interview with him while all this action was taking place. He told them he couldn't look at the camera because he wanted to, surprise, watch the playoff game his team was playing in at that moment. I kept waiting for him to do that "alll right" thing you do to somebody to let them know it's time to end a phone conversation.

Game 2, Sunday, 8:00. Win.

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