Saturday, September 29, 2007

Some pics I took at Fenway Park tonight:
(update: the full lot of pics is HERE)

All photos by me! (A thousand more to come.) If you're in the national media and you use any of these for your apology article for proclaiming the Red Sox would not win the division, please give proper credit. Thanks, ass holes!

That's the moon just above the scoreboard at right. They worked some magic, indeed! Can't believe so many people left!

Two days ago, I wrote:

"Tomorrow, I'll go to Fenway with a chance of seeing a live clinch for the first time in my life. I wonder if we get a win, and the Yanks are still playing, and losing, they'll put their game on the scoreboard and let us stay and watch."

Tonight, we lived the dream!

I shot the video, then hustled to the dugout area as the players came out. My friends Joanna, Matt, and Kelly were there, too. Did I recently call some other day the best one ever? Ha!

When I got home, I got this sweet e-mail from the Yankees:

Friday, September 28, 2007

Thursday Nite Gallerina

Click each pic, etc. Got a rare free parking spot, so the total cost of this experience was 20 bucks.
Hazy, hot, and Henry. The haze made watching BP from right field a lot easier, as the sun was blocked out.

Toriiiii Hunter signed autographs for a really long time.

I actually thought to pturn my flash on so you can actually see what the grandstand seats look like, even though it was getting dark at this point. At one point during the game, the light above our section went out. It's dark enough up there even with the light, so we were in near blackness. It was awesome. Of course, they put that light bulb in in 1942--I'm surprised it lasted that long.

John Henry is tall until you put him next to Bill Russell.

Beckett pitching like a man who already has 20 wins....

Manny on deck, with Tom Werner in his box.

A helmetless Papi at third base.

Drew hits one into the ground.

Okajima was back, and his head was blurry as ever.

Then it started to rain.

Like I said, rain.

And this is one of my favorite shots of the year. Hope it is yours, too. I'll be there again tonight, hoping to see a clinch.

Did They Name Them Twinkies Just Because There Are Two Per Package?

Late September, and it was downright hot in Boston tonight. Even the rain shower didn't cool things off. Looks like none of the three things I talked about happened. No Sox win, no Yanks loss, no Indians win. But hey, I didn't say I was rooting for an Indians win. This way, we stay tied with them for best record. So, everything can still happen, there's just one less day on the schedule. See post below if you don't know what I'm talking about.

A really frustrating game. The moment things turned was when Beckett cut the ball off and threw it nowhere near Varitek. I think the Yanks tied the Rays on the board right at that point. We had plenty of chances to win after that, but we never did catch them. I'll get another chance to witness the clinch live tomorrow night.

The Yanks don't care about getting home field, as they've announced they're not trying to win the division. Classic. You're losing, so you say "oh, we're not trying anyway." The Yankee way. Remember that, kids. Jeter's Home Video for Teaching Children Baseball could start out with him catching a pop-up with one hand, then cut to a shot of him deceiving the ump into thinking a pitch was inside by straightening his legs really fast, and then to Derek addressing the children: "Remember, it's okay to fucking quit, as long as you announce it first."

I don't think I'll do a full photo gallery for this game, but I'll add some pics to this post on Friday. Oh, and I tried my Ortiz HR ball trick again in BP. There were two balls I could've had. Once, Papi hit one way to my left. It ended up in the grandstand (almost bouncing all the way to the top--it was cool). As I headed back to my spot, he hit one right where he did on Tuesday, to the right of the spot. Had I been in normal starting position, I would've had it easily, but since I was still way to the left, I couldn't get over there in time. Papi can trick you like that. Another ball was down and to my right. I couldn't get far enough down fast enough, so I turned into the seats a little above the ball, while two dudes went for it in the row below. The ball bounced all the way back to my aisle, and the two guys followed it along their row (while I paralleled them a row above), and wrestled for it. Had I just stayed where I was and waited, it would've rolled right to me. But I couldn't have known it would've bounced that way. I see some crazy bounces out there. People are always caught off guard. It's like, "why'd you get here so early if you're not gonna pay attention to all these balls bounding around you?" One thing people always are surprised by is the ball that bounces once on the warning track and goes all the way over the bullpens into the stands. They're never ready. Today, one ball bounced on the field, over the bullpen, through the wire criss-crossy fence, off some guy's ear, and slam, right into the shoulder of an usher, where it rolled to some lucky-ass kid. Not one of these people could've thought, "I'll at least be in ready position on the off-chance this ball continues toward me"? Terrible job, people. This is all stuff I used to deal with at every game, before I started concentrating on taking pics. You realize after an hour of BP with no balls how you've got nothing to show for your effort, whereas if you take pics, you at least come out with some good shots. So, as a blog reader, I don't know what's more exciting for you, the same "one that got away" (or "one I totally got"!) story over and over or the same "Varitek walking to the bullpen" picture over and over. Too bad it's not up for a vote, eh? Ah well, you know I try to keep it fresh. Or whatever. End of long paragraph. End of post. Some pics to follow.

P.S. I added a video three posts down that I forgot to tell you about.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Cleveland After Midnight

On this day in 1975, when I was 18 days old, the Red Sox clinched the A.L. East. Tomorrow, I'll go to Fenway with a chance of seeing a live clinch for the first time in my life. I wonder if we get a win, and the Yanks are still playing, and losing, they'll put their game on the scoreboard and let us stay and watch.

I got to see the beginning of tonight's game. Our softball game started when it was tied, so I was a little nervous. After the game, which was my finest of the season (we finished the regular season tonight with 0 wins, but everybody makes the playoffs), I got to hear the good news: the Sox were up 11-5. Just what I needed. I then heard Sterling announce a Jeter home run as if he'd somehow reversed 9-11. They are a pathetic franchise in every aspect. At least their playoff clinching celebration was subdued and class--oh, wait, they acted like they'd actually accomplished something. Joba and Shelley Duncan, the two mega-stars who worked hard all year long, were right there spraying brew around. I wonder if Torre is embarrassed by this. If any team should use the motto "act like you've been there before," it's the Yanks. Oh, I'm sorry, they haven't been NON-division champs in quite some time.

The M.N. is at 2, or "02" on Which is funny, since they started keeping track at "09." Drop the 0, people. What are we, the Boston Benito Santiagos? The New England Dukes of Hazzard?

And the Angels are dropping like a stone, so we'll probably play them in the first round. The Indians won game one of their wacky home-and-home in-one-stadium double dip. I've got game two on Gameday right now. Through two innings, the Mariners had five of their first nine batters reach base. They scored no runs. So, that's four outs, plus two players caught stealing. Kelly Shoppach, who threw the runners out, also homered, so now it's 2-0 Indians in the seventh, despite the M's out hitting the Tribe 5-2. A Cleveland loss and we're tied with them. And if the season ends that way, we get home field throughout the playoffs.

I'll update the Cleveland game here.

Update: 10 baserunners for Seattle through eight. But they trail 2-1.
Update: Mariners tie it on a two-out homer in the bottom of the ninth. Tied in the tenth. They also did this last night--tying it in the ninth, and had chances to win in extras, but lost.

Update: Brak brak! Jhonny Peralta misses a hard shot right at him with two outs in the tenth, and the winning run scores for Seattle! Best record in baseball! Fate is in our hands now! Win out, Red Sox. More stuff: If we win Thursday, we'll be three up on the Angels with three to play. Since we have the tie-breaker over them, too, that would mean we'd clinch top three, with one more win OR Yankee loss clinching top two. Which gives us a first-round home field advantage at the very least. So, a win and a Yankee loss Thursday clinches the division and home field advantage in round one, where we'd most likely play the Angels. (We definitely would if the Indians also win Thursday, since they'd clinch a tie with the Angels, and they own the tie-breaker--the two clubs went 5-5 against each other, but the second tie-breaker is division record, and Cleveland dominated there.)

To wrap up: If we win, the Yanks lose, and the Indians win on Thursday, we'll play the Angels in the first round with home field advantage, and the Indians will play the Yanks with home field advantage. The only thing beyond that to be determined would be home field advantage in the ALCS IF it's us against Cleveland.

If those three things don't all happen Thursday, we'll meet back here and figure it all out all over again.

Athletics At Red Sox, 9/25/2007

For my full description of the day (featuring 5th ball photo!), click here. Click all pics below to enlarginate.

An interesting view of the Citgo sign. But also note that this whole are of Fenway used to look nothing like this. Right beyond this brick wall is the Big Concourse, behind right field. This whole area used to be "the laundry." The spiral staircase, the huge green thing with the Sox logo on it, that bridge, the big green structure on the right--none of that was there when I was little. You can also see, just to the left of the Citgo sign, the very top right corner of the bleachers, which extend up a few rows farther than the grandstand which is right next to them. See map below of where I took this shot from (and click on it for the descriptions of what all the stuff on there means). Wow, now I know I was standing 1,300 feet from the Citgo sign. Google Maps is the best.

View Larger Map

Okay, like I said, Doris Kearns Goodwin was there. She seemed to be walking aimlessly, checking in with Gate D, then being sent off, back around the park. I was following her for a little bit, thinking about how I'd go about an autograph request. Then I gave up, and settled for this picture of her. Don't worry, she never knew she was being stalked. (Oh, and my pics of Yaz' now right-side up 8 are in this Uniwatch post!)

Inside the park now. View of the top of the Pru peeking over the top of the bleachers.

Youk practicing his golf/baseball swing.

Love the shadows here. Didn't get all that many shots while out here, as I was busy trying to get a ball, which I did, as you know. See map below:

You can also see my seat from here. There's a guy sitting two seats away. When I got there later, that seat and the one next to it were in the down position, and there was an M&Ms wrapper on the seat next to mine. Oh, and I was in the first row of blue seats, despite being in row 2 of the grandstand. That's kind of explained elsewhere in this post.

From the Big Concourse, looking toward home plate. Look very closely and you can see the left handed A's hitter in the cage.

The unmistakable Dan Haren. Wait, he's totally mistakable in this shot, but he is the tall figure on the left. The one on the right is an A's coach, walking Haren through the bowels of Fenway, from the trainer's room to the A's clubhouse. I shot from the hip, and missed. Oh well. It's cool when players are just walking around in uniform past the concession stands and stuff.

So now I'm way over in left field, shooting A's. I find Lenny DiNardo and start shooting, a feet feet back from the fence, through two people who've left me with a clean shot. It looks like he's looking right at me. But note, one of the people to the side and in front of me was a woman, a Lenny-hunter. She was bending at the waist, leaning on the fence in the way only a female is flexible enough to do. You know, the way that makes Gene Simmons forget his name. So, if her shirt had even the slightest V-neck, I'm sure the guy next to Lenny easily could've said, "Get a good look, Costanza?" So he may have been looking at her. Oh wait, it's Lenny DiNardo. He was totally looking at me. Or is he not gay? Have we ever figured it out? Yes, we have. He's straight. I forgot.

Piazza at right.

The view from my seat, right by the section 3 pole. Got a single for this game, so I was by myself.

Looking to my right. The color and style of seats is always a mishmash right by the first rows of the grandstand. The normal set-up is: Grandstand: old, blue, wooden seats. Box seats: new, red, plastic seats. However, as some of the wooden seats in the closest grandstand rows have been severely weathered due to being just on the edge of the roof-covered area, they've been replaced by newer seats. But some of those seats, as you can kind of tell here, are green, a seat color normally reserved for the bleachers. Sometimes you'll see blue plastic seats, or red plastic that have red plastic armrests, where as most red plastics have the old, metal, blue armrests. I could go on, but then you'd click over to Surviving Grady or whatever.

And looking to the left, which also provides a cool view of the right field boxes, where everyone has to look 90 degrees to their left to see the action.

Man, that Wally creeps me out.

Lowell checks out Papi as he's getting stretched.

Jacoby & Myers, aka the Ellsbury Gough Boy as some folks are calling him.

Now Jacoby talks to Papi.

The Citgo sign from my seat.

I'm keepin' my eye on you, rake.

Tavarez clowning with fans as usual.

Manny returns to the lineup and gets a mega-standing O.

Manny singles in his first at bat back. Now Papi is up.

The Dooblah at second with a you-know-what.

&Myers swings away.

Youk returns! Pinch hitting to a huge ovation.

The night-view from my seat.

Lugo against Lugo! Aaarrrghhh!

The guy who wears socks on his ears and plays a kazoo and gets people to cheer. Still haven't figured this guy out yet.

Two shots of Papi's dong. Sounds like a drink order at a Red Sox bar.

For the ninth, I sat here. Corey on the mound (This "on the bump" thing has really taken off. Sickening. I hate trends. I guess they're "scuffling" to come up with new terminology.), trying to eff up my perfect day.

Scutaro up.

Lowell at third. ou get the "good" shots from down here, have you noticed?

Shannon Stewart ended the game as he hit a bloop to Pedroia, who doubled off the runner at second. I bolted out toward the back stairs before many people knew the game was over.

By the way, trivia buffs, Gene Simmons' name is Chaim Witz.

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Location: Rhode Island, United States