Friday, April 25, 2008

Angels @ Sox Gallery: Justin Masterson's Debut

Click each to enlarge:
Since I had a softball game in Brighton at 6:15, I parked in one of the BU lots--8 bucks--which is about halfway between Fenway and the softball field. Of course, I had to get a shot of the plaque commemorating the site of old Braves Field. The structure in the background is the one part of the stadium still standing, now the grandstand of Nickerson Field, home of BU athletics.

On Lansdowne Street, the making-over of the Avalon and Axis.

I did the classic "wait by the one gate while 50 other people ALL wait by the other." Their gate starts to go up, then two seconds later, ten feet away, mine goes up, and I walk right in. That's how we do it at Gate B. (And it's not a dick move--there are no set lines or anything. Just a few gates, and people see other people by one and assume they must know something. But I know all gates go up, so I just go right up to the one nobody's going to.) Anyway, I got this shot of Ortiz stretching from the Pesky Pole area.

Jed Lowrie. I thought there might not be batting practice, as it was a day game after a night game. Instead, the Angels didn't take BP at all--meaning the Sox could do a late BP. Meaning we basically got to see the whole thing, instead of the usual, which is seeing the final Red Sox group hit, and then the visitors hit.

So I had time to do a lot during Red Sox BP: Get the outfield shots, get the close-up home plate shots, try to get a ball... above is David Aardsma about to throw one to the crowd.

And the crowd drops it. Aardsma has to retrieve. I love the shadows in this shot.

Not the usual Tek shot! Usually you see him with the gear on walking to the pen. This is the rarely seen "Tek coming from the pen to take batting practice."

Mike Lowell, shortly after hitting a ball that I would get. More on that below...

Josh Beckett and friends. Notice these new blue-sleeved pullovers.

Pedroia talking with Varitek.

Jacoby & Myers.

Jacoby and his pal Coco.

Millions of Dead Carmen.

Timlin after shagging a ball successfully. Haven't seen his kid out there yet this season.

The two flags.

Now I'm back out by the pole. (Here's a plane passing behind it.) While I was down by home plate, I saw Mighty Quinn out on the field. I'm sure he'll be talking about his day soon on his blog. We talked a little, it was good to see him out of cyberspace for a change.

A few minutes earlier, I was standing by the foul pole, and Mike Lowell hits a high fly to my left. The two young guys in front of me aren't watching, so I give them a heads-up. The ball slams into the seats about fifteen feet from me. The two guys aren't moving, so I move toward the ball. It starts rolling under the seats, and there's a guy kind of close, but he sees I'm going full throttle, jumping over rows, and just kind of lets me complete my journey to the ball. Now back out in the area where I'd made my score, I do the new tradition of taking a picture of the ball I just got. (The Lowell shirt on the bottom right is a coincidence.)

Evert time I'd go back to right field, I'd see Tavarez talking to Okajima. Here's one of my many shots of it.

It was a beautiful day, but as the game went on, the wind became really annoying, and I was left shivering in my shorts and T-shirt underneath the grandstand roof.

Now I'm back down by the plate again. Here's Papi and Manny.

Papi and Julio Lugo.

Now I'm back out in right field again, as Fenway awaits Justin Masterson's appearance on the field. While out there, I saw Kelly aka Sitting Still, who had the same idea I had. We talked for a bit, and I went and got a different angle from hers, so we wouldn't end up with all the same shots. I sat right in the furthest-out point in right field, right in the front row, as so many fans hadn't arrived yet for this weekday afternoon game. (I also talked to Kelly and Red Sox Chick at a different game at Fenway this year. It's so fun to run into friends at Fenway...)

The view of Manny's home run total from out there.

Bullpen door open.

Remember that girl that used to sweep the bases during the seventh-inning stretch? Now they just have a girl to sweep the foul lines in left and right field before the game.

Vlad Guerrero.

Chone Figgins in front of the standings.

It gets to be 1:00, and still no Justin. In the meantime, Butcher takes this girl out of the crowd and shows her the Green Monster from field level.

Finally! Justin walks from the dugout to right field. The following shots are all Justin. Caption-free for your unencumbered entertainment:

Now I head to the bleachers for a different angle, and for the bullpen session:

So there you have it. Now it's on to a standing room spot between home and first.

The "free furniture when the Red Sox win" guy threw out the first ball.

Den Drinkwater. That's right, Den. That's how he introduces himself in the latest Giant radio ad. His voice sounds nothing like his face would suggest. But that's probably because we all assume he talks like a mix between Robert Redford and Jerry Springer. It's way deeper, and with a Boston-with-elements-of-New York accent.

Masterson takes the field with the major league club for the first time.

And here's his first delivery.

Another pitch by Justin.

And another one.

And yet another shot of the kid's motion and/or follow-through.

Manny with glasses on head.

Manny on 2nd. Boy, the Angels are really getting the shaft in this photo gallery.

Dustin in the on-deck circle and/or area.

Manny on deck.

The view of the Pru that I got an night in an earlier gallery.

I walked out to right field during the game and got some shots of Jacoby with the pole in front of him.

Masterson on the hill as the Angels look on. What a game he had. Our bullpen blew it, though.

HUGE developments int= the standing room areas. In recent years, you've been allowed to stand right up behind the back row of the grandstand, except for the area marked "no standing." But just within this week, they've made it so all the standing areas on the 3rd base side are behind the walkway, so you're standing back-against-the-brick-wall with people passing in front of you. (This has been done way down the left field line before, but now they've got it marked off with white lines and everything. Behind the plate and on the first base side, you can still be right up against the back row, though. Another weird thing is that if you stand on the new staircase behind first base [edit, 11/21/08: meant to say third base], you have no one in your way, as you're a few feet above everyone else. The overhang is still hell, though. So here I was on a staircase, above everyone, peering out at the field. The security didn't seem to care. This is a great spot if you can get it.

And here's the view of the field from the staircase.

Now I'm way up on the right field roof. They just let anybody up there. Maybe just after a certain inning, I don't know. So this looks like the average bleacher shot, but look at the center field wall to get a sense of how high up and out this spot is.

Okay, now it's the ninth. Enough people have left with the Sox down four, so that I can get a good seat on the third base side. Above, Casey and Ellsbury cross bats, with Pedroia in the dugout. I heard an interview with Casey before the game. He was really great as you might expect.

This shot is for my dad, who likes watching Casey's horse routine at the plate.

Jacoby on deck as females take his picture even while they've got other stuff to do.

Jacoby at the plate.

Jacoby on first.

Dustin is up.

Papi comes up with two outs in the ninth, down four, and the hawk appears over the bleachers.

Manny is on deck, as Youk looks proverbially on.

And Papi hits a mega-dong! I had a great view of it.

And he crosses the plate.

And Manny congratulates.

So they had to bring this guy in. Manny almost took him deep, but it was caught in deep center, and the Angels held on for a 7-5 win. Then I went to my softball game, as described below. What I forgot to tell you is my new nickname. "Thunder." There's another dude with my name (spelled differently) on the team, and when we met he said we should have nicknames to avoid confusion, "like Thunder and Lightning or something." It stuck. I got Thunder. Oh, and at the end of the night on the way home in the car, a station played like five CCR songs in a row. Then the deejay came on and talked about a big community cleanup--of the field we just won on. Then as I pulled up to our house, he played "The Mighty Quinn." The cosmic ballet was complete. (Oh, and I found out we were actually down 13-5 going to the bottom of the last inning last night. A nine-run seventh! Purple team tries to make it two in a row next week....)


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Location: Rhode Island, United States