Sunday, August 03, 2008

Bad News For The Athletics Gallery

Here I am reflected in my friend Anne's sunglasses in the Monster Seats on Sunday. Next to me in his trademark-ish blue shirt is Sox owner John Henry. (That story here.)

Sunday: free meter day. There was nothing in my usual place, so we headed down Mass Ave., and the second metered spot after Boylston was empty. Gold. I still can't comprehend why anybody goes to the 30, 40, 50, and more dollar parking lots on a Sunday. So we got there just as gates were opening and headed up to the Monster Seats. Here's Lugo from above.

Sox hit indoors, so we only saw the pitchers. The A's hit a bunch of balls near us in BP, but we got nothing. The guy who hits fungoes hit some up to fans, too. It's amazing how they can hit to an exact spot.

It was really hot during BP. But during the game, there were so many clouds, we had plenty of relief.

Looking down the Monster.

We took a little walk down below before the game. I looked at the board and was saddened to see that the "Elvis" usher had died. I must've mentioned or shown a picture of him here, though I can't find anything right now. He used to sit at the top of section 14, at the spot where the walkway kind of juts out into the seats. He sat at his perch with his crazy sunglasses and rings. Maybe the media saw his weird hair and drove him out I never saw him get up--I don't know if he even could stand up, but he was a fixture at Fenway and it's too bad he's gone.

Sat behind the plate for a few minutes...

Got this chair shot.

Back on the Monster now. Dice-K, today's starter, in the pen before the rest of the pitchers arrived out there.

Youk and his happy fans.

My first picture of Jason Bay in a Sox uni. I started thinking of nicknames and stuff, but then the other day I casually called him "Esasky II" after mentioning he should pack an Esasky-type punch. If that's what I called him naturally, without thinking, that should be the nickname. Esasky II it is.

O.F. Lenny DiNardo with some skinny kid.

Ladies, gentlemen, transvestites, transsexuals, hermaphrodites, and all other creatures of the universe, your Oakland Athletics.

The empty Manny spot, at top.

The hawk about to perch on the right field light tower.

It was Rhode Island Day. Later this month, I will become a citizen of the Ocean State. Here, RI's favorite son, Jeremy Kapstein, does some catching.

The Big Hurt, who needs one more homer to tie Ted WIlliams.

The Rhode Island state flag, with its message of hope ("HOPE"), in place of that POW/MIA flag for the day.

Looking along the top of the Monster toward center field.

Sign in the left field seats.

Okay, so you'll notice I'm still in the front row as the game begins. For the second time in two tries this season, I went to the front row ($140 face value) despite having a standing room seat ($30), and was able to stay there the whole time. Last time it was just me, this time I had someone with me. But we were still able to pull it off, and even had an empty seat next to us. I have one more Monster game this season. We'll see if I can pull off the hat trick. Here's Esasky II below us, cleaning his glasses.

And after throwing a guy out at second, the sun shone on the Bay State.

Dice on the mound.

Papi batting in the first after we took a 1-0 lead.

Papi still up in this wide shot.

My first batting shot of E2.

My camera bag atop The Wall.

Jed Lowrie at short.

Anne's favorite, Dustin Pedroia at second.

Youk and & Myers in the dugout.

'coby at the 'late.

Jed with a two-run triple. He said later that there's nothing like smacking a three-bagger with men on base. Oh, wait, that was a quote from Babe Ruth that I read in Allan Wood's book, Babe Ruth and the 1918 Red Sox. I finally got it and I'm enjoying it. More on that when I finish it...

Jack Cust in the little inlet.

Papi stole second. Here he is right after.

A rare side shot of the Monster's famous ladder.

Imagine you're sitting in the Monster Seats, looking at the field. Then you look straight up. This is that view. Note the hawk snuck into this shot.

Watching the weather change was fun. We knew there was a chance of storms, and suddenly the flags started blowing in a different direction, and black clouds came in from behind us. I heard the crowd behind the Sox dugout gasp, so I knew there must be lightning behind us. Then there was crazy thunder. Then the skies opened.

Then they stopped the game, brought out the tarp, and kicked us all out of the Monster Seats so we wouldn't die of lightning-strike.

After one of the shortest rain delays ever, there were intermittent sun-showers.

Okajima took over for Dice after the delay. Dice gave up only a two-run dong (when we were up 4-0) and got the win. Oki went the 7th, MDC the 8th, and Pap got an easy save. 5-2 final.

Coco's barely out at first.

This really annoying drunk guy was all over Cust, and then equally annoyingly tried to get Bay to wave to us up there. Which he finally did.

Esask-equel out in left.

And an untucked Papi congratulates his mates.

Another "along the top" shot.

A scoreboard dude bringing numbers back to the little room.

A close-up of the spot where the track meets the grass from 37 feet up.

The new sign for the Bleacher Bar.

And the Pru on our way outta there.

I recommend the Monster Seats--but, of course, I also recommend doing it my way, paying 30 and sitting in the 140s. It also helps if you win the drawing in the first place. I initially lost, but won the unadvertised "second chance" drawing. Remember, people, paying attention in the off-season is your key to getting to Fenway. Also, paying attention during the season. Anyway, you really get to experience the whole crowd from up there. You do feel a tiny bit removed, but that's made up for b the fact that you can kind of monitor the whole park from up there, as well as the neighborhood behind you if you're in the standing room. It's cool to hear the "Let's go Red Sox" chant go from left to right, like an audio version of the Wave.

Thanks for the plug, yo.

You should have asked Henry which Sox blogs he checks out.
Nice pics! Funny that you should take a picture of the ladder. I read somewhere that the ladder was the only ground rule triple in baseball. I don't know if the ball has to get stuck in it or what. I can't imagine you'd get a triple just for hitting it, but who knows.
I agree about the Monster Seats. Back in '06 I had four front-row seats against the Angels. It's just an amazing experience up there. I also like having our own concession stand - you can easily hop up and get stuff in between innings and not miss anything.

Best non-game-related part (which isn't saying much 'cause the Sox lost 10-2 or something like that) was we were up there for the Angels' BP, and besides Guerrero trying to kill us with laser shots into the seats, was Jered Weaver shagging flies down below us.

My friends and I were calling down to the players down there, to toss us baseballs. At one point, Weaver turns around and chucks one up to my friend (perfect throw), who promptly bobbles it and drops it back into the field.

Weaver turns around and shakes his head sadly, and waggles his finger like he's not gonna throw us anymore since we botched the first one.

A little while later, we've got 3 balls (2 hit up from BP, one tossed up from a player), and I shout down to Weaver, "If you throw us one more ball, I swear we'll stop shouting at you!"

And he did, and we did.

P.S. Just to be clear, we weren't shouting anything demeaning or insulting. Mostly just "can we have a ball?" "Throw us a ball!". And I think he had beaten the Yankees a couple weeks before, so we were thanking him for that.

I'm sure the players get tired of fans shouting at them for baseballs, but the look on Weaver's face when my friend dropped the ball was priceless.

Burned by a major-leaguer. Classic. is the picture of the four of us with our baseballs.

I didn't go last year or this year when I was up visiting - I'll have to go in '09. Maybe I'll win more Monster seats, but I like your SRO "upgrade" option.

P.S. Nice camera you got there. Are some of those - like the YOUK shot - full frame, or did you crop in from a wider picture. If that's full frame, you've got a SERIOUS zoom on that thing.
sock: no problem. I was thinking the whole time of things to say to him, but I figured just let him be...

pweezil: search my archives for all my past ladder dialogues and's the only ladder in play in the Majors.

rob: nice story. I'm probably in the background of your pic, as I was there on 7/29 and 7/30 that year. The second game I was down by section 23 somewhere.

I do have a crazy zoom. Most of these are uncropped but a bunch aren't. The YOUK shot: I could zoom a lot farther but that's about as far as I can go without it getting too fuzzy. And I did crop them one down a little. The shot of Pedroia at second is full frame.

When David Newhan flipped me a ball one time, he was doing it to shut up some other people right near me, but I made the catch!
No kidding on the parking - my favorite spots are on Beacon Street near Kent Street. And that's if I drive - it's so much easier to just take the T or commuter rail to the T.

The bus over from Ruggles is very handy too.

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Location: Rhode Island, United States