Saturday, April 11, 2009

A W Is Two Vs

Good to get a win--and with our fifth starter. I love watching Bay hit homers in that Angels park, reminds me of last year's ALDS. Did you notice his sleeve socks are crooked? The socks logo, whether alone or as part of the full logo, is something people have problems positioning. I see it messed up on cars all the time. Some people try to make the top of the top sock horizontal--that turns it too far left. Others try to make the bottom of the bottom sock horizontal--that turns it too far right. And that's what they did with the socks on Jason's sleeve. It's almost like each player was given a logo for their mom to iron on, and Jason's mom got a little too creative. His socks look like they've just kicked, angled up and turned counterclockwise. Maybe that was the key to his success in the field and at the plate in the new road uni, though.

You'd think Fox would have made mention of the fact that we were wearing this new uniform, after having worn the old for 20 years, but no. They also seem to not be using a studio this year! So weird. And listed as the seventh hitter in the Angels lineup instead of "Juan Rivera LF" was "Jon Garland P."

Papelbon killed me with the 0-2 meatballs--and that last ball almost popped out of Rocco's glove (no replay from Fox), but we got it done. 2-3 now.

Hey, when I was at Yankee Stadium, I noticed on one of the instant replays that the camera shot from behind home plate--the one they show on any batted ball--was from below screen level. In other words, you were looking through the screen on any ball in play, like with some spring training games. Makes sense, as the place reminds me of the spring training parks, but I assumed they'll fix this. However, they may not have. Raissman mentions it here.

Speaking of the Yanks, they just beat the Royals 6-1, with Teixeira out of the lineup with a sore wrist, and Baltimore beat TB 6-0. So Toronto is 5-1 and the O's are 4-1. Crazy. We're tied with TB at the bottom, 2-3. Yanks are 3-2.

Attn: Psychos

You know what people forget? That there are a LOT of mediocore teams in the league. Every year, I look at the Yanks' problems, get all excited about it--only to watch them face the Royals like every day. You know what I mean? A team like the Red Sox would have to try really hard at losing to not be in the pennant race, as some psychos seem to be fearing. We happen to be starting out against playoff teams. Yes, these are the teams we'll have to beat eventually, but those matchups won't happen until months of baseball have been played--and these guys will be ready.

Sox on Fox today at 4:10.

First Fenway Game Of 2009

Above, the first picture I took in Fenway Park in 2009. Wednesday, April 8th.

Left: old seats, right: new seats. You're supposed to line up at 4:10 to go the Monster Seats for BP for a 7:10 game, if you have an RSN membership. At 4:40, they let you up there for a half-hour. I got there right at 4:10 and there were at least 50 people on line already. When we went up, we were only allowed on the right half of the Monster, and I quickly realized I could also go to the bleachers, too, which I should've done, as the few people who did got easy HR balls.

Instead, I stayed up there, and got nothing. Here's the improved RF roof area.

Now I'm down close--note the row letters on the new field box seats.

I was psyched to see Gabe Kapler again. (He had previously returned with the Brewers.)

Pat Burrell in a non-Phillies uniform.

It was cold and windy.

Longoria pointing to where his self-esteem went.

The new loge seats/ground/paint.

New grandstand. The seats have all been restored with springback mechanisms. It used to be "fall forward" as you slammed your shin into a seat bottom, now it's "spring back."

Very close to the 2004 banner.

New shelf for standing room behind the plate.

View from said shelf.

Look at that. Not one seat in the down position. Of course, this is only from dugout to dugout.

You can really see how bright red the new seats are.

Walkway on first base side, now lower.

And from the first row of the loge, you can really tell--look how far you have to go up just to reach the first row. The back row of the field boxes are also raised up now.

Carlos Pena and friends/relatives.

A Tampa player's shoes--maybe Iwamura. But look, that's a Red Sox Baldelli bat! Long after Red Sox BP has ended.

I saw the shots of them putting up a new screen--but it really is different, coming down to the wall at an angle. And I don't think the facing of it goes as high as it used to. But the big question on everybody's chapped lips was, Did they "fix" the top part, where balls would roll up and then drop straight down into the crowd? On the first foul ball, it appeared they did, as it just rolled back toward the field. Every one after that, though, dropped into the crowd. Nice. If only those people paid attention and knew it was coming, but they never seem to.

Underneath the first base grandstand is a door from 1912--and in it they now have a replica of the 1912 World Series trophy, and a pic of that year's team.

The story of the door.

And just to the left, year-by-year Bud ads. Much like the WS logos they have up by the players' lot outside, which went up last year despite someone on UniWatch saying they were knew for this season.

The "ca" lights are out. To the right of those, the lights that are on, but don't show up in photographs. And on the outsides, the lights that are on and do show up.

Another shot of the old seats next to the new seats.

Now I'm way down the first base line. Check out thee one green plastic seat among the blue wooden ones.

It's funny how when Tek plays long toss with the pitcher, he appears to be part of the crowd.

Jon Lester, who would take the loss that night.

Kazmir, Kazmir, Kazmir!

Fans watch Lester warm up.

Those WS logos I mentioned earlier? They're also in that stairway behind section 1.

They've got a monitor up in the Cumb. Farm. section. I like how this sign kind of blends in unoffensively. I also remember the old ad from Red Sox games back in the early 80s on radio (on "Campbell's Sports Network")--"that Cumberland quality, Cumberland charm, something something, Cumberland Farms." Can anybody fill in that third line?

Rocco's first Red Sox start.

My first regular season Red Sox pitch of '09.

Another new thing: the starting lineups show the player on the board, with shots of old Red Sox greats playing behind them, with the position of the old matching that of the new, so, Lester would have Smoky Joe Wood, Bay would have Ted Williams, etc.

And of course, we still have the Fenway tradition where every seventh inning stretch, you have to tell all the shocked fools around you that Sweet Caroline plays, as it has for years and years, in the middle of the EIGHTH INNING. Of course, I beat them to it now--they'll go "but what happened to...??!!!" and I'll say, "eighth inning." I'm telling you, next time you go to Fenway, just start looking around during the 7th inning stretch, and you'll see the faces start to contort--it's fun to predict which drunken college girl/boy will be the first to ask what happened to Sweet Caroline. Listen to my spiel about that here--maybe skip ahead to about 3 minutes or so.

Oh, and the House of Blues on Lansdowne is finally, essentially, done:

Edited to add: I forgot to mention the family hour, which is the first hour after gates open. This is when food prices are really cheap. They're only doing it in April. When I go to games, I buy one thing: a slice of pizza. Even if I did drink beer, I like to think I wouldn't need one at a game. I see how many innings people miss and how much cash they spend just to get beer, and I feel like I wouldn't want to do that anyway. And in most cases, I don't feel the need to buy a four dollar water when I can just take a few gulps at the water fountain before the game. But I usually get my one slice (or those personal Papa Gino's pizzas that are the size of a Kennedy half). So anyway, in that first hour, I got my pizza slice--for $2.25! On the second day, I got two on principle.


Late night loss, 6-3. Wake didn't do all that bad. We have been getting robbed in the field a lot, but we need more key hits.

We wore the new alternate blues, complete with blue socks, which were shown off by Masterson. I like how the names are directly sewn on as opposed to being on nameplates. I assume it'll be like that for the new grays which we'll break out tomorrow. I don't like the names at all, but they're gonna be there, scrap the plates.

Yanks won behind notorious cheater and liar Andy Pettitte, so they're a game up on us.

The Red Sox online ticketing service is now using the "two words separated by a space" method instead of the long number.

Ooh! The Blue Jays have finally come up with a slogan: You Belong at the Game. All slogans here.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Tampa Bay @ Red Sox, April 9th, 2009, 1:35 PM

Thursday was a beautiful afternoon for earl April. As I learned the night before, the RSN perk of going to the Monster Seats for batting practice a half hour before gates open is a very popular thing. Since there was no BP on this day, I went to the bleachers (also a smart move when there is BP) along with maybe three other people. It was a great feeling to just sit in a nearly empty Fenway Park in the sun.

There were more Red Sox pitchers on the field than combined people in the stands, minus the Monster Seats which were filled. Note the new Cumberland Farms sign and revamped RF roof boxes.

And to my right, along the medium-height center field wall.

Jon Lester, who threw in the 'pen a day after I saw him lose in the cold and wind.

Behind me, looking up the bleacher stairs. The bleachers were redone before last season--look how dirty the green paint on the steps has gotten in a year.

Looking toward the right end of the center field wall.

View from out there.

Section 40.

Papelbon showing somebody something about pitching....

Flock of birds by the Coke sign, which now has some lights out, further complicating the fact that some of them don't show up in photographs anyway.

The spot where the center field wall ends/starts.

Saito and Ramirez watch Brad Penny throwing in the bullpen.

Here's Millicent himself.

Ramon Ramirez running.

The new field box seats. They're red versions of the new (2008) bleacher seats by American Seating, with the slats on the back, only these have....

...padding! I have to say, sitting on these seats, you don't really feel the padding at all.

Back out in the bleachers. Note the Citgo sign barely visible and at an extreme angle.

A sea of bleacher seats.

The view from high in section 41. Any seat in the right field bleachers is great, no matter how high you go.

I never realized the Bud crown is curved.

Wheeler turns into some kind of handless, tractor-headed beast.

Dice-K started, and lost.

First Fenway hawk shot of 2009.

Dwight Evans threw out the first ball.

First broken bat shot of 2009.

Fenway Park, April 9th, 2009.

I still haven't seen a replay, but a Tampa player hit one off the wall, and these people seem to think it was a foul ball.

Pap in the 'pen.

I finally started to go closer late in the game. They're still futzing with the positioning of the standing room spots where I was for this shot of Pedroia.

For the ninth, I found a seat in the last row of the field boxes. Here are Nick Green and Pedroia.

Okajima on the hill, with the man who invented the "no socks look," George Hendrick, coaching first.

The field from the good seats.

Okay, you've heard about how the main walkway has been lowered, right? Well you can really tell, especially on the third base side as shown above, looking toward home plate. The front row of the loge can probably see over walkers' heads now.

My current favorite dude, Justin Masterson, with Carlos Pena on third.

Local hero Carlos Pena.

The Sox dugout getting ready to make a comeback.

Varitek homered to start the ninth, making it 4-3 Tampa. But Youk's fly ball was caught on the track with the tying run on....

I will go back and post Wednesday pictures soon.

(A few more pics from this game here.)

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