Saturday, April 09, 2011

Some Pics From Today

I don't like the new Fenway opening style. Again when we got in, Red Sox BP was already over. And though both Gate A and D open 2 hours before game time (while the rest are 1.5), if you go in Gate D, you still enter the actual park over at Gate A so you're not going right in. Also, the ticket scanners are incredibly slow. It took so long to get to the front of a line we were maybe 20th on. By the time we were behind one other twosome, we still didn't get in for at least a minute since it took that long for them to scan those people's tickets. Then we finally get in, and they're herding everyone to one stairway, in through one walkway to the field, where you can only go between the bases. UNHEARD OF at Fenway. Once that initial half-hour ended and the rest of the gates opened, finally anyone could go anywhere. But I hope this isn't the new way at Fenway. It's not like this is some bonus half-hour. ALL gates used to open two hours before game time, and you could go in any of them and go to any spot you wanted and roam freely. Why would they want to take that away? And we don't see Red Sox batting practice any more on top of it! Go back to normal, Fenway!

El Tiante.

April 9th, 2011.

Didn't realize Millar was in this shot till now! I took this to show Rosenthal's bow tie. I saw him yesterday and he didn't have it on. If you have a bow tie and you go to the first two games, why wouldn't you wear the thing for Opening Day?

Nice day. Not as cold as yesterday. Fine once the sun hit us.

They have a spot now for some old Fenway stuff.

Some shots of the new boards from on high:

What's up with that second "new" behind the other one on the new balance sign? Will they raise it up on certain occasions? "Somebody got an inside-the-park home run on heroin...that's NEW!"

Boston on a beautiful April day.

Look at how the new board cut off three letters on the right side....

Crappy game. 1-7.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Fenway Park Opening Day Gallery

First 2011 pic inside Fenway. I blew the parking--one lot cost more than I thought and another turned out to be closed. I hate non-Sunday day games! (Parking-wise only.) So I put it in a metered spot and hoped the inevitable ticket would cost less than the lots do. More on that later.

Was there waiting when the gates opened Red Sox batting practice! I guess it got moved up since they had the ceremony to do. So I only saw two Sox players at that time. Above, Cameron goofin with Captain Kangapoo.

The token Monster scoreboard shot.

The other Socker I saw--Ortiz pulling a Pedro-Posada with Cano.

If there are buntings at a baseball game, I will take a picture of them.

The new clock.

The new boards. I think they did a fine job. They don't look too much different than the old, but they're HD and they're all screen. The ads you see on them can disappear. In this shot, the main board is still made to look like the old board, but that would soon change.

The bottom of the CF board. They're also using new fonts everywhere.

It was a nice sunny day...until the sun went away and it became as cold as it can get short of seeing-your-breath weather.

This would be the view from my seat, second row grandstand. I have to say, the pole that I knew would be in my view was in the best possible place. I could see the whole infield, and on the other side of the pole, the scoreboards.

Up at the back of the RF grandstand, the whole ground and the fence are new and improved (as is the ground in the entire RF GS/boxes and the VOMITorium beneath).

And looking back the other way toward the infield.

The RF boxes with its new seats and better cross-aisle/wheelchair area. So now all the seats in the entire lower level are new, except for the grandstand seats, which now all have the springback seat. And all the concrete all around is new. Here's to fifty more years. And then fifty more after that.

This in that warm spot beneath the first base seats. Good job taking away the Budweiser logos through the years and putting up Red Sox ones! So here we have the old logo, showing its end in 2008--though they don't show the new version of it, they show the socks since that's the current primary logo. But look closely--they effed up that logo! The "Red Sox" type is blue with red border instead of red with blue border! Even people who don't realize that logo has been tweaked will notice that one....if you think I'm pissed about people not using the updated version, imagine what I think of seeing a logo that NEVER existed.

I couldn't capture the newness of the roomier Gate D area. But you can see this new shelf they've got there. This is looking down the third base line toward RF. Last year this shot would have had that Guinness booth straight ahead.

In this shot you can see how much the RF board sticks out, it's in front of the CF board from here. (I should have walked up a few more steps to get the full effect.)

Close-up of the clock. This replaces the clock on the CF board--even though you see it in the above pics, it will soon disappear....

Yeah, dude!

Home plate guy.

Castiglione, Orsillo, and O'Brien were the emcees for the ceremony. Here, Joe greets Johnny Pesky.

Papelbon and his cop buddies.

The Red Sox and the Yankees.

The new boards "unveiled." It all crumbled away to reveal the fact that they could use the entire surface of the thing to show video.

Here's the board with the whole thing used for live HD video.

Johnny Pesky.

That woman who wears Fenway Park on her head was a few seats away from me. She wasn't wearing her park! Instead she had a ball on her head.

Yaz threw out the first ball.

Here's Yaz in non-video form.

First pitch of the year at home.

What the boards look like during the game. The one to the right, outside this shot, shows the lineup.


Pedroia has just hit a dong and is psyched.

Finally Adrian puts his head up so I can get a shot of him. We went up early, Lackey gave it all back--he always seems to pitch good enough to barely lose--but key hits by Sodium and Drew gave us the lead which the pen held.

Papelbon gets the save. 1 and 6! Yes!

I pulled a reverse move from my usual--I started in a great seat and ended in the SRO area. I wanted to get warmed up, and honestly, my section was full of drunks, texters, and know-nothings. At least the few rows around me anyway. There weren't a lot of Yanks fans this time--fewest I've seen in a while. The only ones around me were the two guys in front of me with fat heads and NO Yankee gear on (cowards!), and one other guy with a bombastic Yankee championship jacket who like the other two stayed pretty quiet. No fighting or anything. But usually I'm in the bleachers so this was different--though I feel, especially after today, that the bleacher fans are better fans than the rich kids who can't pronounce "Lackey." We are the best fans in baseball and it's not even close, but sometimes you find yourself in a bad spot, could happen anywhere.

I'll never forget where I was when I found out Manny retired--the urinal! Manny sure isn't helping us in the "Manny's not a moron" camp....

Oh...and I got back to my car to find a ticket for...25 bucks! Ha! The parking lot I was right next to charged $35! Looks like I've discovered another secret. The cheapest lot right near Fenway on a non-Sunday day game is...any spot you want.

Opening Days I've, Like, Been To

4/8/2011: ???
Rangers Ballpark, 4/1/2011. No need to click that link, it's from a few days ago.
Fenway Park, 4/4/2010. Pedro!
Fenway Park, 4/8/2008. Ring ceremony, etc.
Fenway Park, 4/11/2005. Ring ceremony, etc. -- pictures are gone, because I had those hosted through a now-defunct aol pictures site. But they were just video stills and I still have the video so eventually I'll repost.
Yankee Stadium, 4/3/2005. Pics gone, same deal as above. Except they were early digital camera shots.
Yankee Stadium, 4/12/1993. (Links from here down are just to the box scores.) Don't have much of a memory of this Yanks-Royals game, only non-Red Sox Opening Day game I've attended. Went with a friend/Bronx-native Yankee fan.
Yankee Stadium, 4/7/1992. I was in high school--did I skip school for this? And the '93 game? I was a senior for that and a junior for this. Maybe it was April vacation. Anyway, Mo Vaughn hit the foul pole and I saw it from the left field bleachers. Both these Yankee Stadium games were general admission bleachers. What they used to do is open up the RF bleachers and then start forcing people through to the left field bleachers when the RF was full. My ticket stubs from both these games are at the end of my tribute to the BRUT sign.

And that's it, as far as I can remember. I've also been to a bunch of those exhibition games that are in the real parks right before the season starts. Like this year in Houston and the first games at the new Mets and Yanks parks in '09. So I got that goin' for me.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Getting Ridiculous

I hope you missed this afternoon game. Lester pitched great. 7 innings, zero runs. But we didn't score any either. So it was 0-0 in the bottom of the 8th. Bard comes in and walks the first guy. Then while the next guy is trying to sacrifice, they surprise us with a stolen base. Then they bunt the runner to third, then they squeeze him home. No hits, one run. So it goes to the ninth. Our first two go down, before Papi walks, and Darnell pinch runs for him. Drew hits a dribbler toward third. Not gonna be a play--tying run now on second....but no! Darnell, thinking he might be able to the mildly uncovered third base, rounds second way too fast, and when he stops himself, he slips. It was the slip that was key, because even rounding that far was okay, he knew he had plenty of time to get back--if he hadn't slipped, which he did. So he goes crawling desperately back to the bag and is thrown out barely. Game over. NESN had only one angle on it. We were shielded on that angle. Darnell argued. I think he may have been safe but we had no other angle to look at. If it was a bad call, it wouldn't have been the first of the game as the umping was as foggy as the day. So another weird loss, and we're 0-6. I don't care about the 0-6, but I do care about losing six goddamn games in a row. If just a tiny bit of the offense showed up today--against freakin' Fausto Carmona--it's an easy win. Home opener tomorrow. Rays down 2-0. We need them to lose so we're not the only 0-6 team.

2 Complaints

1. I've mentioned this before, but I hate the official MLB way of having the "winning" bullpen and the "losing" bullpen. You're down by ONE run and you automatically have to bring in the scrubs. Why can't you play with the attitude that your awesome offense can come back from one run down against a shitty team with several innings left to play? Nope, they always save the real 'pen for when it's at least tied. Of course, in a perfect world, your "scrubs" are good enough to keep the deficit where it is. But obviously the manager always believes these guys over here are the ones who can hold a lead and these guys over here aren't good enough, so they only come in when the team's losing. So what's bound to happen? You win games you're ahead after 5-6 innings and you lose the rest--why not try to win every game, or at least the ones you've got a shot in? I guess they figure they don't wanna "waste" the good guys in a losing situation. But sometimes you have a chance to make a comeback--and that chance can disappear if you go to the bad 'pen, making it so you never get a chance to bring in the good 'pen.

2. How long has DVR technology been around? Why is it that baseball games are scheduled for exactly 3 hours? My point is, if I forget to record the show that comes on AFTER the game, I'm gonna miss the end of the game. There has to be a better way.

Actually, let's move on to two more 'plaints: NESN, leave baseball on the main channel, and put hockey on some alternate channel that's not available in HD in Providence. Why? Because I like baseball and I don't like hockey.

And the final one, TJ by Tek on that play. Youk did the right thing after he dropped the ball--get the out right in front of you, knowing you've got another easy out that also stops a run. I guess Tek didn't see him touch the bag or something, or thought what Remy thought, that the ump called it a purpose-drop and the play was dead. But you gotta tag the guy if you're at all unsure....

So 0-5. That's .000 to you and me, kids. I'm gonna keep guaranteeing wins until we get one. Thursday afternoon, I guarantee a win. No, a perfect game. But I'll take any win so we're not 0-6 going into Opening Day at Fenway.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Fun Things

This thing is cool. If you know someone who was at the Final Four, send 'em that link.

If you want to see whales and dolphins and seals, go to New York City.

Read all about the Fenway improvements for 2011 here. A few key things: Jamba Juice. And *new* veggie burgers and veggie dogs. Anything will be an improvement over their old ones. Instead of all gates opening 2 hours before games, now only A and D will do so. The rest will open 1.5 hours before game time. This kinda stinks, since I usually enter Gate B, where you can always be the first one in since no actual line forms (and, hardly anyone seems to know it exists.) So now if I want to get in when the park opens, I'm forced over to Yawkey Way, which has the biggest crowds. (Unless I do the RSN early entry out in center field, but I still don't know if I'm gonna sign up for that this year.) I'm also intrigued by the new analog clock at the back of the bleachers. (Also note that in the press release, they left a "(delete comma)" notation in there!)

Winless Sox @ Cleve, 7:oo.

Ad Wizards

At the Cincinnati Reds' marketing department:

Okay, people, let's hear those ideas for the new slogan. Bob?

I've been holed up all winter, and after months of constant brainstorming, I've come up with this: "Get Your Reds On."

Very good, Bob. I've never heard that one before. It's almost too good. I'm already thinkin' that's our winner. But let's see what everyone else came up with, just in case. Julie?

Also "Get Your Reds On."



Ed, anything?

"Get Your..."

Besides Get Your Reds On?

Well...that was my biggie, but I did have one other idea.... You guys ever hear of Red Sox Nation?

(all) Yeah.

And Yankees Universe?

(all) Sure.

And Cardinals Nation? And Twins Territory? And Birdland? And DodgerTown? And NatsTown?

Where you goin' with this, Stevens?

Well, hear me out...what if we were to take the Reds, and put a location after it?

Just... just like those other ones!



I present you with: Reds Country.

(all faint)


So there ya go. I've added it to the list of new slogans. You'll also see the Rangers have taken a big step into...2002.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Spike Owen For President. Minus Spike President.

The good news is I got to watch my first hi-def Red Sox game in my own home.

The bad news is the thing about losing again. Just a basic, disheartening, ho-hum kind of loss in front of seven fans in Cleveland. It's up to Dice tomorrow night to be the only starter to get a win in the first five games.

In other news, I'd been waiting to see if your New England Ford Dealers would yet again go with the old Sox logo on their commercials. Over the winter they've been using the Celts logo, but tonight, I got to see their first commercial of the baseball season. This year they're saying that they're not only the "official" sponsor of both the Sox and Celts, but that they're an "enthusiastic" one, too. But sure enough, this enthusiastic sponsor is STILL going with the old, un-updated logo. This marks their third year of not knowing. I think it's finally time I let them off the hook with an e-mail.

[Update 10:03: Was pleasantly surprised to see the Twins tied the Yanks after being down 4-0 late. SorryAsshole 2 blew it. Now they've gone ahead in the 10th!]

[Update 10:24: Yanks lose--Jeter makes final out as a bonus.]

Sorry Cleveland Indians

We've played three games and we're more than three games out of first place. We are pissed. You happen to be the team in our path. We have to kick your asses.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Opening Day Photo Gallery

Go Big Red. Spotted this Nebraska bus amongst the tailgaters--I guess this guy represents "North Texas Nebraskans" and brings this thing around, even to non-Nebraska, non-football games.

The stadium isn't too pretty from the outside so I'm not posting pics of it--but here's the nearby Cowboys' stadium, across the Nolan Ryan Expressway. The whole scene is so non-Fenway. The stadiums are way out in the middle of nowhere, with just parking lots (and Six Flags) surrounding them. Everybody gets herded in, tailgates, and then enters the park. I met two Sox fans from Portland, Oregon, who were very upset that there were no bars--or anything else--in the vicinity of the ballpark.

Lots opened at 10, gates 12, pre-game ceremony at 2:30, game at 3:05. I took this shot when I got in, while a Globe photographer took shots of me.

Soon the Rangers came out. Here's Kinsler.

Ron Washington being active.

Some more Rangers.

Drugs McJesus, old friend Adrian Beltre, and other old friend (and, apparently, Texas fan favorite!) David Murphy.

Pretty nice park, but the more I see of the "new cookie cutters," the more I realize you can't imitate the classics.

Inside the VOMITorium.

That CF grass thing that kids run on to get home runs.

Behind the center field fence there's this big fun zone.

From the bullpen. If you go to this park, explore it before the game. Even though it has a modern setup, the walkways are all packed during the game. Going from right to left field was sardiney.

All through the pre-ceremony time, they were showing a show about Pedro. So every shot I took with the scoreboard in it has Pedro on it!

From the outfield.

Finally the Red Sox emerged. Here's Tito.


Adrian Gonzalez.

Carl Crawford and his tats.

Papelbon and CHB.

The Sox warming up, and that Globe photographer, Chris Something. (Not taking a pic of Heidi Watney, though it appears that way.)

That reporter? The "weed" guy!


Papi talkin' to Beltre.

Pedroia and Bobby Valentine. I saw him on two consecutive Fridays, once in Stamford, CT, once in Arlington, TX.

Pull my finger...pull it!

Watney interviews Theo.

I wanted to see them raise the AL Champs flag, and the overhang would prevent that since I had a standing room ticket. So I went upstairs for the ceremony. They brought out all these old Rangers--here's Jeff "And A Little Child Shall Lead Them" Frye!

Your 2011 Boston Red Sox.

The 2010 AL Champs flag. Eat it, Yankees.

Youk in pre-game.

Carl Crawford's first Red Sox at bat.

Adrian Gonzalez's first Red Sox at bat. It was a good first inning, but every time we'd take the lead, Lester would give up a dong.

The Texas Rangers: Another institution unaware that the Red Sox changed this logo. In 2008.

Lester pitches to Christ McBoozeCokeFraud.

W in the house! "Hey Nolan, sit between Laura and me, I don't like broads around me while I'm killin' kids...I mean, watchin' baseball."

Another shot of the special people. Get this: Just like in Houston, they played that "stars at night" song. And freakin' Bush didn't do the claps! He was raised in Texas! He was the governor of Texas! And he just sat there! It was like the Homer Thompson moment--"okay, Mr. President, you're gonna hear a cue, and when you hear it, you're gonna clap four times. Okay?" "Okay." "The stars at night, are big and bright...." (birds chirp) "I thiiiink he's talkinnnng to youuuu."

Wakefield came in once the game was out of hand. Here he pitches to the old Adrian.

Overall the Texas experience was interesting. All the ushers and several fans talked to me about where I'm from, etc. The Sox fan contingent wasn't very big at all, which I think was because these Texas fans obviously wanted to be there for their AL champs on day one. I entered and lost their lottery for a chance to buy tix, and they said 500,000 people entered I think.

Oh and it was hot that day, but I was in shade the whole time, and actually got a pretty nice breeze.

They did have that thing where they keep you out of certain areas. At one point I took some stairs to try to get to the next level up. Unmarked stairs. When I got to the top, this older usher woman said in her best Mandrell Sisters Christmas Special accent, "where are you going?" I was like, What? Put a fucking sign if you don't want people going up the stairs. And when people do it, how about some of that southern hospitality I've heard so much about? Oh and speaking of this stuff, did you know there's a checkpoint on the highway in Texas? Not at the border, just right in the middle of the highway. They stopped every car. They asked me where I was going and where I'd been and if I was a citizen. They looked in my trunk. The guy wasn't digging my bearded aura, so he asked if I'd "mind" if he searched my vehicle. (Because I was, ya know, innocently driving across what touts itself incessantly as a "free country.") Even though I wanted to say something else, I said, knowing I had nothing to hide, "not at all." And apparently that was the code for being innocent, because he then said, "go ahead" and defeatedly looked toward the next car. Of course, I didn't know if he meant "go ahead on your way" or "go ahead to the official unreasonable bullshit search area," but I was speeding away by the time that question had finished crossing my mind. With my guns and drugs, assholes! Ha!

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