A Haven for the Diehard Sox Fan
  Home > Departments > Diary of a Diehard > 2001 > Page 4

2001: Diary of a Season

Saturday, June 9, Fenway Park, Section 40

Phillies 5, Red Sox 2

Pedro warms up

Pedro was starting again, but I was more apprehensive this time. His last start had been in Yankee Stadium, and Jimy had pulled him after only 90 pitches. Naturally, as soon as he left the game, the Sox lost the lead and never recovered. Pedro said he felt fine, but I don't think anyone believed him. Surely Jimy wasn't just "keeping 'em fresh", saving him for later in the season at the sacrifice of losing to the Yankees. There had to be more to it than that. (When asked about Pedro's health, Jimy's only reply was, "The horse is in the barn.")

Pedro looked good at this game, though. Through seven innings, he had given up only one run, a solo shot by the number-nine hitter, and struck out nine. The Red Sox offense was up to their old tricks, and hadn't yet managed to score (although they would ironically score two runs in the bottom of the eighth, after Pedro had left). When Pedro came out to start the eighth, I thought it strange. I guess they were hoping to keep him in long enough for the Sox to score some runs so he could get the win, and he was below 100 pitches. But it seemed to me that if there was any question about his health, this would be the time to rest him - here, against the Phillies, after seven innings; not in Yankee Stadium after only six. But whatever the reason, he did start the eighth, and the only good thing that came of it was that I learned a scoring rule.

Pedro warms up Here's what happened in the Philadelphia eighth: Eric Valent singled. Johnny Estrada was hit by a pitch, moving Valent to second. Brian Hunter came in to pinch-run for Valent. Marlon Anderson singled, loading the bases. Doug Glanville singled, scoring Hunter, and moving Estrada to third and Anderson to second. At this point, Pedro was replaced by Rolando Arrojo. One run was in, and there were runners on first and third, for whom Pedro was responsible as far as ERA goes. Jimmy Rollins, the first batter Arrojo faced, doubled, scoring Estrada and Anderson. The next batter, Bobby Abreu, was intentionally walked to load the bases. Scott Rolen was up next, and he grounded it to shortstop, where Lansing threw home to get Glanville out (fielder's choice). The bases were still loaded, but the three runners aboard were Rollins, Abreu, and Rolen, none of whom had batted against Pedro. So we could charge Petey with four runs and close the book on him, right? Wrong!

According to Rule 10.18g of the Major League Rulebook: When pitchers are changed during an inning, the relief pitcher shall not be charged with any run (earned or unearned) scored by a runner who was on base at the time he entered the game, nor for runs scored by any runner who reaches base on a fielder's choice which puts out a runner left on base by the preceeding pitcher. Since Rolen reached on a fielder's choice as Pedro's runner was thrown out, Pedro then became "responsible" for Rollins, the runner at third, whom he hadn't even pitched to! Naturally, the next batter hit a sac fly, and Pedro was charged with all five of the Phillies' runs that day, while Arrojo's line reads 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 BB - which is hardly indicative of how horrible he was. Even worse, the fifth run pushed Pedro's ERA just over the 2.00 mark. He skipped his next start, and made two shorter starts before being placed on the D.L. with a frayed rotator cuff at the end of the month. It was bad enough to lose Nomar for most of the season, but without Pedro, we'd be in serious trouble.

Tuesday, June 12, Fenway Park, Section 32

Red Sox 4, Marlins 2

View from left field

The injuries were starting to get ridiculous. Nomar wasn't expected to be back until the second half. There were questions about Pedro's health. The latest blow was the loss of Jason Varitek, who broke his elbow making a diving catch of a foul ball and would be out for the rest of the season. By the end of the month, Chris Stynes, John Valentin, Craig Grebeck, Pete Schourek, Carl Everett, Rich Garces, and Frank Castillo would also all spend time on the D.L. In this game, Manny was out with the flu. Strangely enough, the Red Sox were actually in first place!

We were back in Section 32, and again the guys with the seats next to ours didn't show, so I moved over into my "lucky" seat. From there, I was able to watch the Red Sox take a 3-0 lead in the first inning and then cruise to a 4-2 win. Trot Nixon and Troy O'Leary homered, and Carl Everett had an RBI-double. Marlins center fielder Preston Wilson went 0-4 with a strikeout, which suited me just fine, since it was his stepfather Mookie who delivered a fatal blow to Red Sox fans a mere 15 years ago. I'm always scoreboard-watching, even in June, so I was happy to see the Yankees lose to the Expos and our lead increase.

Saturday, June 23, Fenway Park, Section 40

Blue Jays 9, Red Sox 6

Where Manny hits 'em We were back in Section 40 again, where you can't see the Jumbo-Tron. (Not that that's an integral part of the game or anything, but if you're keeping score and the Blue Jays happen to start someone like Cesar Izturis, it helps to know how to spell his name.) But what we did need that afternoon was a good view of the Green Monster, or more specifically, above the Green Monster.

A Manny Ramirez home run is not like a normal home run. When he hits one over The Wall, it's not the pop fly type that would be an out in a different park. I had seen him smash one onto the roof of the parking garage across the street from Fenway in May. At the beginning of June, he hit one well into the 5th deck of the SkyDome in Toronto. At 491 feet, it was the longest ever hit in that facility. In the first inning of this game, he hit one that banged off the Fleet (pitch speed) sign on the light tower in left-center field. That's a long way to hit it, and I don't know if anyone had hit it before, since the sign's only been there since 2000. The shot was measured at 463 feet, and since Chris Stynes had already homered, it gave the Sox a 2-0 lead.

Frank Castillo got knocked around and didn't make it out of the second inning. (Even Izturis got into the act, hitting a single in his first major league at-bat.) Arrojo came in in relief and let all his inherited runners score (and get charged to Castillo). By the time the Sox came up in the bottom of the third, they were down 9-4. This game was going to be a slugfest, and who better to get the Sox back in it than Manny Ramirez! When he came to the plate at the start of the third, I was still marveling at the distance of his first-inning homer. On an 0-1 count, he launched one down the left field line. I could tell it was huge, but couldn't discern from my seat whether it would be fair or foul. I lost sight of the ball, but then the fans in the left field stands started cheering! It turned out this was the homer everyone was talking about after the game. It had actually hit one of the lights in the light tower! The Wall is 37 feet high. The screen above The Wall is another 23 feet. On the light tower, above the top of the screen, are the Coke bottles. Well above the Coke bottles is the bank of lights, and that's where Manny's ball hit. I would have loved to have seen where that would have landed if nothing had been in its way. Suddenly the idea of someone driving down the Mass. Pike winding up with a baseball in his lap didn't sound so far-fetched. We waited for the "tale of the tape" to say how far it had gone, but it wasn't announced during the game.

The reason was this: On June 9, 1946, Ted Williams hit a mammoth blast to right field, 502 feet from home plate. It traveled to Section 42, Row 37, Seat 21, where it landed on Joseph A. Boucher's straw hat. As Boucher later recalled, "They say it bounced a dozen rows higher, but after it hit my head, I was no longer interested." That Williams shot was the longest ever hit at Fenway, and the seat has been painted red to mark the spot. Manny's homer was huge, there was no question about that. But since it had hit the light tower, it was harder to figure how far it could have gone. The distance was finally estimated at 501 feet, (coincindentally or not-so-coincidentally) one foot shorter than Ted Williams' homer.

<<< Previous Page     |     1     2     3     Page 4     5     6     7     8     9     |     Next Page >>>

HomeDepartmentsFeaturesArchivesMore InfoInteractSearch Diary of a DiehardRedSoxDiehard.comRandom page
E-mail the webmasterPost to Message Board
This page and all photos copyright © 2001-2002 by Kristen D. Cornette.