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2004: Diary of a Season

Tuesday, May 11, Fenway Park, Green Monster Section M9

Red Sox 5, Indians 3

Nomar takes batting practice

Manny's first game as a U.S. citizen

View from the Monster

The next night was our game on the Green Monster! I left work early for this special occasion and went in as soon as the gates opened. Batting practice was in progress, so we had to be careful not to turn our backs to the field lest a ball come our way, and we walked around to check out the field from every vantage point. The view was fantastic! I had been on the Green Monster once before, when taking a Fenway Park tour last summer, but to be up there for a game - even during batting practice - was special. We watched Nomar Garciaparra take batting practice. His heel injury was nagging longer than first thought, but we hoped this signaled that he'd be returning soon. There was one person taking B.P. whom we didn't recognize, even after taking telephoto pictures. We read in the paper the next day that it was Troy Brown of the New England Patriots, who had come to hang out with the team that day.

Manny Ramirez had missed the previous night's game to be sworn in as a U.S. citizen, and this was his first game back. When the players took the field at the start of the game, Manny ran out to his position in left field carrying an American flag, and handed it off to some fans in the left field stands.

There are ten seating sections on the Green Monster, from Section M1 next to the left field foul pole to Section M10 in center field. We were in Section M9, right next to the light tower in center field. We were in the middle row, and each row is high enough above the others that people in the front row could stand up and not block us. It felt like my family and the three other people in our row had our own private box. Down on the center field end of the Monster, it's almost 379 feet to home plate, but because we couldn't see the deepest part of left field, it felt much closer, like we were seated right behind the shortstop. We had a counter in front of us where we could put our food and the rest of our things. (Not having to juggle my scorecard on my lap made it the neatest one I've ever kept!) At one game in 2001 I had a seat in the front row near the on-deck circle, which was the best I've ever had at Fenway. Tonight's seat rivaled that location as one of the best seats in the house. All night we kept repeating, "This is so awesome!" Even the weather was perfect. The day before had been 61 degrees at the start of the game, but when it got dark and the wind started up, it felt cold in the stands. When we bought tonight's tickets we had figured a night game in early May sitting up on the Monster would probably be cold. But instead it was 83. When the temperature was announced during the starting lineups before the game, it got a big cheer!

Pedro Martinez gave up a two-run double to Victor Martinez in the first inning. The Red Sox had played a four-game series in Cleveland last week, and the Tribe had scored two runs in the first inning in all four games. They also scored twice in the first in last night's game, and now again tonight. That was starting to get old! At least all three outs had come on strikeouts. Pedro struck out the side again in the second. In the third, Gabe Kapler got the Sox on the board with a homer into the Monster seats. (It wasn't out near us; it went into section M1 or M2 down near the foul pole.) David Ortiz tied it up, with a monstrous homer down the right field line off C.C. Sabathia in the third. Meanwhile Pedro settled down and didn't allow another baserunner, while striking out 11. We were on the end of the Monster near the standing room area where the K-Men post K's whenever Pedro pitches, and they were busy tonight.

Alan Embree came in for the eighth with the score still 2-2. He gave up a solo homer to Victor Martinez which went into the Monster seats, but it went into section M4 near the Sports Authority sign, not out near us. All night when a ball was hit into deep left we'd lose sight of it, and we had to listen for a tell-tale thunk to know if it hit the wall. In the eighth, the Indians went to their bullpen, and the Sox got going again. With two outs, Ortiz and Bill Mueller hit back-to-back doubles (thunk!) to tie the game. Gabe Kapler singled, and Brian Daubach was sent up to pinch-hit for Pokey Reese. When the Tribe brought in a lefty, Terry Francona countered by calling in Dave McCarty instead. The move paid off, as McCarty ripped a triple, scoring both runners and giving the Sox a 5-3 lead. Keith Foulke finished off the game with a 1-2-3 ninth, and we high-fived the K-Men on our way down the stairs.

Monster viewThe Green Monster seats

Wednesday, May 12, Fenway Park, Section 40

Indians 6, Red Sox 2

This was my third day in a row at Fenway, and my fourth out of the last five. Tonight's game was another one in our Tenth Man Plan. We were back in Section 40, behind the bullpen fence and again with a giant puddle under our feet, even though it hadn't rained in several days. It certainly wasn't the luxury of the Green Monster! The weather was nice again, and again the announcement of the game-time temperature (71 tonight) got a big cheer.

Tim Wakefield gave up a run in the first inning, but at least it wasn't two runs, like the Indians had scored in the first in the six other games against the Sox this year. The Red Sox tied it up in the bottom of the inning when Mark Bellhorn walked and scored on Manny Ramirez's double. A couple of batters later, Manny was thrown out at the plate trying to score on Bill Mueller's single. That turned out to be costly, when the Tribe got another run in the second. They tacked on another run in the third, and one more in the fifth. Tim Laker's two-run homer in the sixth gave the Indians a 6-1 lead, and knocked Wakefield from the game. The Sox scored a run in the sixth on Doug Mirabelli's double and two more in the ninth on hits by Brian Daubach and Johnny Damon, but by then it was too late. It was another traveshamockery!

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