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2004: Diary of a Season

Wednesday, June 9, Fenway Park, Section 1 Box 87

Padres 8, Red Sox 1

I originally had a ticket for this game with my friend in the bleachers. A few days before the game, she mentioned to me that her husband wanted to go too, but when she had called the ticket office, there was nothing available anywhere near our section. So when I was invited to go with a couple of people from work, I took them up on their offer, and gave my bleacher seat to my friend.

In my lifetime, I had been to 112 games at Fenway Park before this one. (Yes, I've kept count. I was 61-51; not bad!) Out of all those games, there was only one time the game ended after the T stopped running. It was a rainy night in August of 2000, and it was the final meeting of the Red Sox and Angels for the year, so they had to get the game in. The rain let up at 10:00, and the game went until 1 am. I had gone with my brother, and leaving early is not an option that would even cross either one of our minds. We just moved down to great box seats and watched a fun 3-1 win. When it ended, we split a cab back to the Wellington T station where he was parked, and he drove me all the way out to Riverside to get my car. This has only happened to me once, but since then I've always taken precautions to park at train stations that aren't that far from Fenway, just in case. Lechmere, in Cambridge, had worked well. It wasn't that far, and it's on the Green line, so I wouldn't have to switch trains to get to Kenmore. I even asked my co-workers today if I should just go in by myself and meet them there, but they assured me they'd stay for the whole game. I also knew the Lechmere station was undergoing renovations, and that I'd have to take a shuttle bus to North Station to catch the train, which seemed like a lot of trouble to go to when the rest of my group was going to just drive in together.

Nomar's first hit I rode in with the people from work (one of whom complained the whole way in that Nomar, Pedro, and Manny were all overpaid - while driving us in his company car), but I was anxious the whole time, because I wanted to be there early. Today was Nomar Garciaparra's return from the disabled list, and I wanted to be in my seat when the starting lineups were read 20 minutes before the first pitch. I had been to Nomar's return game when he had been out with a wrist injury in 2001. He had homered and knocked in the winning run that day, and while I didn't expect the same sort of heroics tonight, I was happy to finally have him back in the lineup. We did make it in time, and we gave Nomar standing ovations when the lineups were announced, when he warmed up on the field just before the game, when he took his position at shortstop, and every time he came to bat or made a play in the field (except one of the co-workers, who refused to stand up for him). We were rewarded when he singled in his first at-bat. Unfortunately it didn't amount to anything, as Brian Lawrence kept the Red Sox bats quiet. Bronson Arroyo started off well, but gave up two runs (only one earned) in the fifth amid a steady drizzle. Tim Wakefield started the sixth. His spot in the rotation had been skipped because the Red Sox had two scheduled off days last week and one earlier this week, and they wanted to keep Pedro and the rest of the rotation on their usual rest. (It had worked, as Petey and Keith Foulke combined on a beautiful 1-0 win over San Diego last night.) Wake gave up another two runs (both unearned) in the sixth, and then it started raining harder. The grounds crew rolled the tarp out for a rain delay, and I went under the stands to meet up with my co-workers, who had bailed from their seats when the rain had first started.

Rain delay My friends with the bleacher tickets came over to join us, and it really was pouring. My friends and I eventually went back into the stands, to the grandstand area behind where I had been sitting, where it's under cover. My co-workers stood in the concourse the whole time, but at least up in the stands we could sit down, and we'd know as soon as something happened. After about an hour and a half of waiting, my co-workers were getting restless. I tried to explain that there must be a break in the rain coming, or they wouldn't have kept us here that long. With every rumble of thunder I'd say, "That's just a thunderous ovation. Nomar must have come back onto the field!" My arguing wasn't working very well, and two hours into the rain delay they were ready to go. The rain was coming down so hard that I didn't think the game would resume again either, but a true diehard never leaves until the end, no matter what. Every trip to Fenway is an experience in itself, and could be a chance to see something I've never seen before. Some games turn out to be real stinkers (like this one), but we sit through the bad ones with the hope that one day we'll be able to see the best one of them all.

The concept of what it means to be a fan was lost on the co-workers, and they were ready to go. I couldn't ask my friends for a ride back to my car, because it would have been over an hour out of their way, and she had to be at work at 7:45 the next morning, so I had to go, even though it was against every moral principle I believe in. Sure enough, as soon as we got back to work and I got in my car, the game was ready to resume. My friend called my cell phone to say they had moved down to great seats. (See?! When will I ever have the chance to do that again?) Rookies Anastacio Martinez, Lenny DiNardo, and Mark Malaska combined to give up four more runs. The game ended just after midnight (so there still would have been time for me to catch the T if I had gone in by myself). They lost 8-1, but the final score had nothing to do with this being my least favorite game of the year.

Sunday, June 13, Fenway Park, Section 40

Red Sox 4, Dodgers 2

Sunday night baseball After my horrible Wednesday night game, the Red Sox finished up the Padres series with a win on Thursday. Friday they beat the Dodgers in an exciting game in which they led 1-0 going into the ninth, but Manny Ramirez's error with two outs let in the tying run, only for David Ortiz to knock in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth. Saturday they lost in a blowout, and Dave McCarty got his second pitching appearance of the season. On Sunday I was back for the rubber game of the series. The game was picked up for ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball, and the time was moved to 8 pm. There was no rain in the forecast, but there's always the possibility that a game could go extra innings, and with an 8:00 start it wouldn't take much to push the game past midnight when the T stops running. So my friend and I decided to drive in and park on the street near Fenway, where parking meters are free on Sundays. We were back in our Tenth Man Plan seats behind the bullpen, and again there was a giant puddle under our whole row. It hadn't rained since Wednesday night, but that's when it dawned on me that they hose down the stands after every game to clean them. So we were going to have to sit in a puddle all season long! (Note to self: Don't wear sandals when sitting here in the summer.) My friend and I had always sat in the same order - with me on the right - when we had these seats, and we had lost all of them. So this time I made her switch so I could sit to her left, to break up our string of bad luck.

Tonight's matchup featured Pedro Martinez against former Red Sox pitcher Hideo Nomo. The Dodgers got a run in the first when leadoff hitter Dave Roberts singled, moved up on a sacrifice bunt, and scored on Milton Bradley's single. At least Bradley was thrown out in a rundown trying to stretch it to a double. The Sox got the run back in the bottom of the inning, when Johnny Damon singled, stole second, and scored on Manny's single. In the fourth, the Sox took the lead. Nomar Garciaparra walked and stole second, and Kevin Millar was hit by a pitch. Gabe Kapler hit a double to knock in the go-ahead run, and Pokey Reese followed with a double of his own, giving the Sox a 4-1 lead. Pedro shut down the Dodgers after the first inning, allowing only a double to Shawn Green and a triple to Dave Roberts through the sixth. In the seventh, he gave up two singles, and with two outs Roberts was at the plate again. He hit a screaming line drive bound for right-center field, but Pokey made the catch of the summer, leaping higher than seemed humanly posible to make the catch that ended the inning. Pokey made many impressive plays all year, but this is the one I'll always remember as the Pokey catch. We chanted "Pokey, Pokey!" through the seventh inning stretch, pausing only to sing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," and then immediately resuming the Pokey chant as soon as the song was done.

Dave McCarty made a memorable play of his own in the eighth. He made a nice diving stop of a grounder, but stumbled when he tried to stand up and step on first, so he ended up crawling over to the bag. Mike Timlin and Alan Embree pitched the eighth, and Keith Foulke nailed down the save. The game ended well before midnight, and we drove home happy. Every game should be like this one!

Sunday, June 20, Fenway Park

A Father's Day Walk in the Park
Giants 4, Red Sox 0

Father's Day at Fenway After my last game, the Red Sox went on the road. They lost two of three in Colorado, but Trot Nixon returned to the lineup and homered in his first game back. They went on to San Francisco and split the first two games of their series with the Giants. Sunday's game was at 4 pm Eastern. It was also Father's Day, and with the team on the road, the Red Sox offered an open house. Dubbed "A Father's Day Walk in the Park", fans could walk around the warning track, in the dugouts, on the Green Monster, and on the right field roof. At 4:00 the game would be televised on the scoreboard. Although my father couldn't make it, I took advantage of the opportunity and went in myself. See my pictures and read the full write-up here.

Wednesday, June 23, Fenway Park, Section 35

Twins 4, Red Sox 2

The moon rises over Fenway After a less than successful road trip, the Sox returned home to take on the Twins. Tuesday's game was a refreshing victory in which the "big three" - David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, and Nomar Garciaparra - had all homered, and Nomar's was a grand slam which sealed the victory. I was back on Wednesday with my friend, in the bleachers, but not in the seat behind the fence and in a puddle, so we could actually see this time. Before the game, an announcement was made for Fenway Park's new security hotline. If anyone was detracting from our enjoyment of the game, we were told, we could call the number and security would take care of it. (I wished they had had that at the game I went to two years ago when two kids were projectile spitting from the first row onto the railing all night.)

Minnesota loaded the bases against Derek Lowe in the first, then scored two runs on groundouts. Carlos Silva kept the Red Sox bats surprisingly silent, allowing only four singles through the first five innings. (He was starting to detract from my enjoyment of the game, but somehow I didn't think that's what they meant!) Torii Hunter hit a two-run homer in the sixth, which made it 4-0 Twins and definitely detracted from my enjoyment of the game! The Sox finally got on the board in the bottom of the sixth, on Mark Bellhorn's solo homer. Trot Nixon continued his solid pace after returning from the D.L., adding a solo homer of his own in the seventh. Unfortunately, that was all the Sox would get.

My quest to find a good T station to park at wasn't much more successful than the game. Riverside has a large lot and is closest to my house, but it's too far from Fenway if I ever need to take a cab back. So I had been parking at Lechmere for night games, but now that would be undergoing construction for the next year, and I would have to take a shuttle bus to and from North Station to get there. So I had gone to Wellington, even though it was further from work, so it took longer to get there on weeknights. Wellington is on the Orange line, meaning I'd have to switch from the Green line, adding more time to the trip. The friend I had gone with tonight was parked at Sullivan, also on the Orange line. She had ridden the Orange line all the way to Ruggles, then taken a shuttle bus to Fenway. I rode the Ruggles shuttle back with her, then got on the subway. I found out that at that time of night, the trains didn't run all the way back to Wellington. Instead, they ended at Sullivan, and I had to take another shuttle bus to get back to my car at Wellington. What a production! I wouldn't mind if we had just won, but it's far too annoying when we've lost.

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This page and all photos copyright © 2004-2005 by Kristen D. Cornette.