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Saturday, May 9, 2009 – Fenway Park, Section 41

Rays 14, Red Sox 5

After the exciting 12-run sixth inning barrage on Thursday, the Sox followed with another come-from-behind victory on Friday. I was back Saturday afternoon for a matchup of young lefties, Jon Lester vs. Scott Kazmir. With the nice weather and a weekend afternoon game, we were again able to take advantage of the chance to watch batting practice from the Green Monster. From atop the Wall, it was easy to see the large number 7 mowed into the centerfield grass in honor of Red Sox great Dominic DiMaggio, who had died earlier in the week.

Watching batting practice from the Green Monster.

Watching batting practice from the Green Monster.

After B.P., we ate our half-price food and walked around for awhile. As the time neared for the pitchers to come out and warm up, we found ourselves behind the bullpen. My friend and I had stood down there before an earlier game, and we had noticed that the first row of seats had been moved forward. The walkway used to be in front of the first row of seats, with some handicapped seats toward the end of the row. It was always more annoying than cool to sit in the front row, because people would not only walk in front of the seats constantly, but there were always some oblivious people who would not care that they were blocking everyone and would just stand in front. This year, they’ve made the front row all handicapped and companion seats and moved the whole row forward so that it’s right behind the bullpen fence with the walkway behind them. The second row is probably high enough now that passersby don’t block the view, and people are less likely to stand there thinking they can get something from the bullpens.

This time, my friends and I were able to get a spot up close against the fence to watch the warmups. That’s when I noticed what I was shocked to have overlooked before – the bullpen fences were lowered! Kids used to be able to climb up on the fence before games to get a view (and I’ve even been known to on special occasions like after the Sox clinched the wildcard in 2003). And for two years my Tenth Man Plan seats were in just the wrong spot so that the railing on the top of the fence was right at eye-level for me. But now, even the people in the front row could see over the fence. How had I not noticed this before?! While I pondered how unobservant I had been at my first seven games of the year, I was able to get some great pictures of Jason Varitek and Jon Lester as they warmed up.

As it got close to gametime, we made the trek up to our seats, which were in the second-to-last row of the bleachers, right in front of the Dunkin’ Dugout where organizations supporting underprivileged kids are given tickets every night.

The game itself was so pathetic I’d rather not even talk about it. The Sox trailed 2-1 going into the fifth, when Lester gave up 7 hits, 4 of which were grounded through the hole at short, just past Julio Lugo’s reach. It looked to me like the first one should have been playable, though it was ruled a hit. But even though the rest appeared to be solid hits, people started booing Lugo, as if it was all his fault. I was more frustrated by Lester, who was nothing like the ace we had watched develop last season and were looking forward to seeing this year. When the inning was over, 6 more Tampa Bay runs were in, and Hunter Jones and Takashi Saito managed to allow 5 more in the sixth. By the time Lugo redeemed himself with a solo shot in the bottom of the sixth, it was too little too late. (Adding further insult, Lance Cormier even picked up the save by pitching the final 3-2/3 innings of the game.) There was nothing good at all about this game* so instead of going into any further details, I’ll share some of the good photos I was able to get from behind the bullpen before the game.

George Kottaras

George Kottaras enters the bullpen.

Jason Varitek is ready to catch.

Jason Varitek is ready to catch.

Jon Lester starts long-tossing.

Jon Lester starts long-tossing.

Pitching coach John Farrell waits while Tek and Lester get ready.

Pitching coach John Farrell waits while Tek and Lester get ready.

Manny Delcarmen signals that everything is OK as he enters the bullpen. Boy, was he wrong! (You can also see that the bullpen fence is lower, so that people sitting directly behind it can see over the top.)

Manny Delcarmen signals that everything is OK as he enters the bullpen. (Boy, was he wrong!) You can also see that the bullpen fence is lower, so that people sitting directly behind it can see over the top.

* As I rode home on the T, a guy standing near me checked his phone, then announced to his friend, “The Yankees are down 8-0. Phil Hughes got clobbered.” So maybe the day wasn’t a total waste after all…

May 9, 2009 • Posted in: 2009 Games • Share on Facebook

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