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Having a Ball at the Game

Tuesday, June 16, 2009 – Fenway Park, Section 32

Red Sox 8, Marlins 2

After the sweep of the Yankees, the Red Sox took two of three in a brief road trip to Philadelphia, and then returned home to face the Marlins. I was back at Fenway for the first game of the series. It was the first game of the year for my parents, and it was my first game that wasn’t in the bleachers (which, since my seat was undercover in the grandstand for the first time all year, of course meant that the forecast called for a 0% chance of precipitation).

We arrived early and used our Red Sox Nation cards to go up on the Green Monster for batting practice. We chose to sit in section 10, the furthest section out toward center field next to the light tower, because there were spaces in the front row. Some people like to go closer to the third base end because it’s more likely that a home run will land there, but I’m not about to embarrass myself by going after a ball that I’d never be able to catch anyway. (I like to think my baseball skills are modeled after some of the Red Sox greats of the past, except that my five tools mean that I field like Wily Mo Pena, I throw like Johnny Damon, I run like Sean Casey, I hit for average like Craig Grebeck, and I hit for power like Jerry Remy.) I was just as happy on the center field end where I could sit in the front row and get good photos. We watched as the guys took B.P., and as the pitchers ran down the fly balls in the outfield. John Smoltz caught several near us, and we called out to him, but he never looked up. He was joined by Brad Penny, who fielded one off the Wall. We yelled “Brad, Brad!” The organ music was between songs, so he could actually hear us, and he looked up to see who was calling him. My mother and I waved. He threw the ball up in our direction, and for the few seconds that it was in mid-air all I could think was, “Oh no, what have I done?” It was tailing away from me and I envisioned it bouncing off my hands and back onto the field, at which point I’d get booed. Luckily for the weak-stomached around me, my athletic ability did not get displayed, as the throw was off-mark. It hit off the light tower higher than my reach and bounced back onto the field. But I wasn’t off the hook yet. Penny must have felt bad that his throw was off, so he threw it up again, and this time it went straight to my father, who made the easy catch. Thanks Brad – and thanks Dad!

Moments are tossing me this baseball, my new favorite player Brad Penny heads toward left field.

Moments after tossing me this baseball, my new favorite player Brad Penny heads toward left field.

Tim Wakefield came into the game tied for second in the league with 8 wins, and he completely dominated the Marlins in the first. He struck out Chris Coghlan on three pitches, then struck out Ross Gload on three more. He finally threw two balls to Hanley Ramirez before getting him to ground out weakly to shortstop.

Tim Wakefield picked up his ninth win of the season and improved his chances of being named to the All-Star team next month.

Tim Wakefield picked up his ninth win of the season and continued to make a case for being named to the All-Star team next month.

Jacoby Ellsbury singled with two outs in the second. I had my camera focused on him at first base, but when he took off for second, I just missed getting a good shot of him sliding safely in with the steal. Nick Green singled him home, and the Red Sox took a 1-0 lead. They added another run in the third inning, when J.D. Drew singled, moved up on a groundout, and scored on Jason Bay’s hit.

David Ortiz led off the fourth inning by driving the first pitch he saw into the visitors’ bullpen for his fifth home run of the year. It looked like he had finally returned to being the Big Papi we knew and loved. He had gotten curtain calls for the first four home runs, so we chanted “Papi, Papi” in the hopes of seeing another, but it didn’t happen.

Big Papi crosses the plate after his fourth inning home run.

Big Papi crosses the plate after his fourth inning home run.

One out later, Ellsbury singled again. This time, I kept my camera focused on second base, and wound up with the following shot of him sliding in with his second theft of the game:

Ellsbury swipes his second base of the day.

Ellsbury swipes his second base of the day.

Nick Green again drove him home, this time with a double. George Kottaras followed with a single that scored Green. Dustin Pedroia’s single and Kevin Youkilis’s walk loaded the bases with two outs. Bay walked to force home a run, and Papi ripped a two-run single into right for hit #2 and RBIs #2 and 3 of the inning. Mike Lowell finally grounded out to end the inning, but not before six Red Sox runs had crossed the plate.

The bases are loaded with Big Papi coming to the plate.

The bases are loaded with Big Papi at the plate.

Wake was done after six strong innings. Manny Delcarmen and Takashi Saito each contributed a 1-2-3 inning. Daniel Bard pitched the ninth, and although he allowed a single, he quickly finished off the game.

June 16, 2009 • Posted in: 2009 Games • Share on Facebook

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