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A Father’s Day Miracle

Sunday, June 21, 2009 – Fenway Park, Section 24

Red Sox 6, Braves 5

The Red Sox split their first two games against the Braves, and I was back on Sunday.  It was Father’s Day, and the first day of summer (although it was windy and rainy and I was still wearing my winter Red Sox jacket), and it was also Maine Day at Fenway.  That was funny, because I grew up in Maine, and this is the third or fourth time I’ve been at the Maine Day game, but all by pure coincidence.  I get my tickets when they first go onsale, long before they announce the state days.  In fact, I had purchased this ticket with the pre-sale voucher I got on the Red Sox Road Trip in January after driving the 100 mile round trip in a snowstorm.  My thinking at the time was that, since all my other tickets were in the bleachers, I’d get something in the left field grandstand, just to get a different perspective.

Most of the seats in that section are good, but I bought this too early and got the first seat in row 1 of the Section 32 grandstand.  I’ve sat in row 1 before, and I find it annoying because it’s not wide enough to be an aisle between the grandstand and box seats, but people treat it like it is.  And it’s not even entirely their fault, because there’s no way to get over to Section 33 without either walking up to the back row, then over, then down, or cutting through someone’s row.  It gets old after awhile, though, having to continually get up and down, so I didn’t actually sit in the seat until just before the game started.  When I did, I found that with  the seat on the end, it’s actually behind the handicapped seating area in the section, but is at the same height.  Once people sat in those seats, I couldn’t see home plate or third base at all.  I stuck it out through one inning, then moved around to the standing room area behind home plate.

View from the standing room behind home plate.

View from the standing room area behind home plate.

There was plenty of action during the one inning I sat in the terrible seat.  The Braves jumped out in front with two runs off Tim Wakefield.  Then the Red Sox took advantage of an error to score one run and a Big Papi homer to plate two more, giving them a 3-2 lead.  I was glad I had decided to move to the standing room, because I had a good view of the whole field, and I wasn’t getting rained on anymore.

Wakefield settled in nicely, too.  Over the next five innings, he allowed only three baserunners, and two of them were erased on double plays.  Big Papi was credited with an infield hit in the fourth when the shortstop let his windblown popup drop right in front of him.  Later in the inning, he came around to score on George Kottaras’s sacrifice fly, which gave the Sox an insurance run and a 4-2 lead.  In the seventh inning, my friend who was sitting in the Section 24 grandstand called to say that a seat had opened up in her row, so I moved down from the standing room area into a fantastic seat.  (I was back out in the rain again, but the view was beautiful.)

Starting in the 7th inning, I got this great view from Section 24.

Starting in the 7th inning, I got this great view from Section 24.

Unfortunately, Wakefield started to lose it in the seventh.  He gave up a run on three singles, and gave way to Ramon Ramirez, who allowed the tying run with another single.  That meant Wake couldn’t get the win.  A win today would have tied him for the league lead and helped bolster his case to be chosen for the All-Star game, but really I’m not too picky about who gets credit for the win as long as it’s someone on my team.  So I was happy when J.D. Drew drove in Kottaras to give the Sox the lead again.  But as quickly as they had retaken the lead, Hideki Okajima allowed the Braves to tie it up again in the eighth.

Heading into the bottom of the ninth it was raining, and the forecast called for it to get worse as the afternoon went on.  Josh Beckett had pitched a complete game the night before, so the bullpen was rested if we had to go extras, and I was comfy in my new seat, but I wasn’t sure how long they’d be able to keep playing.  Nick Green led off the inning.  He swung at the first pitch and drove it down the right field line, into the wind and rain, where it hooked around Pesky’s Pole for the walkoff home run!

As Green circled the bases and his teammates rushed out to greet him, I was able to get some great shots of the anatomy of a Red Sox walkoff.  Click all the following pictures to enlarge.

Nick Green's teammates prepare to meet him at home plate. Jonathan Papelbon is attacking George Kottaras, and Dustin Pedroia has just throw his helmet at Kevin Youkilis.

Nick Green's happy teammates prepare to meet him at home plate. (Wearing a helmet after a walkoff hit is an invitation to get pounded on. Pedroia was due up third in the inning, so he was wearing his, and got hit on the head by Youkilis as they ran out to the plate. Here, he's just thrown the helmet at Youk.)

Green braces for impact before getting mobbed on his way to touch the plate.

Green braces for impact before venturing into the mob to touch the plate.

Green is in the center of the pile, doubled over.

Nick is in the center of the pile, doubled over.

Green's goofball teammates continue to congratulate him.

Green's delirious teammates continue to congratulate him.

Green finally emerges - shirt untucked, hair disheveled, and pretty darn happy.

The hero finally emerges - shirt untucked, hair disheveled, but smile intact.

No wonder he was out of breath when NESN’s Heidi Watney interviewed him on his way back to the dugout!

June 21, 2009 • Posted in: 2009 Games • Share on Facebook

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