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Sunday, July 12, 2009 – Fenway Park, Section 41

Red Sox 6, Royals 0

While my previous game had been cold and windy, Sunday finally brought a typical July day to Boston.  I wanted to take advantage of the good weather, and I wanted to try to park for free on the street again, so I headed in early. I was able to find a parking spot at a meter right in Kenmore Square. Since I was so early, I got in line to go on the Green Monster with my Red Sox Nation card, even though I suspected that since it was the final game before the All-Star break, there wouldn’t be batting practice that day. It turned out there wasn’t, but when it was time for us to come down from the Monster, the pitchers headed out to right field to long-toss, so I went over there to watch.

Manny Delcarmen and Justin Masterson.

Manny Delcarmen and Justin Masterson.

When the pitchers were done, I signed up at the Designated Driver booth for a free soda and got my half-price pizza for lunch. I stayed in the shade as long as I could, until it got close to gametime and I made the hike up to our steamy seats. We were all the way in the back of the bleachers, one row in front of the Dunkin Dugout. It was a little annoying to have to listen to the teenagers behind us make clueless comments (”Are the Red Sox batting right now?” as the Royals were being announced in the top of the first; “Did Papi hit a home run?” after he struck out; “Are the Red Sox winning or losing?” as Josh Beckett was throwing a shutout) for the whole game. I’d rather be among real fans, but considering our upper bleacher seats were only $12, I couldn’t really complain.

When I got home, I saw that we were on TV when they showed the Dunkin Dugout. My friends and I are the three in red on the far right end of the second row from the top.

When I got home, I saw that we were on TV when they showed the Dunkin Dugout. My friends and I are the three in red on the far right end of the second row from the top.

A ceremony before the game honored Dom DiMaggio, the 7-time All-Star who patrolled Fenway Park’s center field in the 1940’s and 50’s, and who passed away earlier this year. The center field flagpole was named the “Dom DiMaggio Flagpole,” and a flag was raised with his name on it.

A banner commemorates the Dom DiMaggio Flagpole.

A banner commemorates the Dom DiMaggio Flagpole.

The game matched Josh Beckett against Bruce Chen. Chen had played briefly for the Red Sox in 2003 (in fact he had played briefly for many teams throughout his career) and seemed to resurface every couple of years with a new team. This time it was the Royals, and he was the same Bruce Chen I remembered from his days in Boston. The Red Sox jumped out to an early lead with hits by Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis in the first. Chen walked three, gave up six hits, and had thrown an astounding 78 pitches when the first two batters of the fourth reached base, spelling the end of his afternoon.

By contrast, Josh Beckett was perfect through the first three innings.  In fact, a fourth-inning double by David DeJesus was the only base-runner for the Royals through the first six innings, during which time Beckett needed only an economical 58 pitches.

View from the second-to-last row of sunny Section 41.

View from the second-to-last row of sunny Section 41.

On the offensive side, the whole team got in on the action. They batted around in the fourth inning, scoring 3 more runs. First base prospect Aaron Bates, called up from Pawtucket for one week while Mike Lowell was on the DL, was the offensive star, with two doubles and a single. Nick Green walked three times. So did Jason Bay, whose walks came in his first three plate appearances and took a total of 12 pitches. His fourth time up, he was hit by the first pitch. His fifth time at the plate, he went to a 2-0 count before swinging his bat for the first time all day. After working the count full, he ended up getting hit again, for a strange line that had him go 0-for-0 while reaching base five times.

Beckett continued to mow down the Royals. At the end of the eighth, he was still up to only 83 pitches, only five more than Bruce Chen had thrown in his 3+ innings. It was a no-brainer to send him back out for the ninth to finish off the complete-game shutout, and he blew his 94th pitch of the day past Billy Butler for the final out.

As I drove back home, I tallied up my expenditures for a fun afternoon. Ticket: $12. Parking: $0. Pizza: $2.25. Small Coke: $0. Watching Josh Beckett dominate: priceless.

July 12, 2009 • Posted in: 2009 Games • Share on Facebook

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