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Sweating the Small Stuff

Sunday, July 18, 2010 – Fenway Park, Section 36

Rangers 4, Red Sox 2

The Red Sox struggled coming out of the All-Star break, dropping their first two games.  Saturday they won an exciting game on a ninth-inning hit by (as I call him) the “Greek God of Walk-offs,” Kevin Youkilis.  On Sunday, they were trying to salvage a series split.  It was also Maine Day, and my parents and some friends of theirs were able to get tickets through a Red Sox Nation lottery.  We went in early and got free parking spaces at meters right in Kenmore Square.  My brother, sister-in-law, and 3 friends were also going to the game and were meeting us in there later.  Again, I knew there’d be no batting practice since it was a day game after a night game and they were leaving for a west coast road trip after the game, but as usual, the pitchers did go out to right field for some long-tossing.

Josh Beckett was back from his rehab stint with the PawSox and threw with the rest of the pitching staff.  It looked promising that he'd be coming off the D.L. soon.

Josh Beckett was back from his rehab stint with the PawSox and threw with the rest of the pitching staff. It looked promising that he'd be coming off the D.L. soon.

It was great to see both Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz out there with all the other pitchers.  Both were close to coming off the disabled list, which would be a big boost to the team.  Buchholz did some jogging after the rest of the pitchers were done to prove that his strained hamstring wasn’t a problem.  He was scheduled to rejoin the rotation in Oakland on Wednesday.  Beckett had just pitched in Syracuse for the PawSox the night before, and I wondered if I’d see him when I went to Pawtucket later in the week or if he was close enough to coming back that he’d head to the west coast with the rest of the team.

It was great to see Pedey walking around without crutches.  He came out in his walking boot to do some throwing.

It was great to see Pedey walking around without crutches. He came out in his walking boot to do some throwing.

As most of the pitchers were finishing up, they were joined by another teammate – Dustin Pedroia, walking boot and all – who came out and started throwing just like everybody else.  Even with the broken foot, he’s had a hard time sitting still, and I could picture him begging the coaches to let him go play with the pitchers since there was no B.P.  After his session, he chatted with John Farrell.  I joked he was getting some advice on his technique, but thinking about it now, knowing him, he was probably giving advice to Farrell.

For the game, our seats were in several different sections.  My parents were with my brother and sister-in-law in the shade of the right field grandstand, and the rest of us were in the bleachers.  I was with 3 friends, and we were actually in two pairs of seats in different sections that we had gotten as part of the ticket pre-sale in January.  My friend ended up negotiating with the two people next to my pair to swap with her pair, so that the four of us could sit together.  It was another really hot day out in the direct sun of the bleachers, and I had my parents on notice that if any seats opened up near them they’d give me a call and I’d move over to the shade, but at least to start the game, I was trying to stick it out in the sun.

The first inning went quickly – only 8 pitches for Jon Lester – despite the Rangers getting 2 hits.  One runner was picked off, and then a double play got them out of it.  Adrian Beltre’s double got the Red Sox on the board in the second, but Texas scored twice in the fourth, including one run when Beltre dropped a throw to third and the runner was able to score.  It got worse in the fifth, when the Rangers pulled off a double steal, with Julio Borbon scoring while Kevin Cash threw unsuccessfully to second trying to get Elvis Andrus.  It was even more frustrating since the Red Sox had received 7 walks but weren’t able to get anything else across.

In the eighth, it got really ugly.  With runners at first and second, Ian Kinsler singled, and it looked like they had Andrus thrown out at the plate.  When he was ruled safe, Tito came out to argue, but it was in vain.  (To me, the fact that he didn’t get tossed just made me sure that the ump knew he had made a mistake.)  But just to be sure, we started booing every pitch after that point… even called strikes!  When a double play ended the inning, we clapped but then immediately went back to booing to express our displeasure with how the inning had transpired.  In the bottom of the eighth, a guy in the row in front of me threw up on the guy in front of him.  That was all I needed to see – I was out of there!  As we headed down the stairs, security was on their way up.  My friends grabbed newly-vacated seats behind the bullpen, but I went over to Section 1 to join my parents in the shade.

How could anyone give up a seat like this? Actually, being on the end of the row meant I could lean and see around the pole. Of course, by the time I got over there and found this seat, it wasn't even shaded anymore.

How could anyone give up a seat like this? Actually, being on the end of the row meant I could lean and see around the pole. Of course, by the time I got over there and found this seat, it wasn't even shaded anymore.

A seat had just opened up in front of my brother, but it was right behind a pole and the sun had found its way into Section 1 by then.  At that point I didn’t care, so I stayed there for the rest of the game.  In the bottom of the eighth, people were still booing every pitch that didn’t go our way.  It was just that kind of day.  Michael Bowden made his first appearance of the year for the Red Sox after having been recently converted to a reliever, and he had a nice quick 1-2-3 inning in the ninth.  In the bottom of the ninth, Mike Cameron got the Sox a little closer with a homer into the Monster seats and Bill Hall reached on an error, but that was all they could do, and it went down in the books as a frustrating and uncomfortable loss.

The best part of this game was seeing Pedroia work out before the game. The Laser Show is close to returning! Let's focus on that.

The best part of this day was seeing Pedroia work out before the game. The Laser Show is close to returning! Let's focus on that.

A week before the game, I had suggested to my brother and my friends that we all eat at Jerry Remy’s Sports Bar & Grill after the game.  I thought it was a good idea since it was an afternoon game and I wasn’t on-call for work so I didn’t have to rush home, and since we were sitting in a couple of different sections for the game.  I should have known something was up when my friend offered to make reservations, with my birthday having been the day before.  It turned out she had bought a cake and delivered it to the restaurant before the game.  When we were done eating, our waiter brought it out and we all had a slice.  That was a cool surprise, and I was glad I had parked nearby instead of taking the T as I carried the rest of the cake home.

July 18, 2010 • Posted in: 2010 Games • Share on Facebook

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