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Here Comes the Rain Again

Wednesday, June 22, 2011 – Fenway Park, Sections 43 and 18

Padres 5, Red Sox 1, 7½ innings

The Red Sox had cooled off a little in the past couple of days and needed a win in the rubber game against the Padres to avoid going .500 over the homestand.  It was a weekday afternoon, so I took the day off from work and went in early.  It was just starting to drizzle as the gates opened at 11:35. The tarp was on the field and there was no B.P., so I got something to eat and waited in the grandstand under cover, hoping that the rain would let up by gametime since my seats were in the bleachers.  But when 1:00 came and went and there was still no movement of the tarp, it was obvious we were in a rain delay.  With rain in the forecast for tomorrow and this being the Padres’ only trip to Fenway, they were going to have to try to get the game in today if at all possible.  Finally an announcement was made: the game would start at 2:05, after a 30-minute delay.

As seen during rain delay #3 of 4, this became the view of the day.

As seen during rain delay #4, this was the view of the day.

It was down to a drizzle when the game started, but the Red Sox were instantly in a hole when leadoff batter Will Venable homered.  The Sox loaded the bases with one out in their half of the first, but a double play killed the rally as the rain got heavier and I had to put my camera away.  I was wearing a windbreaker jacket, but as it turned to more of a steady rain I dug out an old rain poncho that I had gotten free at a game several years ago and had been toting around ever since.  Since it was a giveaway, it’s clear with no logos and pretty thin, but it did the trick.  Not only did it keep me dry enough to not mind sitting in the rain, but with my bag on my lap under the poncho, all my stuff stayed dry.  The best part was that since it was clear, I could put my scorecard under the poncho too, and still see through it to continue keeping score!  With my scorecard intact, I was happy and would have been fine there for awhile.  But with two runners on in the top of the third, the umps called for the tarp, and we went into rain delay #2.

The players had to wait through numerous attempts by the grounds crew to keep the infield playable.

The players had to wait through numerous attempts by the grounds crew to keep the infield playable. This picture cracks me up - Pedey just wants to get back to the game already!

Since it was still early in the game, there weren’t going to be any empty seats in the grandstand to sneak over to.  I hate just standing shoulder-to-shoulder under the bleachers, so we went up to the standing room area behind Section 1.  There’s a little breathing room there, and we can see the field so we know when they start taking the tarp off.  The delay was only 38 minutes, and we headed back out to the bleachers, where it was still raining.

John Lackey came back out after the delay and picked up a strikeout to get out of the third.  The Red Sox stranded two in the bottom of the inning, and then Lackey just lost control in the fourth.  It started with a walk, then a hit batter, then an infield single to load the bases with no outs.  After a strikeout, a walk brought one run home for San Diego, and a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch brought in another.  Somewhere in there a wild pitch plated a third, and finally an RBI single knocked in the fourth run of the inning and knocked Lackey from the game.  Michael Bowden got them out of the inning, but now there was a bigger problem: the Sox trailed 5-0 and there was only 1 inning left before the game became official.  The Padres had 3 more baserunners in the fifth, and if Jason Varitek hadn’t gunned down a would-be base-stealer, the deficit could have been worse.

Gonzo heads for first after one of his four hits.

Gonzo heads for first after one of his four hits.

In the middle of the fifth, the rain was heavy again – though not any worse than what they had been playing through – and it was once again time for the tarp and rain delay #3.  Because the Red Sox were trailing and they hadn’t batted in the fifth, the game wasn’t official yet, so it was apparent they were going to try to continue at some point.  It was already after 4:30, so we knew the casual fans would be bailing, and we went over to Section 18 behind home plate and found some nice dry seats.  Finally I could fold up the poncho and take my camera back out.

Obligatory shot of Adrian Gonzalez with one of the players traded by the Red Sox to acquire him, Anthony Rizzo. They're joined by Dave "Man of Steal" Roberts, now the first base coach for the Padres.

Obligatory shot of Adrian Gonzalez with one of the players traded by the Red Sox to acquire him, Anthony Rizzo. They're joined by Dave "Man of Steal" Roberts, now the first base coach for the Padres.

The game resumed 31 minutes later, even though it didn’t seem like the rain was much lighter.  And finally the Red Sox got on the board, as Adrian Gonzalez picked up his third hit of the day with Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia on base after walking.  But when the inning ended without any more runs, the game became official, meaning if they called it now it would go into the books as a loss.  I was happy that they kept playing, and hoped it would go long enough for the Sox to at least tie it up.  Matt Albers pitched two strong innings out of the ‘pen, and Darnell McDonald made a nice diving catch in left field to end the seventh.  The Red Sox had baserunners in both the sixth and the seventh, but they couldn’t get anything else across.

Big Papi tries to stay dry while waiting on deck in the seventh inning.

Big Papi tries to stay dry while waiting on deck in the seventh inning.

After Dan Wheeler ended a perfect eighth with a strikeout, the umps stopped the game again.  That was rain delay #4, and with the game now official I knew there was no way they were going to resume.  (Ever hopeful, though, I moved around to the third base side of home plate just in case, because that’s a better angle to photograph the left-handed hitters David Ortiz and J.D. Drew who were due up next.)  The rule is that they have to wait 30 minutes before officially calling the game, but it always takes longer than that.  At the 30-minute mark I saw some stirring in the dugout, which was a bad sign, and then the Padres pitchers went out to retrieve their things from the bullpen, which was a very bad sign.  Finally, at 6:50, 41 minutes into the fourth rain delay of the day, they made the announcement that the game was called.  And even though it was late and I was cold and wet, I still made sure to boo the announcement before heading home.

June 22, 2011 • Posted in: 2011 Games • Share on Facebook

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