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Saturday, July 27, 2013 – Fenway Park, EMC Club

Sea Dogs 5, Senators 2

It was a beautiful day for baseball , and the view from the EMC Club was perfect.

It was a beautiful day for baseball , and the view from the EMC Club was fantastic.

I was watching the Red Sox game on Friday night after a busy week which had included three games at Fenway, when I saw a commercial for Futures at Fenway for approximately the thousandth time.  Futures at Fenway is the annual chance to see the Red Sox’ minor league teams play at Fenway Park for discounted “family friendly” prices.  I had gone the past two years with my friends who have three baseball-fan kids.  But instead of being a doubleheader like in past years, this year featured only one game (the Double A Portland Sea Dogs) and then a concert by the Kidz Bop Kids.  Like me, my friends’ kids would have preferred a second baseball game to some concert, and with a busy week of Boy Scout camp ahead, they decided to skip this year.  I figured I didn’t need to go, since I get to Fenway a lot and I already had a trip to Portland planned for later in the summer to see the Sea Dogs.  But on Friday night it occurred to me that their discounted seats included club areas that I’d otherwise never be able to afford to sit in.  I had meant to see if they had any this year, but forgot to look until the night before.  I logged on and found that they had seats available in the EMC Club (front row!) for only $30, and it was settled; I was going.

Gold Gloves won by the Red Sox are on display in the EMC Club, inside the counters in front of the kitchen.

Gold Gloves won by the Red Sox are on display in the EMC Club, inside the counters in front of the kitchen.

The only hard part was getting in to Boston so early on a Saturday.  The game started at noon, which may have been considered family friendly but was certainly not my preferred timeframe.  And since I had a seat in a cool section where I didn’t normally get to go, I wanted to get there early enough to explore beforehand.  Back in 2012 when the Red Sox celebrated the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park, they had a series of 100 plaques, displays, and historical markers throughout the park, and I had spent the season tracking down most of them.  But now I was able to find a couple more that I didn’t have pictures of to add to my collection, like the displays of Silver Slugger awards and Red Sox jerseys through the years.  (See my album on flickr for the almost complete set.)

Fans and their pups stroll the warning track before the game.

Fans and their pups stroll the warning track before the game.

It was also Dog Day, and fans were encouraged to bring their canine best friends to the game.  There was a pre-game Dog Parade going on when I got outside to my seat.  I was in the front row, and the seat itself was padded and had a cup holder.  (Everything in the club area was nice.  The ladies’ room even had a TV that was showing the MLB Network.)  Because I went right upstairs to the Club level and stayed there the whole time, I never walked around and saw where the designated dog area was during the game.

A look at the camera guy perched above home plate.

A look at the camera guy perched above home plate.

Keith Couch got the start for the Sea Dogs.  I remember seeing him a couple of years ago when he was in Single A with the Lowell Spinners.  Today he gave up a run in the first (a triple followed by a sac fly) and another in the second (two walks and a single), but after that he settled down and pitched really well.  His teammmates got those runs back and more in the bottom of the second.  After two hits and a walk loaded the bases with one out, Shannon Wilkerson’s groundout drove in the first run, and then a double by Heiker Meneses plated two more.  Wilkerson added to his nice game with a diving catch in center field.

Shortstop Heiker Meneses makes a play in the field.  He also had a good day at the plate with a two-run double.

Shortstop Heiker Meneses makes a play in the field. He also had a good day at the plate with a two-run double.

Once the Sea Dogs took the lead, Couch went on cruise control.  Other than a two-out double in the fourth, he didn’t allow another baserunner the rest of the time, finishing with a strikeout to end the seventh.  The Sea Dogs continued to pad their lead.  Travis Shaw homered into the Red Sox bullpen* leading off the fourth.  And Garin Cecchini manufactured a run in the seventh.  He started with a walk, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and came home on another wild pitch.  Sea Dogs relievers Miguel Celestino and Matt Maloney took it from there, shutting down the Harrisburg Senators in the eighth and ninth.

Third baseman Garin Cecchini is one of the Red Sox' top prospects. He walked twice, stole a base, and scored a run.

Third baseman Garin Cecchini is one of the Red Sox' top prospects. He walked twice, stole a base, and scored a run.

* During the game I noticed that the Sea Dogs, who were the home team, were using Fenway Park’s visitors’ dugout and bullpen, while the Senators used the home dugout and bullpen.  That struck me as strange, and I recalled that at the games in the past two years, the Red Sox affiliates had all used the Red Sox home dugout.  I tweeted Sea Dogs radio announcer Mike Antonellis to ask why.  He replied that the Red Sox clubhouse was off-limits during the season, and only the visiting team’s clubhouse was available for use during today’s game.  So the Sea Dogs took the visitors’ clubhouse (which has a tunnel that leads to the visitors’ dugout, which has phones that connect to the visitors’ bullpen).  The Senators were allowed to use the Red Sox dugout, but they had to dress elsewhere.

Miguel Celestino pitched a scoreless eighth.

Miguel Celestino pitched a scoreless eighth.

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