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Mother Nature’s Day

Sunday, May 14, 2017 – Fenway Park, Section 33

Rays 11, Red Sox 2

The weather forecast wasn’t good for Mother’s Day weekend.  Heavy rain was due in Saturday evening and throughout Sunday.  The Rays do make another trip to Fenway, in September, so they would be able to make up a game if they had to, but they wouldn’t want to make up two.  The Red Sox moved the start of Saturday’s game from 7:10 to 1:05 with the hopes that they could get it in before the rain.  I know they’ve said in the past they try to avoid moving game times earlier if at all possible because of people’s travel plans to get there, so to me this extreme measure meant that they knew there was no way they’d play Sunday, and they wanted to make sure to at least get one game in.  (Or maybe it was just so they wouldn’t have to wait an extra six hours to watch Chris Sale.)  The move paid off; Sale dominated, the offense backed him up with run support, and the rain held off until later.  It rained hard all night, and I expected Sunday’s game to be called around 10 am, saving us all the trip.

It was windy and rainy, even under the roof of Section 33.

It was windy and rainy, even under the roof of Section 33.

In the morning, the Red Sox tweeted that they planned to play, but knowing that there’d be no batting practice to watch, I waited until just before noon to start my drive in.  I found a spot a block down from Kenmore Square, and as I walked up to the ballpark it was down to just a drizzle.  Play ball!

My seat in Section 33 was technically under cover, so it wasn’t as bad as if I had been in the bleachers, but that section is open from behind, and the wind was swirling the mist underneath so that my camera and scorecard were getting rained on.  It was a day game in mid-May, but it was the coldest one I had been to this year (not counting the Frozen Fenway hockey games in January of course).  As the game went on, I added all my layers: knit hat, hooded sweatshirt, scarf over my legs like a blanket.  (I try to avoid gloves, though, because it makes it hard to keep score.)  I’ve gotta give credit to the two hardy New Englanders I saw eating ice cream… but only if they stuck it out till the end of the game like me.

L.L. Bean was an appropriate sponsor of this chilly game. I, for one, was wearing my (special 2013 Red Sox edition) Bean boots.

L.L. Bean was an appropriate sponsor of this chilly game. I, for one, was wearing my (special 2013 Red Sox edition) Bean boots.

And this game wasn’t ending any time soon.  Drew Pomeranz works slowly to start with, and he had already thrown 57 pitches and allowed two runs when he took the field for the top of the fourth.  Suddenly the trainers joined him on the mound, and he was on his way out of the game.  We heard later that it was tightness in his left triceps.  Ben Taylor got all the time he needed to warm up, then came in and gave up another run, putting the Sox down 3-1.

Drew Pomeranz exited after only three innings, leaving the majority of the game in the hands of the bullpen.

Drew Pomeranz exited after only three innings, leaving the majority of the game in the hands of the bullpen.

The Sox clawed some of the way back in the fifth inning, but even that ended in frustration.  They sent 7 men to the plate, and Dustin Pedroia’s single pulled the Sox to within one run.  But Christian Vazquez was thrown out at the plate, and Andrew Benintendi flied out with the bases loaded to end the threat with just one run in.

Pedey stands on first base next to Chris Davis.  The whole pink for Mother's Day thing might have been nicer if they weren't so mish-mash with different shades of pink for the socks compared to the batting gloves, and if they had decided to be consistent with wearing either pink or red sleeves under their jerseys.  It looked pretty ridiculous as it was.

Pedey stands on first base next to Chris Davis. The whole pink for Mother's Day thing might have been nicer if they weren't so mish-mash with different shades of pink for the socks compared to the batting gloves, and if they had decided to be consistent with wearing either pink or red sleeves under their jerseys. It looked pretty silly as it was.

Hanley Ramirez reached on an error in the sixth and singled in the eighth.

Hanley Ramirez reached on an error in the sixth and singled in the eighth.

Hanley made it to third with one out in the sixth.  "Hey, Hanley!" called third base coach Brian Butterfield. "I think you got a little something on your pants." With the muddy field, we had a lot of dirt dogs on the team today.

Hanley made it to third with one out in the sixth. "Hey, Hanley!" called third base coach Brian Butterfield (probably). "I think you got a little something on your pants." With the muddy field, we had a lot of dirt dogs on the team today.

Xander Bogaerts left just enough of his face exposed under the ski mask that he could still blow bubbles with his gum.

Xander Bogaerts left just enough of his face exposed under the ski mask that he could still blow bubbles with his gum.

Mookie Betts takes a swing in the seventh. Even home plate ump Laz Diaz got into the Mother's Day spirit with a pink face mask.

Mookie Betts takes a swing in the seventh. Even home plate ump Laz Diaz got into the Mother's Day spirit with a pink face mask.

At the end of the seventh enough people had left that I was able to move over to Section 29, which was under cover and also had a solid wall behind it, meaning no rainy, gusty wind.  The sky even brightened for a few minutes, causing everyone to shout, “The sun’s coming out!” but it quickly clouded over again.  From the new seat I was able to see the clock over the back of the bleachers and noticed that we were already at the three-and-a-half-hour mark, with two innings still left to play.

Early in the game, the bleachers were colorful.  By the end they had emptied out.

Early in the game (pictured here), the bleachers were pretty colorful. By the end, after four hours of steady rain, they had emptied out.

It’s a good thing my new seat was (slightly) more comfortable, because the game still had a way to go.  After Ben Taylor threw two innings of relief, Fernando Abad got the first two outs of the sixth.  Matt Barnes finished the sixth and stayed in for the seventh, giving up the fourth Tampa run in the process.  Robbie Ross notched a strikeout to end the seventh, completed the eighth by stranding two baserunners, and then came back out for the ninth.  He gave up a run on three hits and managed to get two outs along the way.  With two out and two on and the Sox down 5-2 in the ninth, Heath Hembree came in, and the next four batters went like this: RBI single, RBI single, RBI single, three-run homer.  When the inning mercifully came to a close, seven Tampa runs had crossed the plate, and they now led 11-2.

Robbie Ross was charged with three runs in two innnings of relief.

Robbie Ross was charged with three runs in two innnings of relief.

The bottom of the ninth went quickly, and the game finally ended just after 6:00.  The official time of game was 4:32, just 13 minutes shy of the all-time record for longest 9-inning game (which I also had the dubious pleasure of attending, back in 2006.)  I don’t mind sitting through uncomfortable weather when the game play is good, but there was just nothing good to come out of this one.

May 14, 2017 • Posted in: 2017 Games • Share on Facebook

2 Responses to “Mother Nature’s Day”

  1. RedSoxDiehard - June 4th, 2017

    Later that week, the Red Sox won a 13-inning game in St. Louis which lasted 4 hours and 20 minutes… shorter than this 9-inning game!

  2. Diary of a RedSoxDiehard » Summer Rerun - July 4th, 2017

    [...] really felt like I had watched this exact game before.  On Mother’s Day, Pomeranz had started a very long, cold, miserable game that lasted over four and a half hours.  I [...]

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