Game 106: August 3, 2005
Royals (38-69), 5
Red Sox (61-45), 8
L: Kyle Snyder (0-3)
W: Wade Miller (4-4)
H: Mike Myers (6)
H: Chad Bradford (2)
H: Mike Timlin (21)
S: Curt Schilling (7)
Kyle Snyder began the evening with an ERA of 8.59 and left 3.1 innings later with an average of 9.24. Fenway Park can do that to a pitcher, especially one coming off a fallow year due to shoulder injury. Snyder’s biography stated that he is a switch hitter and that he lettered in basketball, swimming, and golf in addition to baseball. So, at least there’s other career options that he might want to explore should this pitching thing not pan out.
In the 1st inning, Johnny Damon was thrown out at home plate on a David Ortiz single to center, and this time it was not Dale Sveum’s fault. Damon seemed to think he could avoid Royals catcher John Buck’s tag, which came at the tail end of a precise throw from center fielder David DeJesus, and didn’t slide. Damon’s oversight allowed DeJesus to save, not a soul, but a run. With Edgar Renteria and Ortiz still on base, Manny Ramirez duplicated his multi-RBI effort from last night and homered for the early lead.
As Renteria and Ramirez both tracked Mark Teahan’s line drive to shallow left field, neither noticed the other in pursuit. Renteria’s gloved hand impacted with the slugger’s face, leaving the later with a bloody nose. Ramirez, still playing his role of superhumanny, held on to the ball despite the collision for the final out of the inning. Damon talked to Renteria as they left the field seemed to be saying, “Dude, that’s nothing! Let me tell you about this one time in the 2003 ALDS....” Ramirez left the game but the Red Sox shortstop was able to continue until the 7th, and had a key at bat in the 4th.
Emil Brown responded in the 2nd inning by hitting a 2-run home run. Team captain and designated hitter Mike Sweeney also homered over the Green Monster in the 4th inning, this time to tie the game. The game seemed to be shaping up to be an offensive battle with barrages of homers from both sides.
Neither team played well defensively, however. Jose Cruz, Jr. played a fly ball to the rounded wall in right field badly, leading to a Brown triple and a go-ahead run. Angel Berroa’ single came off of Tony Graffanino’s glove when the second baseman tried to backhand the grounder, which ricocheted off his glove toward second base. Renteria was unable to field it and the Royals took the lead in the 4th.
Roles reversed in the bottom of the 4th when Graffanino infield hit to shortstop. Berroa returned the favor by bobbling the ball and not getting the ball to home plate at time. Millar scored to tied the game again. Damon loaded the bases with a line drive that Cruz had to avoid as it flew over his head. Despite the earlier mishap, Renteria was able to fly deep to center and plate Graffanino to take the lead. Ortiz walked to load the bases yet again, but Kapler grounded out to end the inning.
Boston scored three more runs off of Royals misplays. In the 5th inning, Jason Varitek scored on yet another error by Berroa of a Graffanino grounder. Cruz, who reached on a single to right, advanced and Graffanino scored when Andrew Sisco pitched askew to Damon. These new guys impressed again, going for the jugular when other people slipped up. Bill Mueller hit is 22nd double of the season, tying him with Melvin Mora for 5th in the AL for doubles by third basemen. Jimmy Gobble’s flight went awry on his 2-2 pitch to Doug Mirabelli, which scored Mueller for the Red Sox’s final run of the game.
Even a guy in the luxury boxes to the right were fielding better than the Royals. He made a great catch of a Sweeney foul ball in the 5th inning, celebrated his triumph, and purposefully pointed towards the NESN booth to Jerry Remy.
Before the Royals, there were the Kansas City Monarchs, the most dominating team of the Negro League. The Negro National League was founded by Rube Foster in 1920 in Kansas City. The 18th & Vine district was the epicenter of African American culture and life in Kansas City, alive with jazz and baseball, two of our country’s greatest inventions. The district has been home to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) since 1997.
The Kansas City team was the elite franchise in the segregated era. When the ban on African American players was lifted, the Monarchs sent the most players to the major leagues, including Ernie Banks,
Willard “Home Run” Brown, Elston Howard, Satchel Paige, Jackie Robinson, and Hank Thompson. Former Monarchs Banks, Paige, Robinson, “Bullet” Joe Rogan, and Hilton Lee Smith are enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame for their accomplishments.
Another notable Monarch was John Jordan “Buck” O’Neil, chairman of the NLBM. He won two Negro World Series and five pennants as the manager of the Monarchs. O’Neil was the first African American coach, named to the position by the Chicago Cubs in 1962. He signed Banks and Lou Brock, two Hall of Famers, to their first professional contracts.
The Monarch’s homefield was Municipal Stadium, which also housed the Kansas City Athletics from 1955 to 1967 and the Kansas City Royals from 1969 to 1972. Municipal Stadium was demolished in 1976, and all that remains is a plaque to conjure the memories of these former kings of the game. Their legacy lives on in the diverse, vibrant game we savor to this day.