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Home » Category Listing » October 2005 Game Comments

October 3, 2005


Game 162: October 2, 2005
Yankees (95-67), 1
Red Sox (95-67), 10
L: Jaret Wright (5-5)
W: Curt Schilling (8-8)

Tied for the lead in the division
Clinched the wild card
1 game winning streak

Congratulations to the AL East co-champion Boston Red Sox. A wild card berth might seem like a consolation prize after having led the division for so long, but it is a chance to defend the title nonetheless. Our boys relish the wild card spot and adore being cast as the underdogs.

As Boston entered the playoffs for the third time in three years I was in a plane returning from Pittsburgh to Boston. While in flight I surreptitiously checked my text messages for the automated updates I enacted just before checking out of my hotel. I heard the murmur of a new text message arrive and I see these blessed words flash on the screen: “Manny Ramirez home run. Johnny Damon scores. David Ortiz scores. Red Sox, 6-0.” Such messages came rapidly as the Red Sox closed out the season with a convincing win.

I had a superb view from my seat on the Embraer ERJ 145 jet. I was in row 3, seat A. As the plane made its approach to Logan Airport I thought there might be a chance I would be able to see Fenway Park for at least a few seconds. The familiar Boston skyline eased into my view and I picked out familiar landmarks: Zakim Bridge. Longfellow Bridge. Citgo sign. Then, finally, Fenway. The lights were still on in the park. I stared, transfixed at the vivid lights blazing through the night. Another season had passed and I felt a pang of longing as necessity dictated that I could not be in Boston for the final game.

And yet I felt as close as ever to this team. For every game this season, win or lose, healthy or sick, I wrote a post. Sometimes it was easy, clever words dancing like a Wakefield knuckleball. Other times it was as agonizing as a digging out a desultory ball out of the garage door operning in left field. This act of commemorating the season was so vital to me. After 2004 ended, I felt I had wandered into a dream. I had memories, to be sure, but I felt I had lost the minute details of how the team got there through the course of a long, toiling regular season. I decided to remedy this in 2005, and I hope you enjoyed reading as much as I did writing these past few months.

Now the real season begins, where eight teams’ mettle will be tested. The Red Sox will face the White Sox in the ALDS beginning tomorrow. This is the team that, although it faltered in September, was able to sweep its final series, something that the Red Sox were unable to do. The season series went in favor of the Red Sox, 4-3. Of course, the AL Chicago team’s World Series drought of 88 years does not get the press of their glamorous North Side neighbors. The Cubs are the Red Sox without the near misses; they seduce Chicago fans with their 97-year long wait, quaint park, and storied curse. The White Sox are the ugly stepchild of losing teams, beaten and holed away because of a long-past scandal. Is the child now grown and seeking revenge?

October 2, 2005


Game 161: October 1, 2005
Yankees (95-66), 8
Red Sox (94-67), 4
W: Randy Johnson (17-8)
L: Tim Wakefield (16-12)

1 game behind in the division
1 game ahead for the wild card
1 game losing streak

Because of this loss, no matter the outcome today the Red Sox will not win the division title. As much as I hated to see the Yankees celebrate their eighth straight AL East title on our field, it’s not as if Yankee Stadium has not seen its fair share of Red Sox jubilation.

So, going into the final game of the season, the Red Sox can clinch the wild card if they win. If Boston loses, Cleveland must win to force a one-game playoff at Fenway Park to decide the wild card. If both the Red Sox and Indians lose, the Red Sox clinch the wild card, too. Andrew of 12eight points out that with a win today, the Red Sox would be co-champions of the AL East this year since the teams would finish with an identical record.

Wakefield was not his usual self against the Yankees today. He pitched only 5 innings and gave up 7 hits, 7 runs (all earned), no walks, 1 strikeout, and a whopping 3 homers. Gary Sheffield jacked a home run in the 1st inning with his fellow slugger Jason Giambi on base. Hideki Matsui and Alex Rodriguez homered in the 3rd and 5th, respectively. The Yankees even brought in a knuckleball pitcher to practice against before the game.

The consolation to this game is that the Red Sox discovered they could hit Randy Johnson, who pitched 7.1 innings with a line of 5 hits, 3 earned runs, 3 walks, 8 strikeouts, and 2 home runs. Unlike the last match-up in September when the Red Sox were shutout, Johnson was hittable. This will be key should the teams face each other again in this year’s ALCS. Manny Ramirez’s second four-bagger in the 8th inning was particularly stunning; I have never seen a ball hit above the seats covered to be the batter’s eye in day games until yesterday.

Did this game not seem like Game 3 of last year’s ALCS? The Yankees hit bomb after bomb yesterday, much like the did on October 16, 2004. Remember how that story ended.


October 1, 2005


Game 160: September 30, 2005
Yankees (94-66), 3
Red Sox (94-66), 5
L: Chien-Min Wang (8-5)
W: David Wells (15-7)
H: Chad Bradford (8)
H: Mike Myers (9)
S: Mike Timlin (13)
Tied for the lead in the division
1 game ahead for the wild card

2 game winning streak

The Red Sox and I are are currently in a long distance relationship. I had to travel to Pittsburgh for work and find myself in a distant city during a crucial series. I think we can weather this brief separation and, upon my return, find ourselves moving towards a bigger commitment, perhaps resulting in another ring?

The thing about the Red Sox that I’m beginning to reconsider is our current living situation. I visited an old friend, Freddie Sanchez, in his new digs and I must say that PNC Park is quite an upgrade over the quaint little bandbox in Boston. Imagine: affordable ticket prices, restrooms where women don’t have to wait in line for over 10 minutes, a concourse from which you can monitor the field, beer vendors prowling the stands (at least 5 varieties, and I’m not saying merely Bud, Bud Light, Miller, Miller Lite, and Coors; there was Yuengling, Iron City, and other lesser known breweries) and a sound system that doesn’t sound like two tin cans connected by twine.

Better yet, you can monitor men on base, outs, and scores from around both leagues. As much as I enjoyed the nostalgic ambiance PNC afforded, most of my concentration was devoted to the out-of-town scoreboard. With the Red Sox-Yankee score 2-1 and the Pirates-Brewers tally 5-0, I left the park and strided across the Roberto Clemente Bridge to see the Red Sox game on television. Had I tarried much longer at PNC, it was likely I would have been killed by a foul ball as I was so close to the batter’s box and I spent very little time watching the game at hand.

I must have spirited away the Pirates’ mojo because shortly after leaving, Pittsburgh’s shutout slipped into nonexistence and the Red Sox mounted an attack in what turned out to be a pivotal 3-run 6th inning.

Soon I’ll be back in Massachusetts. If I could bring a park like PNC back with me and drop it in the midst of the Fens I doubt even the most stalwart Save Fenway Park zealot could claim that it was not an improvement over the antiquated edifice that Fenway has become.

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