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Home » September 2006 Game CommentsSeptember 2006 » Winsome


Game 143: September 10, 2006
Royals (54-90), 3
Red Sox (76-67), 9
L: Mark Redman (9-9)
W: Julian Tavarez (3-4)
H: Bryan Corey (1)

The last time I went to the park and felt so subdued was the third game of the ALDS last year. The Red Sox attempted to avert the sweep, but failed.

Yesterday, Boston managed to win the last game of their homestand, but still lost the season series to the lowly Royals. They mustered a considerable offensive barrage, and against All-Star Mark Redman, no less.

I had standing room access to the pavilion section. It was quite blustery and the ushers are sticklers in this rarefied atmosphere. After standing for seven innings straight, they actually kicked us out of seats. In a meaningless games. Against the Royals.

Welcome to Friendly Fenway, indeed. I should have flashed my Red Sox Nation membership card or dozens of my past ticket stubs. My loyal feet just wanted a brief respite in an area briefly inhabited by gawking tourists and nouveau fans. You know the type: they come in the third and leave in the seventh.

I was in the park from when the gates opened until the final note of “Dirty Water.” But how dare I try to sit in the long-vacated seats? The view from the pavilion is beautiful, but the sense of privilege there is not.

I typed that phrase forlornly: “meaningless game.” For it is well overdue to admit that the Red Sox are only playing for what little is left of their dignity. But to see it stated so starkly in black and white is difficult.

There are individual accolades to recognized, and more to be pursued. David Ortiz could surpass Jimmie Foxx’s Red Sox record of 51 for most homers in a season and is a candidate for AL MVP. Curt Schilling garnered his 200th win and 3,000th strikeout with this team. Jason Varitek tied and surpassed Carlton Fisk’s games caught record.

But we all know they won’t be winning the real prize this year.

After the game, the crowds still thronged to the player parking lot exit to say goodbye, including me. I stood right at the bend in the barricades. Julian Tavarez, who won his first game as a starting Red Sox pitcher, signed autographs for quite a bit of people for the group gathered directly across the street from the lot. One little boy next to me started crying because he didn’t get Tavarez’s autograph. I wanted to console him; I mean, it’s just Julian Tavarez.

I thought about the trajectory of Tavarez’s time with the team, how he went from maligned middle reliever to sole reliable starter. Baseball is funny that way. Funny enough to make you cry.


That's weird. There were a bunch of empties on Friday night up there. At one point, Kim was sitting up on the ledge there, where you "lean" when you have standing room. The usher told her to get down. An inning later, around the fifth, a guy in the last row left with his kid, clearly done for th night. We took their seats, and the SAME usher walked past us and didn't kick us out. We stayed in those seats til tthe end. After it went to 8-3, a lot of people left, and by the end, it was all new people in the seats, who'd come from standing room. So, I don't know, maybe you just had a mean usher? You didn't try to go down to the club area, did you?

No, we tried for the last row of the pavilion box seats. The view is nice there, but the stringent stratification is annoying. I'll never buy tickets for the pavilion again.

It didn't help that you flipped off the usher, the concessions people, the cleaning folks, and really anyone that made fleeting eye contact with you. I think you have some anger issues, maybe you should talk to someone.

Someone that isn't me. My ribs are still sore from the last time you wanted to "talk some things out".

Matt, I was hoping you were going to chime in with the home runs scenarios you and your brother devised. I couldn't remember them all.

So somewhere in the middle innings, we played the always fun game of "Call Their Shot", where you make your predictions of where the ball is going to go. More often than not, hyperbole gets you more points than accuracy.

With David Ortiz at the plate, Joanna went with the always popular "Ortiz triples to the triangle", an event as rare and as beautiful as a butterfly fluttering on a bright morning, carring a $10 bill it drops in your outstretched palm.

I chose a home run which clangs off the Jet Blue/Direct TV ad. After several seconds of painstakingly examining the ballpark, Joanna still couldn't find it. So I pointed it out, to straight away center. About 1,000 ft to straight-away center, on a rooftop a block or two from Fenway Park. Naturally this turned in to a discussion of a fictional competition between Ortiz and Wily Mo (batting 3-4) in a competition on who could have the more spectacular HR shot between myself, Joanna and my brother Duncan. Choice examples (credit given when I remember who said it):

"See that guy in the Red Shirt in the second row of the Monster seats? Wily Mo is going to kill that guy by hitting him in the chest with a line drive." (Joanna)
"See that guy looking out his window about 7 blocks away on Kenmore, also dead."
"It's going to rip a whole directly through the first "O" in "Volvo" on the sign over the monster."
"He's going to hit a ball off the monster so hard, it embeds itself in the wall about 15 feet off the ground." (me)
"Wily Mo is going to hit one off the wall so hard it leaves a mark, and as he is going to first he is going to say 'Oh, Darn!" (Joanna, in an alleged play on words)
"Ortiz is going to hit one off the center field scoreboard, causing the pixels to short out. The only remaining ones will crudely spell out: 'Suck It, Royals'."(me)
"Then the Head Engineer will be saying 'Look, I'd shut off the board to get rid of the message, but Wily Mo's shot right after it broke the breaker'." (Duncan)
"Ortiz is going to hit one over the Monster, on to a train bound for New York State. Longest home run ever hit." (Joanna)
"Ortiz is going to hit one over the wall, down the Charles, and through the window of Mass General. It's going to strike a paralyzed man in the back, and he will be cured and be able to walk for the first time in years."
"Wily Mo's next hit will go through the same window and recripple him."
"The ball is going to end up about 200-300 feet behind home plate." "Oh, it's going to go around the world?" "No, it's just going to clear the Monster in left center, and that guy on the Majestic billboard is going to come to life and hit it back in the other direction."
"Ortiz is going to crush one over the center field wall. It's going to be travelling top speed, and end up skipping off a mugger's head in Boston Common, foiling a crime. The ball is going to stay airborn, go out over the harbor, and land on the second deck of a casino cruise ship. The ball is going to crash into the roulette wheel, stopping on #34. Everybody wins. Oh, and did I mention the mugger was robbing a nun? That's kind of important. That's orphan money he saved." (me)

There were more, but the rest are escaping me at the moment.

You missed an important detail on my "making a mark on the wall" event: the mark would be a hole ripped in the two red socks of the Red Sox Foundation graphic. You know how you have to "darn" socks when they have holes in them?

Tsk, tsk.

Actually, I would probably throw those socks away. Two I forgot:

"The ball is going to be a towering moonshot over the light tower, where it is caught by some migrating birds. The birds are going to carry it south with them, where they eventually nest and nurture the ball as their own. In 6 months, the ball will hatch as a bald eagle." (Duncan)
"The ball will strike one of the Coke bottles in left field, showering everyone with carbinated beverage." (Joanna, stealing an idea I copyrwrited years earlier)

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