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Home » June 2007 Game CommentsJune 2007 » Quarry


Game 63: June 12, 2007
Rockies 1 L: Aaron Cook (4-3) 31-33, 1 game losing streak
6-11-4 series record
WinRed Sox 2 W: Tim Wakefield (6-7)
S: Jonathan Papelbon (15)
41-22, 1 game winning streak
15-5-2 series record
Highlights: Terry Francona constructed a reasonable lineup at last. Now that the team is back in town, did Theo Epstein hover over Francona’s shoulder as the field manager arranged the local nine on the chart? Because having Dustin Pedroia (.314 BA, .395 OBP, .436 slugging) and Kevin Youkilis (.335, .421, .524) in front of David Ortiz instead of Julio Lugo (.215, .274, .322) and Coco Crisp (.225, .281, .300) is a fine sight to see in person.

Thanks to some last minute internetting, I got one ticket in section 29 for last night’s game. I know that grandstand seats are a mixed bag, but I felt so fortunate to snag admittance to the opening game of this interleague series I didn’t quibble or scour FenwayData to see if I purchased one of those obstructed view seats that aren’t labeled as such by the powers that be.

I was there early enough to scope out row 10 from sections  28 through 31. I was pleasantly surprised; this particular row is free of poles as long as you aren’t seated at the far ends of the section. Since I was in the middle of the row, I also didn’t have to contend with very many people crossing in front of me, either.

It really is true that the most knowledgeable fans in baseball come to Fenway Park. I enjoyed the game in complete ignorance through six innings. Fortunately two young ladies showed up in the middle of the sixth with their beers and plopped next to me. Apparently they know so much of the ins and outs of the grand old game they needn’t be present for more than a third of it.

I knew I was in for a treat when they settled into their seats and the first learned words out of their mouths were, “When do they stop selling beer?” Clearly they could determine the contours of the contest by keenly observing the box score. I was awestruck and hoped they would deign to impart upon a fraction of the vast baseball noesis they possessed.

My moment to attempt to impress them with my own paltry understanding of this splendid pastime came in the eighth, after they had returned from a beer run.

Dustin Pedroia had led off with a single to left and Terry Francona pinch ran Alex Cora. Nodding my approval of the move, I leaned toward them, saying conspiratorially, “Nice move by Tito, there. That Dustin is higher in the order gives Boston more scoring opportunities. In a 1-1 tie, replacing Pedroia doesn’t compromise the team defensively and puts them in the best position to get the go-ahead run across the plate.”

Was I ever thrilled when the girl nearest me agreed whole-heartedly. “Woooooooooooooo!” she said.

Emboldened by her approbation, I tried to engage her and her friend in baseball banter throughout the rest of the 52 minutes of the game. As John Updike wrote about another legend, “Gods do not answer letters.”

They do, however, await the wave in breathless anticipation, even as Jonathan Papelbon racked up his 15th save with two strikeouts and mid to high 90s heat. I’m usually flummoxed between watching on-field happenings and shenanigans in the stands, but this duo managed both with such ease. Their cheers for the wave and for the relief ace were so seamlessly entwined it was as if “Mira, O Norma” was reenacted for baseball.

Those minutes I spent reveling in their combined intellect was better than any Bill James treatise. I am forever indebted to those nameless mavens.

Note: Photos from last night’s game to be posted later this evening.

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