|Game 96: July 20, 2007
||L: Jose Contreras (5-12)
||43-52, 1 game losing streak
12-15-4 series record
||W: Josh Beckett (13-3)
H: Mike Timlin (3)
H: Hideki Okajima (15)
|57-39, 1 game winning streak
19-9-4 series record
|Highlights: A three game skid was snapped despite the incompetence of umpires. Beckett struck out ten over six innings of work and those who were once maligned have blossomed under the heat of scrutiny.
When there’s a controversial call sometimes I’d prefer to be at home watching the game so that I can know with complete certainty and through replays that my eyes didn’t deceive me. (I’m talking about real me, not mannequin me who attended Tuesday’s game. She doesn’t have terribly good depth perception.)
Thirty-six thousand, seven hundred thirty-seven other pairs of eyes (give or take a few too drunk or in obstructed seats) saw the same thing I did, but the four people whose judgment actually matters, Marty Foster, Fieldin Culbreth, Paul Schrieber, and Tim McClelland, found themselves in the minority.
Terry Francona stalked down each umpire in an effort to have them discuss the ruling. Despite their summit the incorrect call was made. The play was ruled a double and Manny Ramirez was tagged for the third out.
Francona continued the tirade even as his team took their positions to field at the top of the second. The crowd chanted “Terry! Terry! Terry!” until McClelland gave him the heave-ho, which prompted a outburst of both cheers for the manager standing up for his team and jeers at the bungling officiating crew.
For J.D. Drew’s three-run homer in the first inning I didn’t require a replay from particular angles to confirm what actually happened. From my seat in Section 4, Box 90, Row SS, Seat 21 I saw Drew’s fly ball ricochet off the back rim on the left field wall’s “tabletop,” clearly above the red line marking the boundary between home run and wall ball. I recall Gabe Kapler was similarly robbed, and in that game too the Red Sox ultimately prevailed.
When Drew doubled in the eighth off the Monster many supporters made the home run gesture.
Coco Crisp displayed why the Red Sox front office was willing to part with the touted Andy Marte. He cleared the bases with a go-ahead triple in the fifth that skidded down the right field line and harassed the wooden Jermaine Dye. (Please don’t let trade rumors about Dye to the Red Sox be true.) Crisp also hosed A.J. Pierzynski at second to close the top of the sixth frame.
Another reason to watch games from home is to avoid the fickle and ignorant so-called fans who so predominate Fenway since 2004. The cadre of baseball experts behind me mocked Julio Lugo throughout the game, without an inkling of the shortstop’s recent hot streak. When Lugo launched the grand slam their tune changed immediately; they shoddily high fived and backslapped each other. Their level of commentary was obviously informed by WEEI and other slaphappy, slipshod media.
And yet of course I won’t stop attending game after game. Long after the heated nonsense of naysayers has faded as the sun sets, after their bitterness has evaporated like their spilled beers, I’ll remain.
The best Red Sox Magazine cover as a billboard.
Parts of Fenway are continually under construction. This incomplete façade is under the Green Monster seats on Lansdowne.
Something I hadn’t noticed and never photographed: a flag of the opposing team flies in the Souvenir Store across the way from the Cask and Flagon.
McClelland is one of the better umpires in the league but his crew failed in this game.
Francona would not relent.
The Boston field manager took his case to anyone who would listen while DeMarlo Hale tried to run interference.
Fans signal for the home run.
The quartet assembles to discuss the play while Drew gives an indication that the call will go against the Red Sox.
Francona joins when he learns the hit won’t be ruled a homer.
The umpires won’t have any of it.
Francona on the verge of getting ejected.
Drew indicates what he thought the hit was. [Or rather, him showing what place his team holds in the AL East standings. (Actually, him showing there was one out after he caught a fly ball.)]
Post-game congratulations. Lugo being interviewed by Tina Cervasio in the left of this photo.
First place. W.
Beckett was Player of the Week last week and could well repeat.