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Home » August 2008 Game CommentsAugust 2008 » Beginning


Game 110: August 1, 2008 ∙ 12 innings
Athletics 1 L: Alan Embree (1-4) 53-55, 4 game losing streak
WinRed Sox 2 H: Manny Delcarmen (17)
BS: Hideki Okajima (7)
W: Mike Timlin (4-3)
62-48, 1 game winning streak
Highlights: Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end. Jason Bay selected 44 in honor of Eric Davis, who was not only a multi-year All-Star and Gold Glover but a survivor of colon cancer. Bay connects himself numerically with another player he idolized: 4 + 4 = Carl Yastrzemski. In his introductory press conference, Bay revealed that he had posters on his wall of Yastrzemski and Jim Rice. His father is an ardent Red Sox fan who dressed him in a Boston onesie. So he knows what this is all about.

He knows he is not going to replace Manny Ramirez: he stated this plainly and repeatedly in his press conference and interviews. This may be both good and bad. Good because the melodrama of the past week will be replaced by stability, but bad because normality can be damn boring. Bad because perhaps Bay’s career years will never approach Ramirez’s career years, but good because Ramirez is past his peak seasons and the Red Sox may have acquired Bay as he builds towards his zenith.

He knows how to take a pitch: Bay patiently waited out Justin Duchscherer in the second inning, watching four pitches away pass by and not getting tied up on a slider inside on the 3-1 count. He did this despite the long standing ovation he received that had him leaving the batter’s box twice and self-consciously tipping his helmet.

He knows how to be hit by a pitch graciously: by spinning his vital parts out of the path of the ball and allowing it to plunk him in the back to leadoff the fourth.

He knows how to field a short fly on the slide: the left fielder skimmed the turf legs-first to glove Ryan Sweeney’s batted ball to end the top half of the fifth frame. The scrutiny of the fans in the bank of seats looming over left field did not unnerve him.

He knows he has to learn how to play the wall to his advantage: but he seems to be a quick study. In the sixth he held Kurt Suzuki to a single by field the ball off the wall in his own style; not barehanded like Ramirez but with quick feet and a quick throw back to the infield that had Suzuki retreating to first.

He knows how to make a key hit at a crucial time: as witnessed by his twelfth inning triple high off the wall towards center. Bay legged it to third and almost immediately engaged DeMarlo Hale in intense conversation about the quirk of that hit in this capricious new park he patrols.

He knows how to run on contact: which allowed him to cross the plate with the winning run in extras on Jed Lowrie’s infield single.

He knows not to take take all the credit: when Heidi Watney proclaimed him a hero, he instantly deferred to his teammates and their efforts in this protracted game.

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