Well, hello there!
I am just back from a weekend spent
deep in the heart of enemy territory in the great city of Boston.
While the game on Saturday was the major attraction of the trip, just being in the city, was an experience in itself.
On Friday night, I wasn't planning on being able to catch the game; dinner with friends certainly took priority, but as luck would have it, we ate at a restaurant in Chinatown called Shabu Zen, and managed to nab seats at the bar, where the game was being broadcast on a very big, very fancy TV.
I was a little worried when Wang got a lot of fly-outs that one inning (I know, I know, I can't remember which), but through the wonder of the internet on my cell phone, my fears abated when I saw the final score.
Alas, my tickets were not for Friday night, so the majority of this post is about Saturday.
Saturday began with a great start. My friend Dan, who is the one responsible for the tickets, had a job interview at Boston University at noon, so after that was over, we walked the ten minutes (not even) to Fenway.
The weather, then, was gorgeous. Normally weather is just for background description and a way to fluff writing, but yesterday, the weather was an important factor. So, let me state, that around 1.30 PM, there were sunny, clear skies and it was warm enough that I was seriously worried because I didn't have sunscreen and I burn easily.
Given that there were a few hours before the start of the game, and that we were a little hungry, we stopped in at Cask N' Flagon, because, well, if you're going to have the Fenway Park experience, you might as well make it the Fenway Park experience. Citgo Sign included.
I was a little nervous about wandering inside with my Yankees shirt on, but as it turns out, there are quite a few Yankees fans in Boston. So I unzipped my sweater and let fly.
Myself, and Dan. I know I look horrible, but that's not the point. I know Dan's allegiance is misguided, but you can't blame him; he's from the area. If people from New Jersey are allowed to like the Yankees, people from eastern Massachusetts can like the Red Sox.
The park is gorgeous, even on the outside, even near its centennial.
We got there in time for batting practice; the Green Monster actually doesn't look that huge in person, but then again, I'm not sure Jacoby Ellsbury/Coca Crisp/whoever's in left field there would agree with me.
The John Hancock board is the only one in the park with a monitor/digital date and time. It really did feel like I was stepping back in time.
Someday, I will have to come back just to sit in the Monster Seats:
When I took this next shot, the clouds were already beginning to roll in a little--in the ten minutes it took for me to take this shot and walkover to where the Yankees were taking BP, the temperature dropped from about 75 F to game-time 61 F. I had previously thought that temperature drops like that only occurred in front of massive storms. I was right.
I wasn't able to get a whole lot of good shots from where I was standing--I made it to the first row behind home plate, near the dugout, but there were so many people on the field that I was just really thankful my camera has an amazing 12x zoom.
Jorge. Jorge, I think, more than any other of the Yankees, looks a lot bigger (as in more muscular) in person than he does on TV. He wasn't smiling at me, but I can pretend.
Looks like Cash, smells like Cash....
Johnny Damon taking BP. Robinson Canò is on deck; either he or Johnny hit some massive BP home runs, but I forget who it was--could have easily been neither of them. In the corner you can see Peter Gammons talking to Derek Jeter.
Bobby Abreu throwing catch. You can see the Yankees fan behind him. I was very much not alone.
You can see how much darker it was at Fenway by the time I reached my actual seat. I've seen day turn to night plenty of times, but the way it did yesterday was scary.
When I say Fenway Park is old, I mean that it looks like the seats haven't been cared for at all since 1912. It's kind of cool, actually--they say people were smaller back then, and the size of the seats makes you actually believe it.
I spy...people in the scoreboard. I was telling Dan that as far as summer jobs go, scoreboard operator at Fenway Park would have to be on the top of the list of any baseball fan. At least, it should be.
The sun came out again. It was like some weather deity spent a little too much time at Cask n' Flagon, which, if he's a Sox fan, makes sense, given Friday's two-hitter.
A-Rod and Giambino talking...about something.
The Umpires, deciding how, exactly, they were going to annoy fans who were probably a 5:1 ratio of Sox-Yankees faithful.
Some dugout action. A couple comments: 1) the road jackets are awesome and I want one. 2) the dugout is tiny for grown men.
The Sox take the field. As you likely know, Beckett was on the mound for the Sox.
I don't know if it was just me, but it seemed that in the Yankees' starting line-up yesterday there were only two righties--A-Rod and Alberto Gonzalez.
The Yankees take the field.
Mike Mussina did not pitch (that) poorly; it was just that Beckett was better, as generally is supposed to happen when a two matches up with a five. Mussina got some very nice double plays to help him in the early innings, but Manny Ramirez must hate me, or something. He homered for Cleveland at the very first Yankee game I ever went to, and he homered again yesterday.
The hawk that attacked Alexa Rodriguez.
Moose in action.
Robinson Canò. He had one of the better offensive performances for the Yankees yesterday.
Yankees with men on first and second. You'll notice that now the lights are on, a portent of things to come.
The (former) Attorney General on the basepath.
Yankees with lead. It didn't last very long, but it was nice when it did.
The other side of Fenway, just because I don't have a picture of it.
Bruney comes on and attempts to save the day. He doesn't, but it's not for lack of effort.
The press box. I wonder how many are actively writing about the game, and how many are messing around with Spider Solitaire during the delay...
Okay, so this is where it gets interesting. Right now, you see the tarp is on the field. This should not be a problem, except for the fact that A-Rod is at bat, there are two Yankees on base, the Yanks are down by one, there are two out and it's the top of the eighth. You would think they would let A-Rod have his at bat.
You thought wrong.
In the umpires' defense, it was raining a monsoon, and even if they let A-Rod bat, they would have probably put the tarp on the field anyway, especially after the lightning. For those of you not into weather-related phenomena, just remember that baseball players wear metal spikes in their cleats, and thus lightning makes for a potentially dangerous situation--it's why after the sight of lightning you have to wait at least a half hour before pulling the tarp off.
Eventually, as is normal, the rain stopped.
The skies cleared.
The temperature rose.
The tarp stayed on the field.
No amount of yelling "TAKE IT OFF" or "PLAY THE D*** GAME" or "WHAT THE F-ING HECK IS WRONG WITH YOU THE SKY IS CLEAR" could rouse the grounds crew out to take the tarp off.
Had the sky stayed clear for only about ten minutes before becoming ominous again, it would not have been a big deal, but the skies stayed clear for a long time. I didn't time it, but it was at least three-quarters of an hour. More than enough time to take the tarp off and start playing again.
Eventually, the grounds crew came out and began to remove the tarp. They got most of the way done.
However, as you can see, the sky has again gotten that dark-and-stormy look. So the grounds crew stood around for a while, doing nothing, until some of the scariest lightning I've ever had the fortune of seeing live, lit up the sky. Thus, the tarp went back on the field.
At this point in time, Dan's friend had been waiting outside Fenway for us to meet him at the end of the game, and Dan and I felt bad for him having to wait, and also really angry at the umpires, for not taking the tarp off while the sky was clear, so we left.
By the time we got to Cambridge, where we ate dinner, the game was in the bottom of the eighth. It was on a large TV in the front display window of a wine and cheese shop, so a crowd gathered around on the sidewalk to watch.
We stayed--and attempted to stay through the ninth, and saw Papelbon get the Yankees to within their last strike, before FOX decided that the Heidi Game would make a great broadcast journalism role model.
So even though the Yankees didn't win, and the weather deities don't like me very much, I had a wonderful time.
They say if you're a baseball fan, there are three ballparks you have to visit before you die--Yankee Stadium, Wrigley Field, Fenway Park.
So far, they're right.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Well, hello there!