Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Good times never seemed so good

This post has nothing to do with biology...unless I decide to delve into the nuerobiology of being a Red Sox fan...but if PZ Myers can allow a student to post about Drew Brees, I figure it's OK to open Archaea up to sports.

Anyways, my wife and I were at Fenway last night to watch the Sox beat the A's 7-3. This was our first (and only) game of the season (in fact, it has been a couple of years since we've managed to get to a game), and, man, I couldn't have asked for a better experience. I got to see just about everything that I could have hoped to see. Here are the highlights:

  • We got to see Schilling pitch. He wasn't overpowering, but he was very good - scattering 6 hits over 6 innings, striking out 6, and only giving up 1 run.

  • Manny Ramirez actually decided to play after sitting with an oblique "injury" for 24 games. BTW, Manny wears number 24. Coincidence? Knowing Manny, no. He got a standing ovation from the crowd (why oh why do we encourage him?) and went 1 for 2 before quiting being taken out of the game in the 5th. He won't be back here next year, so it was good to see him one last time.

  • I got to see my favorite current player, Mike Lowell, hit an RBI double off the wall. What can I say, I was hoping to see him get a hit and he did, so I was happy. He likewise probably won't be here next year (which is a damn crying shame if you ask me, especially if A-Rod is here instead), so it was good to see him before he goes.

  • J.D. Drew actually hit the ball. He went 3 for 4 with an RBI. Maybe he's needed 156 games to get used to Boston.

  • After being sidelined with a wrist injury for a while, Kevin Youkilis was back. He received a standing ovation and was showered with a full chorus of "Youuuuuuuuuuuk!"

  • A's pitcher, Ruddy Lugo had to wait to pitch in the bottom of the 8th while the crowd finished singing "Sweet Caroline". The PA had cut off the song and announced "Now pitching, Ruddy Lugo", but we could care less. 35,000 fans standing and belting out "Sweet Caroline, BAH BAH BAH, Good times never seemed so good. SO GOOD SO GOOD SO GOOD" while the players just stood around, watched and waited. If you don't know what I'm talking about, you'll just have to go to Fenway and experience it for yourself (in the meantime, here's a little taste). Gotta love this place.

  • The crowd erupted when the scoreboard showed that Tampa Bay was beating the Yankees. This was followed by 35,000 fans chanting "Yankees suck...Yankees suck...". I wonder how insignificant the A's felt at this point.

  • Jon Papelbon pitched in relief. This might have been was the most electrifying part of the entire game. As he ran in from the bullpen, 35,000 fans were on their feet and cheering. While he warmed up, 35,000 fans were on their feet and cheering. Let me repeat, while he was warming up, the crowd noise was at jet-engine decibel levels. And then 35,000 fans stood and cheered as he threw what turned out to be his only pitch of the evening to get a pop-out to end the inning and get the Sox out of a jam. The place went nuts. (BTW, excellent use of the Dropkick Murphy's "Shipping up to Boston" during his warmup.)*

  • David Ortiz hit a 3-run shot over the right field wall. Every fan wants and expects Big Papi to do this every time he's up, yet it never gets old. Again, the place went nuts.

  • Did I mention that the Sox won? (and the Yankees lost)

There was really only one lowlight of the game (what? did you think I'd leave well enough alone and be happy with the aforementioned highlights? what kind of Sox fan do you think I am?):

  • Eric f-ing Gagne: he couldn't (once again) get the job done in the 8th and Francona had to go to Papelbon with the tying run at the plate to quelch a potential A's rally. I'll be shocked (and enraged) if this guy is given the ball in a close game in the post-season.

Even with the disappointing Gagne, this was easily the best game I've ever been at.

*When Papelbon emerged from the bullpen, the PA played "Wild Thing", which I didn't think was right. It's cheesy and ripped off. This made the switch to the Dropkick Murphy's all the better.

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