Friday, September 26, 2003

Games 158-159 - Red Sox. We're Goin' to Disneyland, er, Oakland

Orioles 7, Red Sox 3
Red Sox 14, Orioles 3
Record: 94-65
Clinched AL Wild Card Berth

33,500 people had a party for the ages in Fenway Park last night, and it was only a Wild Card celebration. The Sox took the suspense out of the game early, posting 7 runs on the O's in the first two innings and adding another touchdown to clinch a postseason berth. As soon as Ramiro Mendoza struck out Brian Roberts to end the game, the Sox commenced an hour-long festival, spraying each other, the management, and random fans with champagne, beer, and in the case of Manny Ramirez, water from a hose that was lying around. Trot Nixon smashed two beer cans together and shotgunned them. Nomar, Lowe, Wakefield, Damon, and several others smoked massive stogies in the infield. Burkett ran the bases sporting a "Cowboy Up!" t-shirt that featured a picture of David Ortiz wearing a 10-gallon hat. Manny hugged Wally the Green Monster. Theo Epstein slugged champagne right from the bottle. Frankly, I don't think the Sox will have enough sober guys to field a team against the Rays tonight.

I had somewhat mixed emotions watching the celebration. I was pumped and jacked that the Sox clinched a playoff berth - I've said from the beginning that I thought they have a real chance if they just get to the playoffs. I was also really happy for the Sox players - this is, without a doubt, my favorite collection of Sox, and they were so unbelievably giddy that I couldn't help but get a little caught up myself. And it was awesome to see the fans react with a full-throated cathartic joy. But here it comes - a little part of me is wondering if it was all a little excessive, considering that a) it's only a Wild Card, and b) there's a lot of baseball left. If I'm the Oakland A's, I just got a little hop in my step knowing that the Red Sox are making this big a deal of the postseason, and I just got a bulletin board quote from Todd Walker, who said, "We're gonna go to Oakland, whip their ass, and go from there."

On the other hand, if this is what the Wild Card celebration looks like, there aren't enough law enforcement officials in Greater Boston to police the Hub when the Sox win the World Series. The Sox magic number is now 11. Lotta ball left. Stay on target.

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