Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Games 117 & 118 - Red Sox
Fenway to Go

Red Sox 8, Blue Jays 4
Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 4
Record: 66-52
August Record: 9-6

Fenway Park is old, weird, smelly, and cramped. Singles become outs in leftfield, while homeruns become singles and popups become round-trippers. Rightfielders get lost trying to track down balls that hug the fence, or watch little bloopers hit the Pesky Pole. The infield is reputed to be the worst in baseball, as are the clubhouse facilities. In other words, it's a fabulous edifice. For all its blemishes, Fenway serves as a reminder to all of us that the beauty in baseball lies in its unpredictability.

Last night brought the home team another in a long line of memorable moments that would be inconceivable in nearly any other stadium. Johnny Damon led off first with 1 out in the bottom of the 9th inning of a tie game. Orlando Cabrera - coming off a 2-error game and sporting less than robust offensive numbers - ripped a shot towards the Green Monster in left-center.

First thought: that's a double, and Damon's gonna score to end the game.

Second thought: shit, this is Fenway - it might be a single, and there's no way Damon scores.

Then the ball hit the top of the metallic manual scoreboard that dominates the bottom section of the Monster, and instead of caroming directly down to the Jays' Vernon Wells (who was perfectly positioned to make the play) shot straight into the air, describing a lazy arc as Damon sped towards third.

Third thought: Ha! Only in Fenway.

Dale "Go, Go, Go" Sveum sent Damon home, and the speedy centerfielder beat the Jays' relay easily to send the home crowd into delirium, give the Sox their 7th win in 10 games, and leave the Jays standing with their hands on their hips wondering what had happened. Somewhere, Wally the Green Monster smiled as he shuffled back to his lair.

In unrelated, but irritating news, the Sox placed Kevin Youkilis and Dave McCarty on the DL yesterday, making their injured roster almost as large as their active one. While I appreciate the fact that the Mets have had their share of bad luck on the injury front, the Sox are currently without the services of Trot Nixon, Pokey Reese, Scott Williamson, Youkilis, Mark Bellhorn, and Ellis Burks. That's two starters (Nixon and Bellhorn), two critical reserves (Youkilis and Reese), the team's best right-handed pinch-hitter (Burks), and the team's best setup man (Williamson). And McCarty, whose best position may actually be Disabled Hitter.

The situation is so bad that Doug Mientkiewicz started at 2nd base for the Sox on Monday night. Forgetting for a moment that he actually played really well (and that, frankly, he hits like a 2nd baseman), the fact that Francona chose Dougie M. over Ricky Gutierrez - who is a middle infielder by trade - causes me to wonder out loud why Gutierrez is still on the major league roster. Could be worse, I suppose. Cesar Crespo could still be wearing the Sox uniform.

I'm making this part small because I don't want to say this too loudly, but Derek Lowe pitched really well on Monday. He had awesome stuff, and gave up 4 runs (3 earned) only because Cabrera made 2 errors in 1 inning. I'm just saying.

No comments: