Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Right, so we lost to the Orioles. Laugh it up while you can, buddy.
It's the lovable, asthmatic Matty Clement against Rodrigo 'Holy fuck is his ERA really 1.91?' Lopez tonight, and we all know what happened last time we had that matchup.... that's right, a pitcher's duel that could've gone either way. Great. Anyways, I was at last night's game, thanks to my dad's cousin Beth, who gave me her tickets to the game, thank-you-a-billion-times-Beth-those-seats-are-kickass.
Warning: this is going to be long. I'm not sorry at all.
The poorly-lit photo I've been waiting my entire life to take.
The rest of the photos I took, bad focus and all, can be seen here.
I would just like to mention that a girl got on at Symphony* with a pink Red Sox hat, and I was filled with a deep, brilliant desire to break things. All that time in Michigan, I'd nearly forgotten how much I sincerely despise those hats and, yes, those who wear them. I'll be as judgmental as I want, thank you.
So far as I'm concerned it's a bit like someone wearing a star-of-David necklace because they think it's a cool design and goes with their shoes, not because they're Jewish or have any actual respect for the Jewish faith. It's taking the symbol of something that I hold pretty dear and cheapening it for the sake of fashion. It makes me angrier than a Vikings fan at a beer-less social event, and I have to try really hard to not throw whatever heavy objects are at hand at the offending wearers of the pink hats.
We walked down to Fenway, and found our seats, and these were my initial overriding impressions:
-The amount of people streaming into Fenway and in the areas immediately surrounding Fenway is much more reminiscent of the scene just before a U of M football game than the scene just before a Tigers game. Take it how you will.
-Not too many Orioles hats floating around today.
-Thank cats I brought gloves.
-These seats fucking rock. Pity Mueller's still sick, I would've had great views of him all game long.
-Who the hell is that in the outfield? (I forgot to check the lineups before heading out... imagine my horror when I finally realized that, yes, that was indeed Kevin Millar holding down the fort in left field)
-God, David Wells is really fat.
-Fenway is tiny. I hadn't been inside the park since last summer, and in the interim I'd been to football games at Ford Field (large) and Michigan Stadium (largest in, uh, the world), a hockey game at Yost (loud), and baseball games at Comerica (large). Especially compared to Comerica, Fenway is midgetal. And I don't just mean the field, because, outfield nonwithstanding, it's still 90 feet in the right places and all that. But I'd nearly forgotten how small Fenway itself is. The concourses at Comerica are as roomy as they are at any football stadium, and stuff like the Big Cat Court, with its rotunda of eateries and full-scale merry-go-round of rideable tigers, is simply inconceivable at Fenway. And of course you can sit in any seat at Comerica without contorting yourself painfully. Although I think the Loge Box seats at Fenway have more leg room than the Grandstand seats do. Either that or my legs shrunk at some point during the year.
All that said, if they ever try to change Fenway in any appreciable way, I'm rioting.
We settled in, and poor Corey got the full, character-enhancing experience of baseball with me. You see, Corey is what we call a 'normal' art student, in that he knows little or nothing about the Red Sox or, indeed, the sport of baseball**. Which is not to say he's no fun to go to a game with-- he's got all the enthusiasm for the team, just in a more general I-live-and-go-to-school-in-the-Boston-area sense. So I started giving him little anecdotes about each player who came up.
"That's Mark Bellhorn, now you have to expect that he's going to strike out, because he does that a lot, but over the course of the season his walks and hits sort of make it worthwhile," and "That's Ramon Vasquez, he doesn't normally start, but Bill Mueller is out with the flu, and I don't much like Vasquez because his bat's not worth a tinker's damn, that's why he's hitting ninth," and "See, the pitcher will throw the ball to first base a bunch of times to check Johnny Damon, because Damon's fast, you generally want your leadoff man to have a really good on base percentage and to be pretty speedy, although that's not always true, they don't do it like that in Oakland for example, and if I'm boring you or telling you stuff you already know just tell me and I'll stop."
Here Corey made the cardinal error of telling me that not only was I not boring him, I was giving him insight into the game and he appreciated it a great deal. This basically sealed his fate for the evening, as he had to listen to me prattle on in such a fashion for the entire game, up to and including commentary on the entire Sosa saga, the concept of pitch counts and the subsequent overreliance on relief pitchers, and the pink hat rant. It was only interrupted so that I could occasionally scream at the top of my lungs things like, "LET'S GO EDGAH!" and "DON'T HACK AT IT, DON'T BE AFRAID TO TAKE A BASE ON BALLS, MANNY!"
I tried to explain things about the Orioles too ("Gil isn't their usual catcher... Tejada's a great player, damn him... Roberts has been on a homerun tear, but it won't last"), but I'm not sure some things got through. The first time Javy Lopez got into the on-deck circle I excitedly punched Corey in the arm. "Oooo! Look! Javy Lopez!" Corey was not impressed. "So? He's on the other team." "Yes, but he's Javy Lopez." "Yeah...?" How can you explain 'he's an Oriole but just look at how cute he is, and have you seen his batting average?' without sounding like a bad Red Sox fan?
David Wells, I have to say, did indeed look pretty bad, and not just because you'd hate to see what his arteries look like. Even before he injured himself (on a play that, by the by, he definitely did not need to make) he wasn't doing anything special with the ball. It looked like he was having trouble getting the ball over the plate ("COME ON BOOMAH, LOCATE THE FUCKING BALL!") and his velocity was very lukewarm.
I was willing to assume it was the cold at first, but after a couple innings of watching him blow on his hands and struggling obesely through each batter I abandoned the rational viewpoint and decided that he, personally, wanted me, personally, to suffer. This let me spend the rest of the short time he was actually on the field stewing angrily and clapping sarcastically whenever he finally threw a strike, which is pretty much my default attitude anyways.
After David Wells pulled up limping and mysteriously continued to pitch until he'd driven us into a deeper hole, we got the litany of relief pitchers. Blaine Neal as the long man was, uh, unexpected. I treated Corey to the "God, I hate this guy, look at his ERA, and we always put him in as a sign of surrender, why the hell aren't we putting in Halama, our starter's out in the 4th inning and I thought Halama was our long guy, but anyways, he did good in the brawl yesterday," rant. I guess he didn't suck, at least not as badly as Wells did.
When Mantei pulled up limping and slunk from the field, I threw up my hands and shouted, "TWICE? Twice in one game?!? Are you FUCKING KIDDING ME? WHAT DID I DO? WHAT DID I DO TO DESERVE THIS?" along with the rest of the people in the crowd who were actually there to watch baseball and not just to drink beer and tell all their friends that they'd been to Fenway last night. People, crazy as this sounds, I don't give a shit if there's a fight over there in the stands. There happens to be a baseball game being played right now. I'd really appreciate it if you would sit the fuck down and pay attention to the fucking game, which is what we're supposed to care about to begin with.
Annoying as the 'I'm only here because it's cool and I don't care about baseball' crowd was, there were some quality individuals. There were three very drunken and very vocal gentlemen sitting about two rows behind us, one of whom had a deeply rooted hatred of Sammy Sosa.
"SOSA! YER A BUM! YER A BUM, SOSA!"
"HEY SOSA, YOU FUCKIN' TRAITAH! HOW 'BOUT THOSE CUBBIES, EH SOSA?"
"HEY SAMMY, YER WASHED UP! GET OFF THE FIELD YOU WASHED UP BUM!"
"ANY CORK IN THAT BAT, SOSA? TOO BAD IT DON'T MATTAH, BECAUSE YER A BUM WHO CAN'T HIT THE BALL!"
"HEY SOSA, YOU FUCKIN' JUICAH!"
"SAMMY, YER A BUM!"
I was actually a bit surprised by the level of disdain Fenway as a whole had for Sammy Sosa. I'm not sure why I wasn't expecting it, what with the steroid stuff and all, but the first 'BALCO' chant didn't come until sometime in the 7th or 8th inning anyways, and most of the heckling didn't seem to be steroid-based. He was booed mercilessly every time he came up to bat, sometimes just when he got up into the on-deck circle. There were a lot of people yelling stuff about the Cubs and cork. I guess maybe Red Sox fans get defensive on behalf of the Cubs out of a sense of brotherhood or something. We had suffered next to them for so long, it's almost like the crowd felt it was as much their duty to torment Sosa as if they'd been at Wrigley.
This same gentleman, it should be said, was very much for equal treatment and was not above heckling his own team.
(after Vasquez had made another uninspiring, not-in-time throw from third) "WHERE'S BILLY? I WANT TA SEE BILLY MUELLAH OUT THERE! YOU SUCK, RAHMON!"
There was also a young lady who kept standing up every time BJ Surhoff was attempting to bat.
"YOU SUCK, SURHOFF! MY GRANDMOTHER'S GOT BIGGER BALLS THAN YOU!"
"HEY, WHAT THE FUCK DOES 'BJ' STAND FOR ANYWAYS?"
Brian Roberts got some boos the first couple of times he came to the plate, but then people seemed to lose interest. Other than that the crowd seemed relatively tolerant of the Orioles, and the biggest jab anyone took at them came in the form of a man even fatter than David Wells, who ran, shirtless, out onto the field in what I think was the 8th.
Let the record state that I have never seen a worse case of manboobs.
This floppy fellow barrelled out of the left field stands to immense cheers and made his way towards centerfield, where he was met by a security guard who had had to come racing all the way from the bullpens. After making an 'aw c'mon man' gesture he allowed himself to be led back towards the Orioles dugout, whereupon he began saying things and gesturing into the dugout. The security people, realizing that this was a bad idea, did an about-face and led him off in the other direction. The crowd, annoyed by the score and the lackluster play on the field, was absolutely ecstatic.
High points involving the actual game? Well, they weren't too numerous. 'Tek's booming homerun over the Green Monster was a delight to see, although I did sit back down afterwards grumbling, "Well, great, it's still 7-3." Every strikeout of The Bat-Eared Corker was greeted with immense cheers and, in a dog of a game, was plenty reason for mild celebration. The 9th inning substitution of Bill Mueller for Replacement Level Vasquez got one of the biggest cheers of the night. Everyone was just so fed up with Vasquez, but even more happy to see Mueller alive and well and holding a bat. He struck out, but it was almost OK.
On the whole it was an offensive day we could probably afford to forget, and the defensive arrangement was just plain old wince-inducing. Manny Ramirez is far from an ideal left fielder, but I would rather see him a thousand times than watch Millar lumber around out there like someone had severed his legs below the knee. Our pitching was sad and uninspired and I just heard that David Wells is out for a month so, great. Just great. WONDER-FUCKING-FUL.
In the end, though, I can't be too mad. I mean, yes, it was cold. Yes, the team as a whole played like they were in Pittsburgh. But it was live baseball, at Fenway park. And I got to stare at this for a while:
So that's alright, then.
*Yes, I was on the E line... no, I was not lost. My friend Corey, with whom I was going to the game, is a student at MassArt, and I was meeting him there.
**As opposed to an abnormal art student who knows (and cares) a bit too much about these things, i.e. me.