Friday, June 03, 2005
So it's not as impressive as the photos the actual team photographers turned out today... what can I say, I was a little too busy screaming my fool head off to take a great shot.
Bottom of the 9th, down by one run, two men on, two outs in the inning, full count, I'm sure you've all heard the story already. David Ortiz. Just... David Ortiz, OK? The crowd was on its feet, chanting, "Papi! Papi! Papi!" and wouldn't you know, it's almost like he was listening.
I can't say I saw him rounding the bases, because I was too busy shrieking and violently assaulting/hugging my friend Corey, and I can't say I saw much of the celebration at home plate, because I was too busy high-fiving the father and his small child sitting next to us. It was only after all the pure reactionary madness, as my volcanic giddiness settled down into a slightly more manageable form of hysteria, that I thought to turn on my camera and point it in the general direction of the pile of red lurching unsteadily towards the Red Sox dugout.
But you all already know this, and no doubt saw the highlights countless times, so there's no sense in dwelling on that part of the game. Except of course to say THANK YOU BETH AND LEAH FOR THE TICKETS YOU GUYS ARE THE ABSOLUTE BEST OMG BESTEST TIMES 10, and to say that I couldn't have scripted a more perfect way to end this three-ballgames-in-three-days adventure.
I was excited about this game as soon as I saw the starting lineups and the teams took the field. I started nudging Corey in the arm. "Look at the Orioles leadoff guy, that's David Newhan!" Corey gave me a 'so what?' kind of look, and I pointed to third base. "Look at the Sox third baseman, that's Kevin Youkilis!" I got the same look. So I explained my excitement.
There were two Jewish baseball players on the field at once.
I know, I know, I am teh dork, but this is not an everyday happening in Major League Baseball! Two Jews! On the field! At the same time! I'm sorry, but I find that unspeakably awesome. If players are allowed to cross themselves before at-bats and 'throw it up to the baby Jesus in the sky' after a good play, I'm allowed to get excited about Jews on the field.
The crowd, by the by, really supports Youkilis. At every available opportunity the entire park would break into the booming 'Yoooooouuuuukkkkk' chant... every time he came up to bat, every time he made a perfectly normal but successfully executed defensive play, when he got hit by a pitch (I think on the hand or lower arm) and winced and grimaced something awful but eventually decided to remain in the game. Fenway is the home of the Youkilis and he is one of our favorite kids.
It was a very bird-ful game this afternoon, and not just because of the orange-and-black ones on the field. At one point in the later innings I happened to glance up over the first baseline-side seats and see a big bird open its wings and go into a long, majestically sweeping soar. A hawk! It circled lazily over the park, below the level of the lightbanks, and I nudged Corey (I did this a lot... poor kid's probably going to have bruises all up and down his arm tomorrow) insanely chattering, "Looklooklook! Red-tailed hawk!"
Then Edgah sent a pop fly booming up into the air, where it came within 2 or 3 feet of hitting the hawk. Everyone followed the ball up with their eyes, which meant that most of Fenway suddenly spotted the hawk at the same time, and people all over turned to their neighbors and said, "Wow, lookit dat hawk." It floated over the field a couple more times before angling off behind the scoreboard and out of sight.
There were also a rather lot of starlings in the park, fluttering about the bleachers and perching on the net protecting the people sitting behind home plate. One of the more intrepid starlings flew right down onto the field and landed on the lip of the Red Sox dugout. It walked up and down on the very edge. I saw someone in the dugout nudge their neighbor and point to the bird, and a few moments later someone else* gently tossed a handful of sunflower seeds out in front of the dugout, near the starling. It wandered up and pecked at them once or twice before flying off.
Middle of a game and the Sox dugout is trying to feed the birds. I love it.
Last night it was Melvin Mora getting heckled, today it was BJ Surhoff. A large group of people far down the third baseline were chanting, "Beeeeeeeeeeeee-Jaaaaaaaaaaay, Beeeeeeeeee-Jaaaaaaaaaaay" over and over again during all of his at-bats after, say, the 5th inning. The little kid sitting next to me, who must have been 5 or 6, turned to his dad and asked what they were chanting. His dad thoughtfully listened for a minute, and said that he thought they were chanting 'De-fense, de-fense'.
The little kid was having none of it. He insisted that that wasn't what they were saying, it didn't sound like 'defense', and the dad said that he wasn't sure but he thought it was 'deeeeeee-fense'. I let this go on for about 4 pitches before turning to the two of them and saying, only a little testily, "That's BJ Surhoff at the plate, they're chanting his name, BJ, BJ." The kid pounded his baseball glove in triumph and exclaimed, "I KNEW they weren't sayin' defense! I was RIGHT!"
I'm not generally a fan of small children, and I don't like aiding the grubs, but the kid was right and come on now. Defense? What did he think this was, a football game?
I don't know why, but I just now realized that Trotter's at-bat music is 'Tessie'. I think I had just been wondering why the Fenway sound crew was playing short little snips of the song and it didn't even occur to me that it came up every time Trotter did. It's just... it's 'Tessie'. That's like a player having 'Dirty Water' or 'Sweet Caroline' as their at-bat music... it's something tht they'll get to hear regardless because it's already going to be played in the park at some point anyways.
The clever appropriateness of the musical selections was particularly noticeable today. They've started regularly playing 'Take Me Out' by Franz Ferdinand when an opposing team's pitcher is pulled for a reliever. And tonight, in the middle of the 9th inning they put on that Eminem song... you know the one:
You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime yo.
Because the final opportunity, in the way of final at-bats, came up. Timely music. So very Fenway.
There was more, and I'd relate it, but it's quite late and I'm quite exhausted.
Oh, you know how we always say that the national media is absurdly obsessed with Derek Jeter? We mean it, but sometimes we still run across something so absurd that it demands comment. Tim Kurkjian has taken the time to write one of the single most hilarious articles I have ever read.
"Jeter has a nice face, a rugged face, a handsome face, equal parts black and white, the son of a black father and white mother who had simple rules for him in high school, including being home by 10 p.m. every night and eating his lunch every day. He was taught well, and he has never forgotten his lessons. That's why he is such a good player and team captain. That's why he is the face of baseball."
Was this written in all seriousness? Because, to be honest, I laughed so hard when I read it that tears streamed down my cheeks.
*Couldn't see who any of these guys were... I think the one throwing the sunflower seeds out might have been Tito, but I'm not positive on that. Hard to tell with the bright sun and the fact that everyone was wearing red today.