When to take a curtain call…

Gabejune23(Originally posted on Friday, June 23, 2006 – Bumping this tonight – well, just because!)  I went to four games this week.  Four games, four wins.  I saw a lot of amazing plays and hits.

I saw Big Papi hit a grand slam.

I saw Manny Ramirez hit two homeruns in one game.

Oddly enough, regardless of the fans insistence, neither of these men took a curtain call.  Rightfully so.

(I also saw Josh Beckett throw a perfect game going into the seventh inning – HE certainly deserved the standing ovations he received and he DIDN’T take a well-deserved curtain call.)

Tonight, having replaced Manny in left field, Gabe Kapler came up to bat in the 8th inning and hit a three-run homerun.  The score was already 7-2, so it didn’t matter much for the outcome of the game, but it was huge.

This week was Kapler’s first week back in Fenway since last September.    On Monday, he went 2-4 with an RBI double and scoring a run.  He also made an amazing catch in right field.  Tuesday, he went 1-1 with an rbi single.  Wednesday, he had a bad night.  1 at-bat and he lined out.  Tonight, he had one at-bat and made it count.

"So what?", non-Red Sox fans might ask.  Well, the fact that when he ruptured his Achilles tendon last September in Toronto and was told he might not play for at least a season didn’t stop him from working his butt off during the off-season. He also hustled in Spring Training and happily took his place in Pawtucket while he rehabbed.

Last week he got the call and was brought back to the club for the series with the Braves.  Red Sox Nation went wild.

Gabe won’t be an all-star or a Hall of Famer…but Gabe is and has been a vital piece of the Red Sox puzzle for as long as he’s been here.  His speedy recovery is quite noteworthy…and the reason for the well-deserved curtain call he got tonight.

I was sitting in left field and had a great view of both the homerun and the dugout.  After the homerun, the fans started chanting "We want Gabe!", prompting the guy behind me to ask "they want WHO?".  Just as I responded, "GABE!", my friend Melissa tapped me to look over at the dugout just in time to see Gabe stick his head out, salute the fans and go back in.  When he took his place in left field at the bottom of the inning, he got another standing ovation from those of us in the left field stands and on the Green Monster.

He’s no Papi and he’s no Manny – but HE’S the one who deserved and received the standing ovation tonight – and he’s the one who earned the curtain call.

(He’s also the one whose foundation focuses on stopping domestic violence.)

Welcome back, Gabe!

(more about tonight’s game and the rest of the week in a different post!)

(Photo of Gabe, taken by me tonight!)

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