He taught me how to watch, fight and pray

Marcus McBeth, before the game, looking for someone to give a ball. This and some other photos of mine from yesterday are here at Flickr.

If the only thing to keep Saturday from being absolute sports heaven in New England had to be the Celtics losing, I’m okay with that.

Spent a beautiful (yet grey) day at McCoy Stadium and got to see the PawSox win – which is always nice. Had the opportunity to watch (among others) Michael Bowden, Charlie Zink and Clay Buchholz long toss before the game. Clay looked so relaxed and happy. It’s easier to believe the stories about his hamstring injury being minor after seeing him moving around in person. Most interesting sight of the day had to be watching Bowden and Zink toss to each other. Zink, the knuckleballer, really was just lobbing the ball to Bowden, occasionally warning him that he was going to throw the knuckler. But Bowden seemed to be taking this business quite seriously. He didn’t just “toss” the ball to Zink. Every throw was an actual pitch. He set himself as if standing on the mound, and he let loose with some hard pitches. At one point, Charlie finally called “uncle” and told him he wasn’t going to catch his pitches anymore. (All in good fun. Everyone, even Bowden, seemed to be in quite the good mood Saturday at McCoy.)

As an added attraction to the day, it happened to be Paws’ 10th birthday. Every New England mascot who is anyone was there to celebrate – including Wally (Lefty and Righty were, noticeably, absent!). Although we also wondered where the Alligator family (from Lowell) was. They were missed. (And I need to know how Paws knows Spiderman. He seemed wildly out of place with all the mascots so I’m guessing he’s just a good pal of Paws’.)

The whole team looked really good. Although we only got to see two Dusty Brown at-bats before umpire David Uyl tossed him from the game (at both his at-bats, Dusty took issue with Uyl’s called strikes). Dusty didn’t go quietly. We joked that for the rest of the game he was stalking the parking lot looking for Uyl’s car. Getting to see Daniel Bard make his Pawtucket debut was pretty amazing. He hit 99 at least once (and I snapped a shot to prove it). He did give up a home run but he also struck out two in the ninth. Odd highlight of the day: Some dope in a Teixeira t-shirt sitting in front of us for the last couple of innings. That he purposely wore a Yankees shirt to a PawSox/IronPigs game is bad enough (New York had no horse in this race) but when he started wildly cheering because Bard gave up that home run…well that was when I wanted to push him over the side and on to the field.

Instead, I grabbed the iPhone to see how the Yanks were doing. I didn’t realize they were the Saturday Fox game so the game had just started. As I checked the score, Teixeira was up at bat. I was hoping for a strike out so I could tell the t-shirt dude that his player just struck out, but no such luck. Teixeira hit a two-run home run. I shut down the phone and kept my mouth shut.

I told Kelly about this as we were leaving to get a cab and decided to check the score again. By that time, Wang had already given up 6 runs. So Kelly and I indulged in some major schadenfreude all the way from Pawtucket until we got to Boston by “watching” the game via iPhone.

It doesn’t matter what place the Red Sox are in right now. It’s immaterial that Papi is still struggling (although last night was encouraging!). Watching the Yankees lose 22-4 in the new Yankee Stadium made me happy. Wildly, excruciatingly, happy. I know it’s immature and I don’t care. So there you have it.

PawSox win; Red Sox win; Bruins beat the Canadiens; Indians annihilate the Yankees (at their brand-spanking-new stadium and on national television!). This equals a fabulous day in New England, baby!

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