In spite of the loss, a really good day

Bill Hall and Darnell McDonald greeting the fans yesterday (the rest of my photos from the day are over at my Flickr account - accessible using the button at the top right of the blog!)

Bill Hall and Darnell McDonald greeting the fans yesterday (the rest of my photos from the day are over at my Flickr account - accessible using the button at the top right of the blog!)

First things first:

Lights on the field so the teams can play night games

Artificial turf

The designated hitter

Interleague play

The All Star Game’s outcome having meaning

(Many others)

None of these things were in the original game that was major league baseball but they all are now because things change and MLB needed to grow with the times.  (You’ll notice I didn’t include minorities playing.  To me that goes way beyond MLB having to change with the times and gets into the ugliness of the world back then and is a separate subject for another entry.)  We have the technology available to make sure the correct calls get made and we should be using it.  Don’t give me the “purity of the game” crap or the “human element is what makes it fun” stuff.  I don’t care if it means longer games, what’s more important to me is that it would mean games that were actually called correctly.  Maybe we don’t need robot umpires just yet but instant replay on close calls or maybe more specifically calls that affect the outcome of the game (like, say oh the last out of the game).  If you don’t want to allow it for every play or call make specific rules but expand those rules to the entire game not just home runs.  Why is it such a big deal?  Just use the damn replay and get the call right.

Okay, I’m done for now.

Yesterday was a great day at the park and I have the sunburn to prove it!  Sure it didn’t end the way we wanted but it was still a really good game and a lot of fun to watch.  Since that three-game losing streak that ended with that horrible extra innings game in New York, the Sox have split a series with New York, won each series against Minnesota and Philadelphia, swept Tampa Bay, split with Kansas City and won the series against Oakland.  They won 12 out of those 17 games with half of those wins being on the road.  So, sure, it was a little disappointing that they didn’t sweep the A’s but I’ll take the series win any day.

It was the last day of the Red Sox fan appreciation homestand and the Sox ended it on a high note with “picture day”.  Some of the players, coaches and Tito walked around the field shaking hands, posing for pictures and interacting with the fans.  John Lackey seemed genuinely excited to get to meet folks and talk.  Darnell McDonald, Bill Hall and Adrian Beltre posed with, I’m guessing, every person in the park.  Mike Cameron not only posed for photos but was taking them for folks as well.

A digression:  I wanted a hug from Mike Cameron.  I didn’t know this until I saw him across the field.  There is something genuinely dynamic about his personality and I asked Kelly if it was odd that I didn’t want a picture with him, I just wanted a hug.  He ended up being the last player on the field and security was rushing him away but he was trying to get photos in with those fans who were left.  As he turned to finally walk away Kelly called out to him and asked if “we could get a hug”.  He came bounding over to us and gave me a big hug and I got to wish him well.  It was teenage fun for a few minutes and I really appreciate the Red Sox doing it.

I know many other teams do stuff like this a lot, but the Sox don’t so it was pretty special.  I also got a picture with JD Drew which made for a nice start to the day.  Drew was great.  Engaging the kids in conversation, posing for everyone, talking to folks.  I know I favor him but yesterday proved that favoritism well-placed.  It really was a great way to begin the day and I hope they consider making it an annual event (this is the second year they’ve done such a thing at Fenway).

Wanting to be at another weekday afternoon game, I bought the ticket for yesterday’s game last week and did something I never do – I bought a standing room only ticket.  Cost me $8.  I figured that, at the very least, I’d be in the park and I could worry about where I might possibly sit later.  I ended up sitting on the aisle in the first row of the grandstand behind the visitor’s dugout.  Good seat and, aside from the woman who had a two year-old she let play in the middle of the aisle so people walking the stairs had to step over or around the kid, had a good crowd around me.  By the fifth inning, I was sitting in what was an empty seat in one of the field boxes thanks to a text from Kelly alerting me to the open seating.  It never rained until well after the game, the team was doing it’s best to come back and win, I had a good seat and friends all around the park…a win would have made the day perfect but it was damn well close to perfect anyway.

Now the Sox are on the road and can hopefully build on their good record.  In spite of the absolutely obnoxious and embarrassing promo on NESN calling the Orioles the “doormats of the AL East”, playing the Orioles is always tough for the Sox, so I don’t automatically assume anything, I just hope for a good series!  Sadly,  at 9:30 this morning, the Orioles are scheduled to announce the firing of their manager Dave Trembley.  Along with my hating to see folks lose their jobs, I hate seeing a team lose their manager mid-season, regardless of the state of the club.  This wrinkle will certainly make this weekend in Baltimore a bit more interesting.  Juan Samuel, Baltimore’s third base coach, will be the interim manager.   In the time that Peter Angelos has become the principal owner of the team, the O’s have gone through eight managers.  Samuel will be the 9th in 17 years.  I wonder if it has occurred to Mr. Angelos that maybe the managers aren’t the problem with this team?

I leave you with this:  Do you know what the JD in JD Drew’s name stands for?  If you didn’t, would you pretend you did and yell it at him when you were in field box seats and close enough for him to possibly hear you?  I’ll give you a hint before you Google, it isn’t Jason David.  Hell, his initials aren’t even JD.  I thought this was, relatively speaking, common knowledge among baseball fans.  The guy didn’t even sound like he was being ironic or funny.  That coupled with the guy behind me calling him and Fred Lynn over-rated and soft (“Fred Lynn wouldn’t play if he had a hangnail”) AFTER he complemented them both on how fluidly they run/ran through the outfield,  proved that even sitting in the good seats brings out some, let’s say “interesting” folks.

Ooh, wait, one more JD story!  During the pre-game fan photo thing, some guy kept yelling to Drew “Ruben Amaro is waiting for your call!” He said it at least 3 times.  Made a point of addressing JD and getting his attention so he could make sure JD heard him.  JD responded by telling him that he didn’t know who “Ruben Amaro” was and the guy scoffed (I swear he really scoffed), said “Of course you do, he’s the GM for the Phillies!”, laughed and walked away.  I need it explained to me why you would waste such a unique opportunity to taunt one of the players.

Beat B’More!  (Seems more appropriate than chanting “Beat LA” at a Sox/A’s game.)

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