The Final Countdown

Mike Lowell looks pleased while Yunel Escobar seems to glare at him. One of the shots I took yesterday.

Mike Lowell looks pleased while Yunel Escobar* seems to glare at him. One of the shots I took yesterday.

It never fails.  The better the seat I’m in, the less photos I’m compelled to take.  Saturday night I was fortunate enough to be invited to sit in one of the luxury boxes.  Not a prime spot for taking photos of the game but, I won’t lie, my favorite spot to watch the game.   We were on the first base and the view of the entire park is spectacular.  Yesterday, I was invited to the game and didn’t know where we were sitting until I got there.  First row on the visitor’s dugout.  Really fabulous seats with the wonderful view of Jose Bautista casually giving out baseballs to the fans.  The Blue Jays on the whole were very generous to the kids yesterday.  Many went home clasping a baseball.  It was a great weekend to watch baseball and I’m very grateful for the invites.  I take pictures at the park mostly for me, so I can look back on them and remember the games.  Once in a while I’ll post a photo or two but I don’t go to the games focused on getting photos (and if Kelly O’Connor and I are at the same games, I know she’ll get all the good shots anyway!), I get them just to have (if that makes any sense).

So I only have a handful of photos from the weekend but I have a ton of memories.  I saw a loss (and had a perfect view of poor Ryan Kalish’s long walk back to the dugout on Saturday night), I saw a win (with a view of Josh Reddick making himself comfortable on the dugout stairs), and I had a wonderful time.  While I haven’t been to nearly as many games this year as I usually go to, I know I’ve still been to many more than a lot of people get the opportunity to see in person…and there are still more to come.  The plan is to be at Fenway on Tuesday and Wednesday this week and then back again for the last two games of the season.  Six games in less than a month’s time is more than any average fan could ask for and I’m thankful I’ve been given these opportunities.

While the focus this weekend was on digging the view and seeing how the other half lives, tomorrow begins my true Goodbye to Fenway tour.   I saw Beckett and Lester pitch this weekend.  I get Buchholz and Lackey this week.  Throw in a Daisuke start before the end of the year and I’ll have seen them all one last time.  I’m hoping for a Tim Wakefield sighting at some point as well.  Seeing Mike Lowell standing on third yesterday (as a baserunner) made me truly realize it was one of the last times I’ll see him play.  Regardless of what is going on during that last Sunday game, the idea that after it Mike Lowell won’t be playing baseball again tears at my soul a bit.

Yesterday was a great day for baseball.  The weather was perfect, the park was full of kids and everyone seemed happy, regardless of the standings.  The day started watching Victor Martinez’ and David Ortiz’ sons, in full uniform, playing ball with Victor.  It then moved toward Victor playing with, seemingly, every kid that was in the dugout (ending in a dogpile on Victor).  Three of the bullpen pitchers (including Michael Bowden) signed many autographs out in right field and then the crowd got a treat when Daisuke jogged over and started signing.  A group of girls who had been right up front, all wearing their Daisuke t-shirts and jerseys, started screaming like mad when he approached.  KellyO likened it to Beatlemania and she hit it spot on.  We were worried that security (which seemed to continually be reminding Daisuke that he needed to step it up) would force Daisuke past the girls before they could get their autographs but he was having none of it.  Kelly told me that she has seen him sign for ridiculously long amounts of time and this time seemed to be no different.  As we walked away (having only wanted to be sure the girls got to meet him, not looking for autographs ourselves) we decided that the events of the day to that point had made the day a “win” regardless of what happened in the game.  Thankfully, the day just kept getting better!

Not every day at the park are as good as yesterday was, but knowing that there are days to be had like we had yesterday is what keeps me always wanting to get back to Fenway as soon as I can.  Knowing that, in a few weeks, I won’t be able to hit up the park for a game for a few months has me a bit melancholy on this gorgeous day.

*Did you know that Escobar pronounces his first name “Janelle”?  I’ve never heard it pronounced like that until I heard Carl Beane saying it this weekend.  See?  Going to the ballpark can be educational too!

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