Took in the Sox this past week, spending Labor Day night out with my sexy Webmaster watching the 10-1 lead in the fifth inning disappear before the Sox hung on for the 13-10 victory. With the kids no doubt driving my Dad & Mom nuts as they got stuck with them for the night, it got me thinking first to the first time I took my son to the Sox and we got to watch an absolutely dynamite performance by Curt Schilling in 2004 (you know, back when he was an ace, not just a blowhard) and an inside-the-park home run and a Monster shot by the beloved Pokey Reese. Then I thought, what about my first trip to Fenway?
It was late September 1982 and the Sox were going nowhere. The Milwaukee Brewers were in the American League and were kicking ass and taking names. They were managed by Harvey Kuenn and were nicknamed Harvey’s Wallbangers for their prodigious slugging power (Cecil Cooper, Paul Molitor, Robin Yount, Storming Gorman Thomas, Ted Simmons, and Ben Oglivie). Soon on their way to a showdown with my beloved St. Louis Cardinals (I was a huge Tommy Herr fan. I know, it sounds strange, but I just loved Whitey Herzog and his power-less speed-driven teams), Milwaukee put the finishing touches on their season beating the Sox kind of handily.
While I would need to dig through the attic to find out which of the three game set it was, I vividly remember driving into Boston with my Dad (no one else in the family got to go to the game), he had got the tickets from another teacher at Brockton High. Second, he found on street parking at a broken meter. It did not mean much to me, an eight year-old who had never been in the city, but it was a huge deal to my Dad. Most importantly, I somehow whined my way into getting one of those little souvenir bats they still sell at the ball parks. In fact, I still have it and have since passed it on to my little buddy.
Finally, the most entertaining part was as we sat in the grandstands way behind third base, the large guy seated in front of us spent the first couple innings bitching and moaning incessantly about the ongoing NFL strike. Damned players this, and *@&% owners that, and they were all @#&&^#)@s! Finally, my Dad tapped the guy on the shoulder and asked him to cease the profanities in front of his before he knocked him on his fat ass. I vividly remember thinking (but being smart enough not to say out loud): Geez, I hear that at home on a daily basis!
I wish I remembered more of that day, but in the past 25 years my memory just cannot lock on to the details. I remember my brother was jealous, and I was upset my sisters were not more jealous. Yaz was still on the team, Carney Lansford was there, also there was a rookie call-up named Wade Boggs. The Rem-Dawg was a lowly no-hit second baseman, Dewey was in right field, the graceful Gary Miller in center, and Glenn Hoffman at shortstop. I remember seeing the green monster for the first time was a HUGE deal, and I also remember that Jim Rice was the one player I desperately wanted to see hit.
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LABOR OR LOVE:
Couple of notes from the aforementioned foray into Fenway
Daisuke Matsuzaka is only going to get better and better as he continues to adapt to pitching in the big leagues (as compared to AAA, Japan, or the National League). He had a rough first inning, was lights out for the second through fifth, and then was dinked and dunked out of the game before Javier Lopez came in to sprinkle butane on the fire. I kept thinking that he needed to get a little more aggressive, challenge the hitters a bit more, and go for the throat.
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I totally rocked the Canadian National Anthem. Despite my wife kicking me the entire time and trying to hide under her seat, I brought it and brought it hard. Even got a high-five from the Canuck sitting next to us. I love the Canadian National Anthem, hell, it even beats the French National Anthem as far as great Anthems.
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His stat line may not have read it, but Coco Crisp was knocking the ball around. He hit EVERYTHING hard.
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Seriously, when is Troy Glaus going to get the chance to play 80 games at Fenway? That man was built to hit here.
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What is the deal with the J.D. Drew hatred in Fenway? Why does Jason Varitek get a freaking standing ovation when he strikes out (Well, Marge, he certainly tried his best), and Drew hits a hard ground ball that does not find a hole and he is booed mercilessly? These guys have the same stats, for goodness sake, and everyone talks about how Varitek is bouncing back and Drew is a bum. I know, I know, but Varitek does not make much less than Drew. I know, I know, it is perception and WEEIdiots for the most part, but I thought Boston was supposed to be an intelligent sports town. I made my opinions clear pretty loudly (I had some of the wonderful $7 beer—that is 7 PBRs at the Central), but no one took me up on my argument. Later I noticed the kid a row in front had a Drew jersey on and was probably thanking God people like me exist. Anyway, Drew will bounce-back, I have no doubt about it. I just hope he has a huge October and shuts up some of these bozos.
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