Thursday, October 21, 2004
Pre-game – Since I have been fighting a cold, a stint at the gym and a sauna would help. It did and I was out of there by seven giving me plenty of time to hit City Market for some din before the game. City Market has become my away game/watch at home routine. I record the NESN pre-game show and watch it during the FOX edition. It works out great!
I get an expected call from my buddy, Tim. He says his girlfriend and her friend is coming over as well and is that cool. At first, I did want to screw up any karma from last night’s victory (it was only Tim and I), but WTF I don’t believe in any stinkin’ ghosts, right? I don’t let Tim know that and get him to bring over more of the same beer we had for last night’s game. Good times. Good times.
1st inning – I am cursing at Dave Sveum for sending Damon with the hottest hitter in the world on deck and less than two out. Big Papi promptly hits a dinger and Sveum’s incompetence cost a run. Anyway, a lead is good for D-Lowe’s head.
2nd inning – Brown looks like the disaster I thought and hoped for. Torre goes to Javy and it doesn’t matter cuz Damon takes him out for a grand slamie! I leap up from the recliner to give Jess and Timmy high fives, and then do a D-Lowe fist pump without the crotch grabbing. On the replay, if that ball was an inch lower, Damon fouls the ball off likely hitting himself. Damon finally adjusted, Javy missed a bit and the Sox get four more on the board.
Now, I’m yelling at the tube saying “Keep pounding the strikezone with the sinker. No walks. C’mon D-Lowe.” After two groundball outs, Lowe walks Posada. Up six with two out and he walks a batter! I feel sick to my stomach. It could be the chips, but I doubt it. I am fine after Lofton grounds out.
3rd inning - I am consistent like W. I keep yelling at the box, “Keep pounding the strikezone with the sinker. No walks. C’mon D-Lowe.” After hitting Cairo and the steal, I wonder why the Sox can’t seem to control the number nine hitter. It is freakin’ Miguel Cairo, who basically lost his job to the impressive threesome of Bo Hart, Marlon Anderson and Hector Luna. Jeter promptly drives in Cairo and I am taking deep breaths while yapping the same tune, “Keep pounding the strikezone with the sinker. No walks.” Jess’ friend officially thinks I am a nutcase.
4th inning – Damon goes yard again taking the momentum right back. I love it. On the replay, I can’t believe Damon pulls a ball to the upper deck on a pitch tailing away from him. He is in the “zone.” Javy then walks Bellhorn. He is clearly rattled. Loaiza is next and I am not feeling confident again. He was hitting 95 with the fastball and low 90’s with his cutter at Fenway. Loaiza looked like the Cy Young candidate he was last season. Fortunately that guy did not show up, but he was able to shut down the Sox.
DLowe pitches three one-two-three innings and I am starting to feel this one is in the bag. We start watching Karate Kid between innings on Showtime.
“Look at him! He’s had enough….He can’t even standup.” “I’ll decide when he has had enough.” We flipped to one of the best scenes in K.K. Daniel Son gets his ass kicked by the Kobra Kai guys during a Halloween Dance but gets saved by Mr. Miyagi. It is just a phenomenal scene – a part of movie history.
7th inning – Pedro comes in for D-Lowe. Everyone is questioning this move. I am indifferent. The pen is exhausted. I think it is his normal day to throw. If he goes one inning, he can still start Game 1. Bad thought - $hit. Nine outs to go and the Sox are only up seven. My rule for a game being over is when a team is up by more runs than remaining outs for their opponent.
I thought Tito should have gone with Myers against Matsui. Pedro promptly gives up back-to-back doubles on weak fastballs. “It is only one” I keep saying and then my attention focuses on the fu%king organist spurring the crowd to chant – just another reason why people hate the MFY and their arrogant fans. Lofton hits an RBI single and I start to feel sick. After seeing Petey hit 95 on the gun, I begin to feel better, but concerned even after the inning is over. The momentum has shifted again.
8th inning – Mark Bellhorn greets Flash Gordon with a rocket hitting the rightfield foul pole for a homer. MFY Stadium was so quiet; you could hear the clang the ball made off the pool. The positive energy has swayed back to the good guys. Up six runs with six outs to go – we are almost there.
Timlin and the defensive infielders come in. Minky makes an incredible scoop while nearly doing the splits to get Jeter - Big Play. A-Hole looks terrible and I love it. Where’s my personal chef is out of sink trying to hit everything to Mid-town. Good inning.
9th inning – I can’t believe Torre leaves Gordon in to start the inning. Is there a next game? Where is Rivera? Anyway, it’s not my problem. The Sox play fundamental baseball scoring Nixon on a sacfly increasing the lead to seven. I am starting to feel good and fighting back the thoughts that this one is over. It is only over after three more outs.
Matsui rips one to right. How do you get this guy out? This is not the same guy from last year. It can’t be. I like the Bernie – where has my bat speed gone – against Timlin. Bernie (Thanks for Carl Everett – you bastard!) grounds into a fielder’s choice - yes, I keep grudges. Posada is a dead fastball hitter and I am starting to sweat. A two-run jobbie brings the crowd back into it and things get interesting regardless of the score. Posada pops out and my blood pressure drops to just an abnormally high level. Tito makes the right move bringing in Embree to face Olerud. Torre counters with Sierra. Fine. Pitch him away, away, away. Sierra grounds to Pokey and it’s over!
Post-game – After the high fives, hugs, etc., I throw on some real pants – I wear Old Navy sleep pants during the game – and head out for a beer. After throwing back one and reliving the series, Tim and I head to the streets. Burlington is going nuts or maybe it is just all of the college kids. Sox fans are chanting in the middle of Church Street. The City is in the process of laying down a brick side walk and I am extremely happy to see two cops guarding the piles of bricks on Church Street. Things could have gotten messy. It’s about one and all of the bars are packed with lines reminiscent of a Homecoming weekend. I have never seen Burlington so pumped.
For me, this game was an internal fight. I didn’t want to take even the slightest chance of jinxing the game. I was constantly knocking on the wood of my coffee table to the point where I thought the knuckle of my middle finger was going to bleed. I switched to the four finger knuckle. It was a battle for me trying to stay positive, but not too optimist thereby possibly jinxing the club. I don’t believe in that stuff, really, but it can’t hurt.
It was a great series and victory. I am so glad that I was a very small part of it on Sunday and Monday. The Sox made MLB history by coming back down three games to beat MFY. BUT to make Red Sox history, the club needs FOUR MORE WINS. There better be no “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED” banners on Fenway Park.