The flag covers the Green Monster as the national anthem is played before the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
5 Total Updates since April 20, 2012
about 1 year ago Update 0 comments
There was pomp. There was circumstance. There was Luis Tiant, Dwight Evans, and Bobby Doerr. It was magical. And the Red Sox spoiled it by giving up their 593rd, 594th, 595th, 596th, and 597th home runs of the season. Wait, no, week. Wait, no, I was right the first time. That's the season total.
Or maybe I just pulled a random number out of the air, but it certainly feels like the Red Sox are giving up home runs at an historic pace. It's probably not fair to lump the 2011 Red Sox in with this year team just yet, but Red Sox fans have watched some truly miserable pitching over the last month-plus. Today's victim was Clay Buchholz, who gave up five solo home runs, as the New York Yankees defeated the Red Sox 6-2.
The five solo home runs weren't a record -- though the Red Sox set the record for most solo homers in a game at Fenway Park in 1977 -- nor was a career-worst performance by Buchholz, who allowed five home runs in a 2009 game against the Blue Jays. But it was still another lackluster starting-pitching performance for a team that seems to get them a lot these days.
If there's a great way to highlight Fenway Park, though, it's with balls sailing over the Green Monster, which is almost certainly the greatest architectural quirk in any pro sports stadium. It's like a lone arena having a three-point triangle, or a circular end zone that stretches thirty feet straight back in just one football stadium. It's unique, and classic and beautiful. And the Yankees hit baseballs over it all day. Nick Swisher, Alex Rodriguez, and Russell Martin all hit one, while Eric Chavez hit two, his first multi-homer game since 2006.
Ivan Nova started the game for the Yankees, and he continued his intriguing stretch of missing bats, striking out five hitters in six innings of work, allowing two runs. Nova's sinker was already great, but his strikeout rates in the minors were always pretty blah. If he can really keep striking people out, the Yankees might have something special. They're a franchise that could really use a break like that, you know?
A franchise that could actually use a break: the Red Sox. They moved to 4-9 after ending last season 7-20, and just about all of their problems have had to do with their pitching. It was a grand celebration for the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park, but the Yankees were jerks and spoiled everything. Clay Buchholz didn't help.
about 1 year ago Update 4 comments
Names that aren't on the list: Roger Clemens, Wade Boggs, and Curt Schilling. This is ostensibly because they had more pressing commitments -- it's not like a baseball park's birthday is the professional equivalent of your daughter's wedding, or something -- but it was still surprising to see those names omitted. These players did show up, though:
Because when you think Red Sox ...
But it was actually pretty cool to see guys like that, who played parts of just one season with the Red Sox, think it was important/interesting enough to go back to Fenway one last time. Several of the ex-players were holding up camera phones, recording the moment that they stepped back on the Fenway field for what was likely the last time.
And it was especially cool to see guys like Sam Horn, Rico Petrocelli, and Rich Gedman get their due -- guys who are very much a part of Red Sox history, but who don't get the same attention that Hall of Famers like Carlton Fisk, Jim Rice, or Carl Yastrzemski do.
about 1 year ago Update 0 comments
As you're probably aware, Friday - that's today! - is the 100th anniversary of the first game at Fenway Park. The Red Sox are to play the Yankees, and before the proceedings, there were other proceedings. Ceremonious proceedings. In front of a packed house, the Red Sox wheeled out and sometimes literally wheeled out pretty much every player to ever wear a Red Sox uniform. There was Oil Can Boyd. There was Johnny Pesky. There was Izzy Alcantara. There was Lou Merloni. With rare exception, if there's a guy you associate with the Red Sox in your head, he was present in Fenway Friday afternoon.
By and large, the pre-game ceremony was touching and well conducted. Wrote Peter Abraham:
The ceremony is over. How it could have been better, I'm not sure. If you're a fan of baseball, you had to enjoy that.
Twitter agreed. I don't follow everybody on Twitter, but the consensus from what I saw was "the Red Sox really know how to do this."
But when the ceremony was over, the ceremony was not over. There was still the matter of the toast. The potentially record-breaking toast.
Friday's ceremonies will also include a toast to Fenway Park. When fans arrive at their seats, they will find a grape juice drink and cups beneath their seats or in cup holders. The crowd will be invited to participate in the toast at the end of the pre-game ceremonies, in an attempt to set a world record for the largest toast in a single venue.
The toast was led by World Series winners Pedro Martinez and Kevin Millar. I wrote "colorful" up there instead of "bad" because I wanted to be polite, but the toast was bad. Here is a representative image:
I don't know if Pedro and Millar were blackout drunk, but they sounded like they were blackout drunk. After leading the toast from on top of the dugout, they started talking about Karim Garcia. Then they kept talking about Karim Garcia, and then in the line of the day, Millar said "I think we're done, this is awkward now."
The toast captured the spirit of the 2004 Boston Red Sox, because that really was a team full of idiots, but I can think of more dignified ways to end what was otherwise a dignified ceremony. If you're trying to tug at people's heartstrings, and if you're trying to give people an experience they'll never forget, I don't know why you'd hand a microphone to Kevin Millar. I don't know why you'd hand a microphone to Kevin Millar in any circumstance, unless you're holding a microphone with a spider on it, and you're standing by Kevin Millar.
about 1 year ago Article 24 commentsContinue
about 1 year ago Update 0 comments
On April 15, 1912, the RMS Titanic sank in the north Atlantic Ocean.
Five days later, Fenway Park in Boston opened for business. The two events are not thought to be related.
Friday, April 20, 2012, is thus the 100th anniversary of the first game at Fenway Park, which was between the Red Sox and New York Yankees (the Red Sox won 5-2). The same two teams will face each other Friday afternoon, beginning at 3 p.m. ET, the same time they played on the first Fenway day.
An hour before that, the Red Sox will have a 100th anniversary ceremony, which will include John Williams conducting the Boston Pops in “Fanfare For Fenway”, many living former Red Sox players, and:
… a toast to Fenway Park. When fans arrive at their seats, they will find a grape juice drink and cups beneath their seats or in cup holders. The crowd will be invited to participate in the toast at the end of the pre-game ceremonies, in an attempt to set a world record for the largest toast in a single venue.
And then they’ll play the Yankees. With Boston off to a 4-8 start, that might even be more important to Red Sox Nation.