One of Matt’s best friends, Dan, just came through Boston while on a 4 week baseball tour around the entire northeast region of the country. He had been to Cooperstown, games, grave sites, and then Boston. He told us that doing the ballpark tour of Fenway was something he would settle for. I told him that there was nothing, and I mean nothing in this world as a baseball fan that could ever top seeing a game at Fenway Park; screw the stadium tour!
As a Mets fan who, from what I understand, basically grew up at Shea Stadium, he was hesitant to agree but we got to work on locating tickets anyway. Matt managed to score some in deep right, just “south” of the bleachers.
Walking out that particular tunnel toward the field, the first thing you see is the press box with Fenway Park emblazoned above it. I still get chills every time I rise out into the aisle to see the entire field and I seriously have to stop for a moment just to take it in.
We were playing Toronto and after being crushed the night before by one of the worst teams in all of MLB this season, we just knew it would be our night. Plus Clay Buchholz was pitching. He was pretty much on fire this season and we couldn’t have been more excited.
First pitch, home run Toronto. Oh no.
It went down hill pretty rapidly from there. So much so that before the end of the first a kid behind us was yelling “who’s warming up?” Ouch. Dan, an outsider to Red Sox Nation, chuckled. The rest of us nodded in agreement as we craned our necks toward the sadly silent bullpen.
Toronto scored four in the first but the Sox wanted to give the fans a reason to hang around so we scored one run a piece in the first and second. Of course Toronto had another home run in the second and the third. By this point someone was screaming “Francona????” and we were off to get another beer.
Clay finally had a 1-2-3 in the fourth and we all rejoiced as we exhaled for the first time all night.
This was immediately followed by Toronto home runs in both the fifth and seventh innings.
So now we were losing 8-2. But we are Sox fans. We do not waver, we never quit believing. After what happened in 2004 we know that anything is possible.
Just as a quick side note for those not in the know …2004 was the biggest comeback ever in MLB for a championship win. We were down by three games to none to the Yankees, projected to go home in game four, and it looked like we would until we tied it in the bottom of the ninth after a stolen base. We won game four on a home run at the bottom of the twelfth and then sopped up the grass of Yankee stadium with their home team over the next three games to win the championship. There are some who forget we beat the Cardinals in a 4-0 sweep to actually win the World Series that fall for the first time in 86 years. To many Sox fans, beating the Yankees like that was the pinnacle of perfection and the dreaded Curse was forever broken regardless of the Series win.
And I digress, back to more present day baseball…
Come the bottom of the 7th, I decided screw it and every single player that came up I screamed & cheered for like we were in the lead. Clapping, screaming, yelling of their name and it didn’t hurt that we were watching Papelbon warm up in the bullpen; Dan was going to see something really cool there. I don’t want to claim it was me that got our section going, which in turn got the whole stadium going but there is something about 36,000 positive vibes that tends to make a team turn around and it only takes one person to start that chain of love.
When the first few notes of I’m Shipping Up to Boston started at the top of the eighth and all those fans jumped to their feet, snapping flashbulbs as Pap took the field, it was like a tornado of awesomeness, love and excitement swirled around the park.
The entire stadium stayed on their feet throughout the entire eighth inning. And then through the entire ninth as well.
The Sox, because they have the best fans in the world behind them, managed to come back and score 5 runs, most of which were with 2 outs in the bottom of the 8th. Yeah that’s right baby! Dan was smiling and screaming for the players and having as great a time as any of us die hard Sox fans.
All of us went crazy when Ellsbury singled in the ninth. We all thought Pedroia hit a homer immediately after that but he was off by about a foot. Ellsbury, in true to form fashion, stole second and they walked Martinez. Now it was two outs at the bottom of the ninth and everyone in Fenway was wearing a rally cap.
A single would tie the game. A double deep down the right field line would win the game. That is if Martinez could hustle. Ellsbury of course would be home before the ball even hit the ground.
All the fans started the familiar chant in unison “YOUUUUUUUK!” as Kevin Youkilis came up to the plate. If anyone could get it done and send us home smiling it was Youk.
Sadly Youk struck out and we went from a scream to uttering “aw” collectively before we fell to silence.
We headed home on the T and talked about how much fun we had even though they lost and how Dan was lucky to have had the full experience from a Red Sox rally to Sweet Caroline to Papelbon pitching. Until last month I had never even seen Pap throw.
Dan said in all of the games he's seen on this trip nothing topped the intense fan love he felt at that Sox game. He said it was the most fun game he had been to yet, hands down.
That’s because we’re wicked pissah.
Otha pissah peeps:
Kate, KC, Bree, Bridgete and Ginger.