I’ve been wracking my brains lately for a topic for this blog. Even yesterday, as I watched from the bleachers while the Red Sox thumped the living crap out of the Mariners at their home opener, I was thinking to myself, “what can I write about?” It was only just now, as I sat here thinking yet again, that it occurred to me that I could write about…going to Opening Day!
First, some background. For her birthday, my father got my mother tickets to the first five games of the Red Sox season to ensure they got to see Daisuke Matsuzaka throw his very first official pitch in Fenway Park. But since Dice-K wasn’t going to be pitching the home opener, they were so incredibly generous as to hand the tickets off to DG (my girlfriend) and me.
In what I can only call a fit of insanity, we initially thought we’d drive in and park somewhere, but I decided I’d rather put off the inevitable apoplexy and just take the Green Line. We somehow managed to get there a half-hour before the game started, while they were announcing the teams. This was followed by a rousing rendition of “America the Beautiful,” sung by that fighter pilot who died in Independence Day. DG and I were scratching our heads as to why there was no national anthem, but whatever, I guess. Some jets flew overhead at the end of the song, which was cool, though I did wonder if that came out of taxpayer money. When did I become that guy?
Next up was a tribute to the 1967 Red Sox, which included a khakis-clad Yaz making a somewhat ambiguous appearance alongside his old teammates. They started out by naming the players who had passed away; DG thought that was going to be the ceremony until one of them actually walked out onto the field. My father called me ahead of time to make sure I appreciated the fact that this was the team that made him love the Red Sox. So I appreciated, hard. DG can back me up on this.
As dictated in the contract I signed to join the Idiots’ Club, I forgot to bring a camera, so the only photos are two crappy cell phone pics. DG is blinking in the one with both of us, so I’ve been forbidden to show it. Well, I haven’t actually asked her, I’m just assuming. Here’s the other one, so you can at least see what our view was like:
Oh, and as for the game—things went well for the Red Sox, obviously. The Mariners’ Jeff Weaver had thrown close to forty pitches by the end of the first(!) inning. It only got worse for him in the second inning, and he was gone by the third. According to his MLB card, Weaver’s ERA after these, his first and only two innings so far this season, is 31.50. Beckett, meanwhile, was incredible—I don’t think he reached Weaver’s final pitch count until the fifth or sixth inning.
The offense shelled Weaver, getting four runs in the first inning on their way to a 14-3 victory (which would have been 14-1 but for the two runs on Timlin’s watch in the ninth). Manny was out of the game by the sixth or so and even Ortiz, who only has to hit the ball and jog around the bases, was out by the eighth. By the ninth, half the starting line-up had been subbed. As DG pointed out, we got to see pretty much every player, except for the pitchers.
I think some of the loudest cheering we heard was whenever the sun deigned to break through the clouds for a moment, raising the temperature by at least fifteen degrees. By the ninth inning the bleachers were soaked with lite beer and some women in front of us were grinding to the pumped-in stadium rock. It was a good time.
It might not have been the most suspenseful game, but if one has to see a blowout it’s obviously a lot more enjoyable when your team is the one doing the…um, winning.
P.S. In terms of food, we bought a Fenway frank, a burger, a bucket of fries, a bucket of popcorn, a bag of Crackerjack and two sodas over the course of the game. Total spent: $28. Concessional price gouging—an American baseball tradition!