Monday, October 15, 2007

Playoff Reflections, Day Fifteen: My trip to the Hub of Red Sox Nation, Rockies/Diamondbacks

Take a look at my playoff gallery here --- Red Sox vs. Indians - ALCS, Game Two....

Greetings everyone! It’s so good to be back home in Maryland. Anyhow, I was up in Boston on Saturday to partake in the whole playoff experience as I caught Game Two of the American League Championship series as the Cleveland Indians took on the Boston Red Sox.

I decided to hop on a quick flight on Airtran from Baltimore-Washington International to Boston, since I really didn’t want to deal with traffic driving through the Northeast and I kind of wanted to be home on Sunday.

That was the smartest decision I could have ever made. I was in Boston in an hour, and on the trip, I met some wonderful people who came to the Washington area to house-hunt and we talked about baseball, life in Washington, and our jobs.

As I got off the plane and was about to head to train station en route to Fenway, the very same people whom I chatted with on the plane gave me a ride to the Green Line so I could see the game.

I greatly appreciated it and we exchanged info so we could keep in touch.

I got to Fenway early – real, real early, but up there the party started even earlier. Unlike the parks in the Washington and Baltimore area, you could feel like everyone was there for the moment and to be part of it all.

Well, after chatting with some fans and walking around taking pictures, I decided to wait in line to get in the park and while standing I see singer James Taylor getting into park ushered by Red Sox security.

Even though I am only 29, I recognized him immediately, said hello and he let me snap a quick picture of him.

We were allowed in the park at 6:15 or so and instantly went to the Indians dugout and started snapping away. What was amazing is that there was just a throng of media and photographers there for the game, thus you knew this was no ordinary ballgame. I got C.C. Sabathia to autograph a ball for me, and spoke a few moments with former Oriole Chris Gomez.

It was wonderful to be up that close for batting practice and hoping around to take pictures. Well, if you ever get to chance to see a ballgame at Fenway Park – do it.

As batting practice ended, I went to my seat along the first base grandstand and took it all in; however, there was one problem – the seat. Realize, I am 6’4” and basically I sat on a bench and the seats are separated by steel. Considering, I’d probably need a chiropractor by the time the game was over, I just decided to watch the from the Standing Room areas of the ballpark.

From the first inning to the eleventh (Ian from Sox and Dawgs would care not to talk about it), the game was awesome to take in. I am not a fan of either team, but it was a treat to see the two teams face off with one another and see the passion that Sox fans had towards the team.

It was cool to David Ortiz, Manny, and Mike Lowell rained down with love and desire from the Sox fans (very much missing here in the DC/Baltimore area). The game was a see-saw affair and with the long-ball abound.

I took a good walk around the ballpark and took pictures from every conceivable angle.

Fenway may be old and crackling; however, it is a baseball cathedral.

In the end, it was pathetic to see the Red Sox bullpen blow it to the Indians, but it was a well fought-out game, and it evened up the series. Fans of the Sox went home a little sad, but more frustrated than anything and it was best illustrated by numerous F-bombs that included reliever Eric Gagne’s name in a sentence.

I was going to get a hotel and get some rest; however, the game ended near 2 in the morning and my flight was at 6:30, so I just went straight to Logan airport and slept there for a few hours.

I slept on the flight home, landed back in Baltimore a little after 8 in the morning, and was home in time for church.

After service, I slept all day Sunday.

Baseball, what a game.

Too bad it will probably be my last baseball excursion of the year; alas, what a year it has been.


Well, if you are fan of the Diamondbacks, I have some bad news – your series and playoff experience is probably over.

After watching Eric Byrnes basically say the team is confident and whatever else in a press conference, they decided to go to play in chilly Denver and do absolutely nothing.

Colorado beat Arizona, 4-1, last night and hold a 3-0 edge in the NLCS. Pitcher Josh Fogg kept the snakes quiet, and Rockie catcher Yorvit Torrealba hit a tiebreaking three-run homer and was supplanted by Matt Holliday’s solo shot earlier.

Right now, it looks like the Rockies are a team of destiny, and much like the Tigers last year, it looks like they are a mission and the only thing that could stop them is if they decide to play lazy. The Diamondbacks, for all their success this season are not scoring runs nor are making the best of their opportunities.

Colorado will look to end everything tonight.


Meanwhile, in the American League, there’s now a series going on.

The Red Sox and Indians are tied 1-1, after Cleveland basically took advantage of a Boston bullpen that was less than effective in the 11th inning of Game Two.

Former Red Sox outfielder, Trot Nixon, now a reserve player on the Indians hit a tie-breaking single in the 11th inning broke a 6-6 tie, and then the Indians added six more runs topped off by a Franklin Gutierrez three-run homer.

Until the 11th inning, it was a see-saw affair dominated by the long-ball and timely hitting on both sides of the coin. Neither starters Curt Schilling nor Fausto Carmona effective; however, both bullpen aided their starters and the big bats kept everyone in the game.

Manny Ramirez hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning to break the all-time postseason home run record and David Ortiz had reached base in ten straight playoff games, also a record.

The series continues tonight, as Jake Westbrook faces Daisuke Matzusaka. I think this game will feature a lot of runs, as both pitchers have not been sharp at all as of late.

When it comes down to it, this series will come down to pitching, especially late in the game and as well, the series.

Be ready for fireworks!

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