Tue., Aug. 12 at Fenway
A 10 run 1st inning with two 3-run HR’s by Ortiz.
Are we done ?
Sox Rookie Knuckler savaged. Cannot hold 10 run lead.
You good now ?
1st inning: Sox 10, Rangers 0.
3rd inning: Sox 12, Rangers 2.
5th inning: Sox 14, Rangers 10.
7th inning: Sox 15, Rangers 16.
8th inning: Sox 19, Rangers 16.
Do we need to go further?
Rain threatened at 4 p.m. The Fenway auto-receptionist informed callers “that the possibility of a rain delay or postponement was unknown, and that all ticket office personnel would be ignorant about game status, so hang up the damn phone, watch the road, or get back to work, but stop obsessing. And get here early. Our beer is still value priced at $7.50.”
The drive from Connecticut on the Mass Pike was balmy, except for a shower in Worcester.
Bright sunshine heated the Boston sidewalks on the hopeful walk from O’Leary’s on Beacon Street to Yawkey Way.
Hoping to stay dry on the RF Roof.
Hoping Zink’s in the pink. That Zink no stink.
Hoping the Manny-less Sox will hit, & that the Bullpen will be steady.
Hoping the home-heavy schedule will help propel Boston to the AL East Title.
The Right Field Roof Boxes are fabulous – and old. Installed in 1946, these seats (RF Roof sec. 21 to 43) are located in front of Conigliaro’s Corner, and in between the Budweiser Roof Deck and the Pavilion level seats. Sitting in this section, I saw Dwight Evans crash a bullpen HR on-the-line in 1988. The vantage point is virtually equal to the Monster seats and lower in cost at (just) $50.
Rodolfo, Fenway usher extraordinaire, escaped from Cuba in 1966. Rodolfo is often asked if he is Italian because of his thick, possibly Mediterranean-sounding accent. But he is Cuban, and proud of it. He stands about 5’6”, a solid 180 lbs.. He leads RF Roof ticket holders to their appointed seats and shoos away random gawkers who freeload on the walkway at the back of his turf. He is in charge. He keeps the scene orderly and polite. This 82-year-old fireplug could pass for late-60’s.
Rodolfo started as a Fenway usher in 1974 and never left. He put in over 25 years in the Left Field and Home Plate Grandstand before moving to the Roof a few years ago.
Rodolfo has seen nearly every major event in Sox history over 34 years. That includes Fisk’s Game 6 HR, Dent’s 1978 playoff game HR with the illegal bat, and the 2004 & 2007 World Series.
Harper, Yaz, Fisk, Lynne, Rice, Tiant, Clemens, Boggs, Pedro, Manny, Nomar. The only thing he missed was Yaz’s last game. He chose to vacation in Hawaii instead. Not a bad trade off.
Before the 2004 season, his faith waned. He seriously doubted the Sox would ever win a World Championship.
I can’t blame him.
There is still a hole in my soul made by Aaron Boone. And Little Lee’s words ring in my ears, “Take him out ! Take Pedro out ! What’s Grady doing !?”
Rodolfo didn’t lose faith completely and he didn’t quit his gig. Thus, when 20 or more Fenway employees with 25+ years of service were honored last month, Rodolfo was among them. Lunch, photos, and the presentation of a 2007 Championship ring to every one of these long term Sox staffers.
Rodolfo readily admits the old owners were not as generous. They were cheap. They didn’t care.
Present ownership is so much smarter than the old regime. They know New England’s Soxaholism is limitless and gold-plated. They know guys and gals like Rodolfo are like rubies and sapphires, smaller gems that complement their crown jewel, Fenway Park.
Charlie Zink faced Ian Kinsler, the first opposing batter of his MLB career. 2 knucklers and a change induced a pop fly to Jason Bay, standing at the warning track in left. Michael Young than fouled out to Youk near first.
The 3rd out was recorded as Pedroia stabbed a sharp grounder.
running right and fired to first, beating by half a step the current AL RBI leader, Josh Hamilton.
Then, in the bottom of the first, powered by TWO 3-run HR’s by the Large Father, the Sox established a 10 – 0 lead.
Sox fans across the RF Roofboxes high-fived and screamed as Ump Laz Diaz twirled his pointer, indicating that Papi should touch them all for the second time in the same inning.
Fat dumb and satisfied, the Fenway Faithful prepared to start The Wave, swill more beer, and dance to Dirty Water.
It would be a short night.
Charlie Zink pitched a clean first and a clean fourth. He was constantly in trouble otherwise.
He recorded his first K (swinging) on a 1 and 2 count to Milton Bradley.
He gave up his first hit to Marlon Byrd in the 2nd, a sharp grounder between Pedroia & Youk.
Dustin could not reach it.
The Rangers hit “Z” sharply and with regularity in the 2nd, 3rd and 5th.
There was not much mystery to Charlie. He gave up 7 singles, 3 doubles, and 1 walk while securing
7 outs in those 3 innings. He never made it out of the 5th.
So much for HOPE.
Zink not in the pink. Zink stink.
Then, before you could say “Rudy Seanez is back with his little red gasoline can”, David Aardsma and Manny Del Carmon yielded 7 runs on 7 hits and 1 walk, and a Youkilis error – all in just 1-and-two-thirds-innings of mischief.
Counting the run given up by Javier Lopez while he passed the baton from Zink to Aardsma, fortune was reversed — AT THE END OF 6 COMPLETE, SOX 14 – RANGERS 15 !!!!
The fans who were dancing a jig earlier were now perplexed and deflated.
Fortunately, Okajima came in and shut the Rangers down for 2.1 IP, providing the solid bridge to Pap.
God Bless Okajima. In 14 appearances since June 29, he has yielded one earned run. He’s been rock solid.
He got us through the top of the 8th.
Then in our half of that inning, Ellsbury Walked
Big Bang Bop – Sox 19 – Rangers 16.
Pap in. Rangers score one. Game over.
36 runs tied an AL record for most runs scored in a game, originally set in 1950 between the Sox and the A’s.
Fans from California and Ohio were abundant. Folks are stopping by to take in the Fenway atmosphere as they pass through on business and on premeditated Boston-NYC Baseball pilgrimages.
I continue to see evidence that the Sox are cleaning & painting the infrastructure — perhaps even replacing seats — during road trips. The Firm’s rehabilitative efforts are silent and unrelenting.
I’m getting concerned about Tampa Bay. The Rays have lost Percival, Crawford and Longoria. And they continue to win !
First team to 90 wins has the advantage.