Red Sox Chick/Toeing the Rubber

Because you always need a backup plan

Touch the world and make it better

Took this last night...surprised it came out as good as it did considering the yelling and the jumping I was doing...

Took this last night. Surprised it came out as good as it did considering the yelling and the jumping I was doing.

Last night was one of those times when you’re positive the game will stay in your mind for all the wrong reasons.  Nine stolen bases.  NINE.  I lost count of how many times I put my hand to my mouth and just shook my head.

But the fates had more surprises in store for us and we stuck it out so we got to enjoy them in person.

First off, I have to mention the crowd.  Not sure what you could or couldn’t hear on NESN (or what we were missing sitting in the grandstand) but I loved the crowd last night.  KellyO (who I will forever have to thank for inviting me to the game) noted that it is school vacation week and that there were a lot of kids in the crowd.  That might explain the overall feeling of acceptance and support coming from the stands last night.  It wasn’t the hostile, booing crowd of Monday afternoon.  These people were there to be entertained and seemed to understand that the entertainment might not end the way they  hoped – but they were in for the duration.  Lots of Papi* shirts, lots of “Let’s go Red Sox!” and “Here we go Red Sox” chants.  No beach balls out my way.  No wave passing me by.  Just fans holding out hope that nine steals wouldn’t lead to nine runs and take the team out of the game too early on.  When it was over I turned to Kelly and said “This crowd earned this win!” and they did.  I just hope the little girl in front of us who didn’t stop cheering the entire game got to see the way it ended live (she and her mother left the seats in the 9th – I was hoping they spied better seats that were open and went to them but I worry it was to make sure they could make a train or beat the traffic).

I’d be a giant liar if I didn’t tell you watching the Rangers steal nine bases (including two by Vlad Guerrero) wasn’t one of the most painful experiences I’ve had at Fenway.  Seeing it unfold made me wonder if I was genuinely watching what the Red Sox would be for this season.  Mind you, I was moving toward acceptance.  If this is our fate, to root for a team that will lose, then I’m dealing with it.  But then something happened that many didn’t see coming:  Tito put Mike Lowell in to pinch-hit for Big Papi and the place went crazy.  The fans cheered more loudly than they had in a long time.  I’d love to know if Papi heard those cheers and thought they were cheering because he wasn’t going to hit or if he thought they were just cheering to see Mike Lowell in the game.  Any glimmer of hope, you know?  I have mixed feelings about it…at some point you have to say, “We need to put guys in the game we think have a good chance of helping us win”.  If Papi isn’t that guy right now, it took a lot for Tito to acknowledge that.  I don’t want to see Papi disrespected EVER or made to feel bad but I also would like the team to start winning.  (Lowell walked in that pinch appearance.  The way the fans reacted you would have thought he hit a triple.)

Given the amount of messages I got and from the reactions of folks around us, it’s quite possible that Kelly and I were the only two fans in the park who knew who Darnell McDonald was.  My favorite text messages of the night came from my friend Dori who was sitting in another part of the park.  Just after McDonald was announced as a pinch-hitter and mere seconds before he hit his two-run home run, she sent me a message that read “WTF?  That’s WHO?” and followed it up with “I love you new guy!”.  🙂

It’s good to see something like this happen to a guy who’s toiled in baseball for 12 years with only a few opportunities in the bigs.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, McDonald is the first Red Sox player to end a game with an RBI hit in his debut with the team since RBIs were first kept as a stat in 1920.

And by clocking a home run in his first plate appearance, McDonald became the first Boston hitter to do that since Orlando Cabrera on Aug. 1, 2004.

“He’s the microwave — instant offense,” beamed Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia. “There’s no more Vinnie Johnson. Darnell McDonald. He’s the Microwave, OK?”

You bet, Dustin. Okay by me.

The team knows that this will mean very little if they don’t continue to make adjustments and capitalize on the good of last night.  It was an ugly came until the late innings and while we SHOULD be basking in the glow, it’s tough to not remember that the team still has a long way to go.

I took  many photos but Kelly O’Connor really documented the walk off beautifully.  Check out her handiwork here and take in the enjoyment of a fabulous win!

*Papi was neither involved in the walk-off celebration nor was he in the clubhouse after the game (I feel it important to note that he greeted Mike Lowell when he came in after having pinch-hit/walked for him).  While I understand that utter frustration he must be going through right now and I hurt for him, it makes me sad that he wasn’t around to witness one of the few genuinely good moments this team has had so far this season.

And, finally, if you follow me anywhere online (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube) you’ve already seen this, but I can’t get enough of it so I’m posting it again!  My view (thanks to my Flip video cam and seats from KellyO!) of the walk-off last night:

We get Beckett on the mound tonight (and Mike Lowell at DH) and another opportunity to make the Fenway Faithful happy.  We’ll be live chatting here tonight so join us at 7pm for the fun!

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April 21, 2010 - Posted by | 2010 | , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. Thanks for the Flip video, Cyn. It’s more wondrous than any of the NESN material–’cause it’s a true fan’s view. Love that dirty water. Onward, Sox!

    Comment by Elaine Apthorp | April 21, 2010 | Reply

  2. Great video! I went to the game, too. It ended up being a lot of fun!

    Comment by Kristen | April 21, 2010 | Reply

  3. McDonald’s been a frequent McCoy visitor, so I’ve seen a lot of him over the past few years. He was one of the highlights of my trip to Rochester, too.

    Other highlight: Garrett Jones. YES.

    I got pretty emotional watching his game-ending celebration.

    Comment by JS | April 22, 2010 | Reply


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