Does anybody watch the game anymore? A story from Fenway Park.
TORRINGTON: Take an Orioles and Met fan, throw them into the mix of crazies at Fenway Park and no matter how bad their own lot is in the baseball world, it equals a good day/night.
A playoff game is a playoff game. Everything is magnified this time of the year.
The crowd is the same size since the Red Sox sell out almost every game but the energy and electricity in the air (with a healthy dose of adult beverages) cannot be duplicated from your couch.
The trip was hatched a week earlier after I had taken in the Mets Hall of Fame induction of catcher Mike Piazza.
Piazza was a key cog in my wife becoming a baseball fan back in the mid-90’s when we first got married.
Deb was never much into sports before that but after witnessing the atmosphere of a great game at Shea (yeah, we had great games once) she figured out this could be kinda cool.
That and the fact that she was married to a sports writer and was kind enough to tolerate my passion.
We had attended just one playoff game before this one, Deb and I.
It was in 2008 when the Mets played the Dodgers in the NLDS and it marked the only time I didn’t move from my seat the entire three hours.
Sipping a half a cup of soda the entire game firmly planted at the edge of my seat, I felt that energy that literally shook the old girl (Shea, not Deb) with the chants of “Jose, Jose, Jose Jose,” for then shortstop Jose Reyes.
Had a Manchester United soccer feel to it and the Mets beat LA in a game that saw Paul LaDuca tag out two runners at the plate on the same play.
Shea used to hold 56,000 plus so the fact that we ended up parked near the Grand Central Parkway worked in our favor as we had a clear path to the highway and the ride home.
On Saturday, we eliminated the car portion of the program at the ball park, deciding to take the train in from Riverside, outside Newton, Ma.
Mr. Wilson, the rock star Jonathan, Mrs. Wilson and I boarded the mass transit transport and made our way to a bustling and vibrant area around Fenway.
Have always loved how the Sox close down Yawkey Way and make it one big party area for eating, drinking and oh yeah, lots of shopping.
I had gotten tickets off Stub-Hub in the bleachers, section 38, 17 rows up in the first two seats.
Seats on the end are usually good for easy enter and egress moments, so I try and get them.
At Citi Field on Sunday, that end of aisle theory worked fine, not so on Saturday at the beer garden that is the bleachers.
A beer vendor in the bleachers would need to have a never ending supply of the stuff so those in the outfield must fend for themselves and head down to the concession stand.
And head down they did. By the hundreds, about non-stop, about as annoying as Rick and I (who were there to actually watch a baseball game) could have imagined.
There used to be an unwritten rule in baseball watching that said you go to the restroom or get something to eat during the middle of an inning.
No, not now. Sometimes you wonder if folks are there to drink like it’s their first time or watch a game.
Don’t get me started on the kids trying to start a wave during the second inning of a playoff game.
Waves are meant for ant Met game played after May 1, when we are usually out of contention or in Los Angeles where they never watch the game anyway.
The game (what we could see or figure something good happened based on the crowd reaction) was as good as the locals could have hoped for.
Big Papi launches a pair of long balls, one he watches for about t 10 minutes, and the Sox go up 2-0 in their best of five series with the Rays.
Jonathan was a happy camper, being a loyal Sox fan and all.
The energy was amazing, making fun of Ray’s right fielder Will Myers (who had backed away from a catchable ball in game one) was non-stop.
The standing ovation he got from making a routine catch was comical.
If your last name was Myers and you were in the crowd, you must have appreciated all those fine folks calling your name. Good for the spirit.
It was all too fitting that of course Myers came up in the top of the ninth with two outs and grounded hard to first for the final out.
Of course he did.
When the game ended, we made our way down the side streets of Boston back to the train or trolley as one of the folks ushering the herd called it.
Yeah, the ride back was not one for the books unless one enjoys being sandwiched in a two-car unit that should have fit maybe 25 in each car and seemed to have about 10,000 in each.
Up close and personal on the way back to the car was the rule. Had to laugh at the nice 10-car train sitting empty in a nearby lot. What do you say boy’s, maybe throw a big unit at the huge crowds leaving the ball game?
While we are at it (complaining that is) can you have enough sausage and peppers on hand past the sixth inning?
Both Wilson boys got turned away. It’s a playoff game with a packed house and you want to make money. Stock up on the bratwurst!
All in all, a good night with a little adventure sprinkled in. Wouldn’t have it any other way.
I think Ortiz just now left the batter’s box.
Trot on big fellow. Only nine wins to go.