The regular season is now over. It’s been a cool adventure, and I’m hoping that it ends the same way last year’s adventure did. I’ve been to twelve games this year, starting in Florida, shooting up to Baltimore, shooting even further up to Toronto, and ending in Boston (with, you know, a few more Boston games in between). Next year, I hope to make it out to Chicago and see the two ball parks that city has to offer. It’s been a long road for these Sox. Three different countries to begin the season, countless injuries, Manny-induced turmoil, happy times, sad times… too much for me to recap. I did want to recap, though, if only from the games I went to. I decided that I’m going to recap my top five favorite games that hosted me this year.
5) March 4th, 2008. My first game of the 2008 (pre) season. Daisuke Matsuzaka vs. Phil Dumatrait (Pirates). Just being in Florida in March is a good enough reason to include this game on the list, never mind the fact that we won. It featured Sean Casey’s first hits in a Red Sox uniform, after a particularly wonderful autograph session by the Mayor before the game.
Highlight: A new baseball season is born.
Lowlight: Julio Lugo autographed my baseball without me asking, or wanting, him to as I waited for Sean Casey. Thanks for ruining a perfectly good ball, POS.
4) June 25th, 2008. Boston, MA – Tim Wakefield vs. Randy Johnson (Diamondbacks). There were many reasons I liked this game. One, I had been wanting to see the Diamondbacks (I might have a crush on Stephen Drew…), and I had missed out on an opportunity to get tickets when they went on sale. I ended up getting invited to the game, AND had pretty damn good seats. I got to watch Papelbon strip in the bullpen. Tek stood in front of me the entire night, so I was able to satiate my insane need to take many pictures of Tek. I also got some great pictures of Timlin. The Red Sox won 5-0!
Highlights: Plentiful photo-ops. Great company, great win.
Lowlights: Having many men LOB, Kevin Cash hitting a home run, thus making him think he matters. (It was his first in three years)
3) April 30th, 2008. Boston, MA – Daisuke Matsuzaka vs. Dustin McGowan (Blue Jays). Tight game right down to the wire on a particularly cold April night. I literally had JUST gotten over a severe virus that knocked me out of commission for nearly 2 weeks, but I wasn’t missing this game. Unfortunately, due to the cold and me being so sick, we did have to leave in the 7th inning, but I got home in time to see the bottom of the 9th, a single to bring in the go-ahead run off the bat of my beloved Captain, Jason Andrew Varitek. As I settled my sick little body into bed, Jason drove in the winning run, and I managed to go into a medicine-induced sleep very happily.
Highlights: Tek winning the game, Ortiz’ 7th inning HR (that I missed) to give us the momentary lead.
Lowlights: Having to miss the ending due to awful viruses making me weak and cold.
2) May 31st, 2008. Baltimore, MD. – Jon Lester vs. Garrett Olson. As much as I’ve grown angry with Manny recently, there’s no denying that this was a special game. I had been telling people all around Baltimore in the days leading up to the game that he was going to him #500 when I was there. No one believed me, apparently, except Manny. From the hand of Chad Bradford, to the waiting bat of Manny, instantly into the stands. As soon as it hit the bat, we all knew, we were all on our feet, and we were all screaming our heads off. No one can take away what Manny accomplished in Boston; I just wish Manny would stop ruining our memories of him. Regardless, it was definitely a special moment, and I’m glad if it couldn’t be in Boston that it was in Baltimore. To tease us, Baltimore even began playing “Sweet Caroline” after the ball went out, but stopped and mocked our song. It was all in good fun (wrong inning anyway). So, once more, congratulations on Career Home Run #500, Manny… you cantankerous bastard.
Highlights: Manny’s 500th home run, Ellsbury stealing 3 bases, seeing Kevin Millar, back-to-back HR’s by Petey and Papi, Tek’s 6th inning game-tying single
Lowlights: Ortiz going down with an injury for two months
1) As if there were any question…. May 19th, 2008. Boston, MA. Jon Lester vs. Luke Hotchevar. This was just an awesome night all around. I took my best friend to the game for her birthday, never expecting that it would turn into the best game of the year, by far. Everything about the game was great… we sat in a great group of the most polite drunks you could ever hope to meet at a ball game. We got a free blanket, named Scott William, courtesy of the drunks who were appreciative of our help putting their seats down when their hands were filled with beers. The blanket was named after the guys who were hitting on us the entire game. I didn’t notice until about the 5th that the Royal’s line contained a lot more zeros than would be expected. Four innings is a long time for me as a fan to pray for no hits. I wanted it so bad for Jon that I could taste it. All I kept thinking to myself was, “He might actually do this… oh my God, he might actually do this while I’m here.” We stood for the last two innings, Scott William around our shoulders. The moon was big and bright (if not full, then definitely close to it). Every strike was rewarded by a shriek of happiness. Every ball was reassured with an ‘it’s ok, just throw more strikes.’ The final out was filled with jumping, hugging, laughing, smiling, and immense joy (and I’m sure they were happy on the field, too). We stayed as long as we could justify for a Monday night, watching everyone hug Lester, singing to Dirty Water and Tessie, and just living in the moment. It was an awesome night, and I’ll never stop being proud of Jon for all he’s accomplished.
Highlights: Jon Lester
Lowlights: It was kind of cold. But we had a blanket.
So there it is, my top five games I’ve attended this year. Hopefully by November, I’ll be able to post a top-five post-season games we won, after we hoist a new trophy. I won’t lie, this team frustrated the hell out of me this year. They’ve gotten so far under my skin with their inability to do anything well at the same time (hitting, pitching, fielding) that I’ve gone weekends where I couldn’t stand to look at them. I can’t complain, though, as we’ll be playing in October (specifically tonight). Congratulations on a successful year, 2008 Red Sox. Let’s keep it going.
1 month ago