Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Welcome Back, Manny: Friday Night at Fenway

It's tempting to write this entire blog post about Manny. I adore Manny, and that's never been a secret, but I will try to limit my Manny love... just a little. Seeing Manny back in Fenway was fantastic for me. I want to be able to say that fans did right by him, and gave him the ovation he deserved, but it was honestly mixed. I was in a section with Sox and Dodgers fans alike, all wearing Ramirez shirts, and we had a pretty good "Man-ny!" chant going a few times. Just like old times. Manny didn't react to the crowd, mostly because, well, he had a job to do and the only time he was on the field was to hit. Depending on where you were in the park, you heard either predominant boos or cheers. I heard cheers. I know other people who heard boos. No matter where you sat, though, it was a mix, and that made me sad. I really thought that there would be more cheers. I guess people really don't like Manny. He'll always have my love, though. Always.

Don't care. Still love the man. And yeah, I clapped my hands off when he got a base hit in the 6th. Again, I'm shameless in my love for him, so I don't care. A few anti-Manny folks around me didn't appreciate me clapping for him, but I didn't appreciate them booing him, so we're even. Manny, for his part, looked unaffected. I'm sure he was focused, and trying to drown out the negativity around him. His first two at-bats, he swung at the first pitch and got nothing. He went 1 for five for the day, but in that one hit, you got to see him on base with Youk, and both of them seemed pretty happy. If his team mates can forgive his bad behavior, why can't we? After all, their jobs were affected by his antics. Ours weren't. But, I'm one to talk. I guess being a Manny-apologist doesn't allow me to see the other side of the argument. Actually, I don't want to see it. I'm happy in my blind Manny adoration. Ok... enough about Manny for now... there was more to this game than number 99.

On the Sox side of the field, we got to witness the major league debut of 22 year-old Felix Doubront. I'll admit, aside from the name, I didn't know anything about him other than the fact that he was left handed. Felix, who ultimately got the win, looked good. He had two clean innings to start the game, hit a rough patch in the 3rd, allowing three runs to tie it, then he was able to settle down for the fourth and fifth. After the Sox put together a 7-run bottom of the fifth, I think Felix came back nervous. He immediately allowed 2 runs and two additional baserunners before recording an out. Tito pulled him, and he left the field to a standing ovation - one that he very much deserved. It was a great debut for a kid that looks to have quite a bit of promise.

Atchinson came in with two-on, no-outs in the sixth and shut the Dodgers down... for three innings. I don't know what's happened to Atch lately, but he's been dependable. I'm enjoying it! Dustin Richardson, on the other hand, allowed three hits and a run in 1/3rd of an inning. He hasn't impressed me, but he's one of our kids, so he gets another chance.... at least with me. I don't know how our GM feels about him. So, Bard comes in to finish up the 9th, and the Sox inevitably win 10-6.

Ortiz, of course, hit a blast in the first. It was a 429 ft, 2-run shot, giving us a 2-0 lead at the time. His home run that inning, number 274 in Papi's Sox career tied him for fifth in Sox history. The other guy with 274? Manny. Love it. Drew followed that up with his own solo shot. That fifth inning was awesome, though. There were singles from Munchkin, McDonald, and Cameron, walks from Papi (one regular and one intentional), doubles from Tek and Youk, a home run from Beltre, a stolen base from McDonald, a passed ball, a hit LF (Nava), and a sacrifice fly. It was pure insanity. In the end, all of our guys got a hit except for Scutaro (SO much better than Lugo) and Nava.

Unfortunately, Drew came up lame making a play on a Manny fly out in the 3rd. McDonald filled in nicely, though. Looks like Drew will be ok, but he was diagnosed with a strained hamstring. The Dodgers fan in front of me turned and looked at me and said "he does that all the time." And while I would normally agree with him, Drew's been pretty solid this year, so I can't get on his case. Like I said, he should be fine.

A win is a win, and a win with Manny in the park makes me happy. I promise, the Manny-love will calm down a little with the next post. I promise!

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