photo by Samara Pearlstein
Way, waaaaay more photos to come, obviously, but I wanted to get this thing rolling. I’m keepin’ it simple here.
1. Tigers fan bandwagon jumping not as great as expected. I expected to see a lot more Tigers fans this year, after last season. Didn’t pan out. For this game, at least, I would say there were about as many Tigers fans as there were last year at Fenway. Maybe more people around my age this time, but that’s really the only difference I noted (and it was slight). Could have had something to do with the fact that it was a Monday night, and the fact that it was Nate (not a huge draw even among Tigers fans) vs. Matsuzaka (a HUGE FREAKIN’ DRAW for Sox fans).
2. Nate Robertson: not made of fail. His outing was a lot better than his line shows. He threw about a billion pitches, which was his undoing, but he didn’t walk anyone. Not a one. He just allowed the Sox to work up these enormous pitch counts during at-bats. Jason Varitek was fouling stuff off like his spandex turtlenecks were going out of style and he had to slow down the game on purpose to milk the last possible moments of enjoyment from them. I don’t know. Many worse pitchers than Nate have been roughed up by David Ortiz and ‘Tek.
His line also looks a lot better if
3. you count those two “hits” in the second inning as errors, which is how I counted them on my scorecard. Hits, pfffft, whatever. The first one would have been an out if Brandon Inge had taken ONE step instead of trying to complete the play in a single shiny motion. The second one probably would have been an out, AT LEAST one out, if Carlos hadn’t bobbled the bobble right out of the ball. Hits? Hits? I guess that’s what the cool kids call “hometown scoring”.
And you KNOW I don’t want to see Brandon Inge get saddled with any more errors than he already has been, but I was pretty convinced that he could have had this play if he had taken just one more moment with it. If you didn’t see the play, it was a ball that Mike Lowell hit to third very softly, so it stayed more or less on the infield grass. Inge came charging in and in one single move scooped the thing up, while running, and threw it to first. TOWARDS first, rather, because what he actually did was airmail the ball to a point just above and behind Sean Casey’s head. Woe.
4. I asked Bondo during BP how his hand was doing. I was leaning on the back of the visitor’s dugout, as is my wont, and Bondo approached. Here’s the exact conversation.
RotT: Hey, Bondo! How’s your hand doing?
Bondo, with a startled and slightly blank look up: What?*
RotT: How’s your hand doing?
Bondo: Uh, oh. Uh, it’s OK. It’s getting better.
He then ducked down and into the dugout before anyone could hound him for autographs.
I find it worrying that he said “it’s getting better” instead of “oh, it’s doing great! feels dandy!”… which is what you would assume a player would say to some dumb fan hollering at them before a game. “It’s getting better” doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in me that he’ll be back 100% by the time his next start rolls around.
For whatever it’s worth, he didn’t appear to have anything on the affected finger. Not even a bandaid or gauze wrap.
5. Bobby Seay must die. The Red Sox were winning anyways; that was just unnecessary agony to watch. In fact, we couldn’t stand it and actually walked out of our seats and into the concourse, where we watched the rest of his inning on a TV bolted to the Fenway concourse girders. Watching with us: a bunch of vaguely disinterested cops, and John Keating of FSN Detroit. Kinda surreal.
6. Tim Byrdak was not as bad as Bobby Seay. His lifetime stats are not pretty, though, so don’t get too excited now, kids. I was doing a last-minute poke at the Tigers roster before the game and noticed he had shown up, numberless and unexplained. I had the following conversation with my brother.
RotT: Hey, what’s a Tim Byrdak?
Brother: Generic white Orioles reliever.
RotT: Well. He’s a Tiger now.
Brother: Really? Huh. He sucks.
Still, today he was going strong. Why did we take him out to put in Bobby Trainwreck Seay? The world may never know.
7. Nobody likes Neifi Perez. Best Neifi!!! moment came during BP. Neifi!!! walked over to the dugout. A small child immediately began begging for his autograph, calling him BY NAME. Both pathetic and remarkable. Neifi!!! completely blew the kid off** and pootled around the edge of the dugout doing Neifi!!! things instead. A Tigers fan next to me (late teens or early 20s) yelled, “Neifi!” like he would if he was asking for an autograph. He then yelled. “LOOK AT YOURSELF!”, the implication in his tone of voice being, of course, that if Neifi!!! took the time to really look at himself, he would realize how loathsome he truly is.
My contribution to this scintillating exchange was a darkly muttered, “He should be thankful anyone even recognizes him,” which was loud enough for people on the back of the dugout to hear, but not loud enough for Neifi!!! This was either for the best, or a lost opportunity.
8. Mike Rabelo fan club? I sat with a Sox fan friend of mine for this game. I pointed Rabelo out to her a few times during BP, and later when he would poke his head up out of the dugout or when he ran across to the bullpen. She was quiet about him, but eventually admitted that she found him to be quite attractive. This is the very first time I have heard anyone mackin’ on Mike Rabelo. Welcome to the majors, kid!
9. When push comes to shove, I shove Gary Sheffield. I’m sorry. I tried. But this was the ultimate test: Gary Sheffield in Fenway, where I have hated him for many years. Turns out I hate him still. Go figure.
I have to admit, when he came up to bat, I was rooting Matsuzaka all the way, every time. I know I’m supposed to look at the good of the team and not the individual man, but apparently I’m not over Sheffield yet. I didn’t go so far as to join in the round booing he got whenever he so much as stuck his head out of the dugout, but I didn’t sob when he struck out.
10. You don’t really understand Matsuzaka fever until you see it in person. I know this is a Tigers blog, and this is a Red Sox subject, but it’s really, really something to see. People are CRAZY for this kid. There are Dunkin Donuts ads in Japanese. Programs and scorecards being given out with red headbands with the Japanese flag on them. Tons of little kids in tshirts that have a number 18 on the back and a nameplate reading “Dice-K”. It’s wacky, but awesome.
edit: I’ve posted about this game from the Red Sox fan side of my brain over at Blue Cats and Red Sox. Also, Ian of Bless You Boys has an “interview” with me about the series up at his place. I express my true feeling about Curt Schilling, and compare Chad Durbin’s performance to “gravy on the meaty team pie”. ‘Tis ace.
* This is a little embarrassing to admit, but when I yell, like yelling AT someone to get their attention or what have you, I… aspirate my Rs and nasalize (?) my vowels. When speaking normally I have no accent at all (‘though I do have New England terminology… it’s SODA, those shoes are SNEAKERS, that candy is a LOLLIPOP), but when I yell, I yell in a Boston accent. I blame my upbringing; there was not a lot of yelling in my house when I was growing up (you would never guess it from this blog, but my immediate family is actually pretty functional) and my house is basically accentless, while most of the people I DID hear yelling were people with thick Boston accents.
This is to say that when I first yelled at Bondo, it’s not surprising that he had a little trouble understanding me.
** I have no problem at all with Neifi!!!, or indeed anyone, blowing off the autograph hounds. In fact I applaud him for resisting the slimy charms of a small child trying to act innocent but really in bloodthirsty pursuit of a bunch of autographs (s)he doesn’t give two snotloads about, just to be able to say (s)he has them. I just strongly dislike Neifi!!! to begin with.