Night Over Water
I wrote that story for MLB.com the night of the Game 2 CLASSIC in Boston. My two favorite things about working an MLB postseason are (a) being around the batting cage and talking baseball with anyone in particular, hearing the crack of the bat and seeing swings that have been honed for an entire spring, summer and fall; and (b) talking to fans. That story was the result of talking to a lot of fans, like Kim and Paul Ballam, who are pictured here and in that article in the "Love Story" part. I was walking around inside Fenway, thinking, "Just one more. You’re going to leave out something that’s important. Just one more." So I turned left, headed up the aisle that leads through the section behind the lowest field-box section, and I see a man on my left wearing a blue Sox jacket. "Excuse me, sir, I’m with MLB.com and I’m asking Sox fans to tell me the characteristics of a Sox fan. May I ask you?" It is the question I had repeated over and over. "Well, my son plays on the team. That makes you a Sox fan." It just goes to show that if you talk to enough people at one of these games, you will run into a Guy Pedroia. Longtime Giants fan from Woodland, Calif., in the Sacramento area. We talked about the Humm Baby days of Will the Thrill and Kevin Mitchell and Don "Caveman" Robinson, when I covered the Giants for the San Jose Mercury News. He was just sitting there at Fenway now, soaking it all in. His son, Dustin, would go on to have an outstanding game with key plays, possibly the AL Rookie of the Year. You become a Sox fan when your son becomes a Sox player. No doubt. That was a good one. Wanted to make sure you saw all 20 characteristics. Now it’s onto Indians fans here in Cleveland. . . .
I bought Ken Follett’s "World Without End" meganoval at Logan Airport before leaving. (Man, it’s only $20 on Amazon and I coughed up $32 at the airport.) He’s my favorite author, and my favorite work of his was "Pillars of the Earth." This is the long-awaited "sequel", set in the 1300s. I love the way he experiments with his writing. "Pillars" spanned a century and revolved around the gradual construction of an English cathedral; and the one right after that, "Night Over Water," was, well, a night aboard a flight over water. I was really, really tempted to write a "Night Over Water" kind of story for MLB.com last night in the attempted style of Follett. At that point you just have to kind of catch your breath, though. (And of course realize you’re not Follett.) Took a night flight from Boston to Cleveland with a lot of Sox and Indians fans, as well as fellow BBWAA guys like Peter Gammons and Mike Bauman. It was interesting. You mostly saw Indians shirts and jackets. I was expecting 90 percent of the plane to be filled with Sox logos. Most of the Sox fans aboard saved the gear for the games. Except for this one lady who was wearing a model of Fenway Park on top of her head. But it wasn’t the mass infiltration of Sox fans I had expected. I asked a lot of passengers and they said they were aboard a "series flight" just by coincidence. That’s OK. Back to the players and fans.
I just read a bunch of your MLBlogs. FANS ON THE FIELD cracks me up because it’s two brothers who have no problem bashing each other. (The modern "Bash Brothers," as it were.) Dan takes Jason to task for straddling the fence in this ALCS, and for making his MLBlogs font size require a magnifying glass to read. (I left a comment on that one in case anyone ever encounters that, btw.) I also read what Yooooouuuuukkkkk (you guys named that MLBlog) said in his latest entry: "I had a chance to win the game there in the bottom of the ninth inning, with Jacoby Ellsbury on second, but I hit a line drive to center field right at Grady Sizemore, and he caught it. Not much I can do about that. I saw it go right to him and Sizemore is a great center fielder." I don’t think Youk was wanting to talk a whole lot after that AB. It was one of the most memorable October ABs in recent years. 94mph after 94mph after 94mph, fouled and fouled and fouled. Talk about warriors. Gotta give Rafael Betancourt credit for that. To me, that was the game right there. You guys have no idea how loud the Indians clubhouse was after that finish early Sunday morning. The Shop Boyz’ "Party Like A Rock Star" was blasting, and I paced off the dimensions of the AL’s smallest clubhouse (I had to tell Kenny Lofton "excuse me" as I paced off the last 3 steps around him) and it’s about 10 yards wide and 26 yards long. Crank the jams full-blast, and Jhonny Peralta seemed happy as he was putting both huge diamond studs on his ears at 2 a.m. but my ears were totally ringing. The Script "I" is doing a nice job of building a game-by-game account. An MLBlog is your own chronicle.
Welcome to Bill at Phightin’ Phils Forum. Please give him a nice welcome to the MLBlogosphere. . . .. Also welcome to James at Love Of The Game. He’s got some great Photo Albums in the works already. . . . Nice to see that Todd Helton just goes home and kicks it back on the couch with some TV like the rest of us. So what do you think of the playoffs so far? The ALCS finally has injected some intrigue. Every other series, amazingly, has become known for its dominance by one team. Doesn’t make it a bad series, just means one of those teams was playing textbook ball. Am sure TBS would like to have at least one drama series next October, though. Unless D-backs can make the NLCS at least close, that’s going to be 4-for-4 in blowout TBS series in their maiden October voyage. That would be a combined 16-1 record for the winning teams in those four series.
Please don’t let me eat another sausage at Fenway or give into the temptation of delivery pizza when checking into my Cleveland hotel. New York City Marathon in 19 days. Left hip flexor not working. Must have climbed too many stairs at Fenway. OK, here are some postseason pics for you. . . .
This is my favorite one. If you ride the T around Boston, you know this guy. Mr. Big Forehead. Always inside your train, at least when I’m there. I could just picture some Sox fan before or after a game planting a big one on his forehead.
This is the scene on Yawkey Way after they opened the gates at 6:21 p.m. ET before Game 2. Yawkey Way fills up with people, and it is the only place in baseball where there is an actual street festival that is considered PART OF THE BALLPARK. You have to present your ticket to enter Yawkey Way at that time. Here is "Big League Brian," the guy on stilts who waves you in and then plays pitch and catch with all the kids. This photo is very vertical for obvious reasons.
I had no idea what a Bootie Lifter was.
I’m thumbnailing this one with a popup so you’ll be able to see the hi-rez version. This billboard is right outside Fenway and it’s cool if you can make out some of the faces. I’d love to hear what Sox fans think of this, as I have no idea who many of them are.
Transferring at Park Street on the Red Line to get to Kenmore on the Green Line.