Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Random Wednesday Thoughts

What a great night at Fenway Tuesday night. From the opening tribute to the 1986 team that won the American League Championship (and lost that heart-breaking 1986 World Series to the Mets), to the tribute to Pedro Martinez, to the triumphant end, it was enough to warm the heart of even the most cynical Sox fan. Some photos:

Some of the 1986 vets - I loved that Oil Can Boyd. A Rhode Island native, he was such a breath of fresh air - always unpredictable. And he's still trying to play professionally - he pitched for the Brockton Rox part of the year last year! There he is with our '86 Ace, Bruce Hurst (photo for AP by Michael Dwyer). On the right is Oil Can's opposite in temperament and approach - Wade Boggs. I'd forgotten so many of his odd quirks - he even tossed two pebbles over the 3rd base line when he was introduced, like he'd do every game. Wonder if had chicken before the game? 8-) Some of my other favs that were back: Marty Barrett (making his first visit to Fenway since 1990!), Spike Owens (I think I loved him mostly for his great baseball name!), and Dwight Evans.

They didn't show this on NESN, but this lovely lady is 102-year Alice Tillinghast, who tossed out the first pitch! (Michael Dwyer photo)

Between the 1st and 2nd innings, the Sox ran a video paying tribute to Pedro Martinez, thanking him for his great years on the Sox and welcoming him "warmly" back. The crowd started the traditional "Pe--dro" chant, and he came out of the dugout for a curtain call. What a great moment. Kudos to the RS brass for putting together that tribute, and to the great fans who cheered him wildly. He was such an important part of the RS for so many years, and while I miss his on-field performance, I can understand that both sides made a business decision. Now, let's beat him tonight! And speaking of pitching performances...

Photo by sittingstill. This was actually taken in Atlanta by Kelly, but I love that Lester is actually smiling. He has seemed so focused and intense in his first two outings, that it was great to see his performance last night. He got into trouble twice, loading the bases, but pitched himself out of it. An important night for his development. And I loved the fist pumps as he left the field in the 5th!

And as for the next two games:

Pitching tonight against Martinez is our Josh - Josh Beckett. After the last ten games, with all of their incredible offensive explosions, it'll be interesting to see Pedro in action. And the other marquee match-up is Thursday: Tom Glavine vs. Curt Schilling. That could be an awesome game!!

And in the Bronx, Alex Rodriguez is beginning to hear it from those "classy" NY Yankee fans. From today's NY Times (article by Tyler Kepner):

It is hard to imagine a reigning most valuable player more unloved than Alex Rodriguez. Every time he makes an out in a home game the Yankees are losing, Rodriguez is booed by the fans at Yankee Stadium.

It happened four times last night in a 5-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves. The last time, Rodriguez struck out as the potential tying run in the eighth inning. After the game, he admitted the booing is making it harder.

"A little bit, and then I try to do a little bit too much, and that's not going to help," Rodriguez said. "I've got to just try to tune that out and do what I do, not let it affect me. It was difficult tonight."

It was a brutal night for the Yankees for many reasons, not just Rodriguez, who is batting .213 in June.

Pardon me if a giggle a bit....

And allow me to join the rest of Red Sox Nation as we send a prayer and get well soon to baseball scribe extraordinaire, Peter Gammons. He's in a Boston hospital this morning after having surgery on a brain aneurysm. One of the first articles I remember reading that really effected me was his classic SI column after said '86 series, called "Living and Dying with the Woe Sox." I still have a yellowed copy of it someplace in my boxes of stuff - I remember reading it and shedding a few tears over the lost opportunity...


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