Monday, April 11, 2005

Game 7

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 8, New York Yankees 1

Marvelous. But then again, with the jubilant mood in Fenway,
full of confidence, how could things go any different? Heck, half of Boston's sports heroes from past 50 years were in the Park; the amount of pro-Sox karma in the place practically guaranteed a win itself.

The ceremony itself was broadcast for free courtesy of MLB, although the connection was so poor that much of the time it was freeze frame instead of full motion. Parts of it were kinda cheesy - the song by the baseball balladier, for example, was a bit much; listening to the equivalent of a bar tune sung by the "baseball balladier" at Fenway seemed a bit over the top - but the enormous 2004 banner dropped from the top of the Green Monster was a great touch, as was having the rings delivered to center field by a group of disabled Iraq War vets. The rings were displayed in digitized form on the main scoreboard as each player received his hardware, although oddly enough, that was the only form of name announcement; the event handlers had a woman on a headset telling the players when to go out of the dugout to get their rings. Present were Derek Lowe and Dave Roberts, who both got a great reception from the crowd. Not present was Pedro, who's apparently still got beef with the Red Sox management; I'm not sure how well he would have been taken in by the crowd anyway.

After the rings were distributed, the current players headed out to centerfield end of the Monster to be celebrated by past Red Sox greats, including Eckersly, Tiant, Yaz, Pesky and Petrocelli (I told you there was a sick amount of pro-Sox karma there). Then the two teams were announced, the fans booing everyone on the Yankees staff (including the bat boy and the message therapist) except for Rivera and Torre. Rivera, playing along with the irony, tipped his hat to the crowd; all pretty surreal. Speaking of surreal, the cameras did pan over to the Yankee dugout during the ceremony, where the entire team could be seen on the top steps, watching the festivities. Torre had apparently promised this past winter to have all of his players up for the whole ceremony and he certainly kept his word, although I can imagine some sort of encouragement beforehand to the tune of, "watch this so you can remember it in October and use it as inspiration to beat the snot out of Boston this time."

The broadcast cut out before the first pitch, so I missed the group toss by Tedy Bruschi, Bill Russell, Bobby Orr and Richard Seymour.* Alan supposedly caught the whole game on VHS, so maybe I'll get to see it at some point in the future. I switched over to radio and the game began.

Wakefield was brilliant from the start, striking out five over seven innings and giving up five hits and one run. Mussina had trouble the whole game and never got into a groove; the Sox were able to jump all over him in several different innings. Although another two double plays were added to the season total (and I know Renteria was responsible for at least one of them), the Sox hitting was much improved and the fielding, although not error-free, wasn't costly. The Yankees (*cough* A-Rod *cough* Sheffield *cough*), on the other hand, made some goofy plays, had no luck with the hitting and looked entirely overmatched. Francona was back as promised and although he didn't have to make any managerial decisions, it's still good to have him back at the helm. At least now if he screws up a pitching choice, I don't have to resort to what-ifs about the manager. I'm curious to see if this new Sox confidence lasts through to Wednesday and the return of Schilling, whether the Yanks will still seem stunned or whether it's just another year of the massive home-field advantage for both teams. GO SOX!!!

* - What's up with the NHL that they don't have bios of past players, especially important ones, on an official site? And we wonder why they're in a lockout...