Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Game 39

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 7, Oakland Athletics 5

A metaphor:

I was in Italy for about six month in spring 2002, studying abroad through IES in Milan. There were two people in my program, Michael and Maria, who were both particularly generous and stubborn people, to the point where Maria once spent the night in our apartment and she and Michael (who was my roomate) got into a rediculous fight about who was going to have Michael's bed. Each insisted that the other person had better rights to it and they ended up getting so upset at each other that for about half an hour, Maria tried sleeping on the floor next to Michael's bed (while Michael was camped out on the couch) before she finally relented.

Last night's game was like Michael and Maria quarrelling all over again. The Sox drew eight walks over the course of the game and capitalized on three of them. The A's made three errors and Boston made good on two of them. Although Boston scored two runs in the first, Clement (who narrowly avoided a loss yet again) and Mantei ended up giving up five runs over three innings (fourth through sixth) and the A's led 5 - 3 through the eighth. One might say that by that point, Maria was sleeping on the floor, while Michael had taken over the couch (and the win). Then the Sox finally remembered what clutch hitting means.

It's the top of the eighth. In my frustration, I've donned full rally gear: the Shirt and my World Series Champions hat, which hasn't seen much use since my trip at the beginning on the month.* Much to my surprise and pleasure, Ricardo Rincon loads the bases by hitting Varitek and walking Mueller and Jay Payton (who also had an excellent throw to nail catcher Jason Kendall as he was trying to score). Johnny Damon taps an RBI in with a hit that would have been an out...if Rincon was covering the bases. Needless to say, Rincon left the game afterwards. 21 year old Huston Street, who was wickedly effective against the Sox on May 11, comes on to try and put out the fire. On comes Edgar Renteria, smacking a single on the first pitch he sees to right field. Eric Byrnes boots the ball, it goes past him to the wall, three runs score and Renteria ends up on third. CLUTCH. I call Robin, who signed off AIM before the inning started in a huff, to tell him to stop being such a wuss and pay attention. His response, as soon as he picks up the phone (and the lack of punctuation is accurate): "Are you kidding of course I didn't go to bed I couldn't go to bed I'm watching the whole thing right now." Yes folks, baseball turns Robin into a speed freak.

The boys weren't able to score Renteria from third, nor do much to Street in the ninth, but it didn't matter, as Embree, Timlin and Foulke combined for two innings of one hit baseball. Maria had finally taken the much more comfortable bed, so to speak and at the point, I was ready for bed as well, since it was now 1:00 AM. I am SO glad the West Coast trip ends today with a day game.

Can we kill Dale Sveum yet? The game might have been a lot less stressful if our vaunted third base coach had not tried to send David Ortiz home on an infield hit by Manny in the fifth. It wasn't funny last year and it's even less funny this year. Do they assign a fielding percentage to base coaches the way they to do fielders? Does Dale Sveum top the list for most errors made? Does he, as Bill Simmons worried last fall, have some sort of depth perception problem?*** Shouldn't we have a base coach we can trust to do his job properly?

Oh and lest I forget to mention it, there's this. Robin had to call me after seeing that one (he bought for a month and thus gets to witness these things) because he was rendered unable to type. Hillarious.

David "Boomer" Wells is officially the starter for this afternoon's game, going up against Seth Etherton, who hasn't pitched in a major league game since 2003. I call it "Battle of the Gimps" and it will be going down at 3:35 Eastern. Cla Meredith has been optioned back to Pawtucket to make room on the roster, which means the Sox are now carrying six starters. Hopefully Cla will be allowed to develop a little more before he gets called up again; I'm sure a guy who progressed that quickly through the minors (he, like Huston Street, was drafted last year) has a pretty good shot at being very effective in the future, but clearly now was waaaay too soon. No word on what Jeremi Gonzalez's role will be now that Boomer is back. Bullpen, perhaps? GO SOX!!!

* - Before heading off to Yankee Stadium for the first game of that tour, I dubbed that hat the "I'm A Tremendous Asshole" hat, because anyone who would wear that hat to watch two other teams play must be an pretty big jerk. Not to mention the fact that with the bandwaggoning that's being going on with the Red Sox, wearing a World Series Champions hat makes you look like a poseur**. I wore it around the East Coast to be ironic, because that's what us cool kids do.
** - I found this image through Google image search. Ironically enough, the website it comes from is very much in favor of the president's visit to the USS Abraham Lincoln. I don't understand Google sometimes.
*** - I tried finding a link for this, because I know it's on Page 2 on the ESPN site somewhere, but the ESPN search box has this fun feature where you can't actually search for anything. Instead, you click on the box where you would type in the words and nothing happens. Quite thrilling. Oh wait, no, I'm wrong...they just don't believe in cursors, so you'd have no idea that you'd selected the box until you started typing. Very clever, guys. Way to design a user interface that conforms to people's expectations of how computers work. Doesn't matter, because I still can't find the damn link.