Thursday, May 26, 2005

Game 45: The Rodrigo Lopez Club

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 1, Toronto Blue Jays 6

Interesting analysis of the game over at The House That Dewey Built, especially the idea of a Rodrigo Lopez Club, "a collection of non-aces who pitch like Cy Young winners against the Red Sox," although Lilly only beat the Sox for the first time last year. Personally, I'm starting to get a mite sick of Toronto.

Arroyo, coming off of eight days rest so as to serve his six game suspension, was not the golden god of pitching he's been so far this year, so I guess we can blame Tampa Bay and the MLB discipline office for the end of a streak, dating back to Aug. 21, 2004, that saw Arroyo go 9 and 0 with a 3.48 ERA over 17 starts. Pretty disappointing, but there were other, mitigating factors that made last night's contest a memorable one.

As I mentioned yesterday, Robin and I planned to finally see the game at The Hairy Monk, scene of frustrations on the fourteenth. This time there were no such restrictions; we both arrived around 6:00 and sat down at a table facing the projection screen, got something to eat, something to drink and killed time until the game started at 7:07. 7:00 roles around and the TV switches from ESPN to NESN...and then switches to SKY Sports Network in Britain. A gentleman, who I believe was the bar owner, comes over and tells us that because Liverpool won the English Premier League today, they wanted to keep the TV on SKY for about 20 minutes, because there were celebrations on TV and people celebrating in the bar. In confusion, we agree with the terms...and spend 20 minutes watching commentators talk about the results of the game, without highlights or sound, while behind us in the front of the bar red-clad Liverpool fans make all kinds of noise. By the time they switch back to NESN, the Sox are down 2 - 0. Five minutes later, as the Sox get out of the inning, the TV switches back to SKY again, for more silent commentary. We complain to the waitress, who gets things back on track, but by this point the Jays are up again. The rest of the game is watched uninterrupted as the Sox fail to score,* Lilly pitches like he's become one with the ball and Toronto continues to find holes in the outfield to drop balls, while knowing exactly where to catch those balls when playing the field themselves.

In the fifth or so, we have a conversation with a English guy (or bloke, I believe they call them) who was not a Liverpool fan, although he was there anyway. I guess it would be like going out to celebrate the Yankees winning the World Series even if you hated the Yankees because your friends were Yankee fans. Maybe he really liked drinking and just needed a reason. We talked baseball for a while (and as it turned out, as little as he cared about baseball, he did like the Yankees), discussed English fanaticism for soccer and then he made his way back to the front. Good enough.

In the eighth, a group of four blokes sat at the table next to us. The guy next to me, clearly smashed out of his gourd, was staring intently at the screen, then asked me if I was for the Yankees.

"No," I said, "I'm for the Red Sox."

He took offense at this, telling us we need to leave the bar right now.

"No," said Robin, "but we'll leave in an inning and a half."
"I'm going to hit you in the face."
"I don't want you to hit me in the face."
"Stand up."
"So I can see how tall you are."

Robin told me afterwards he was about the same height as the drunk guy. My only thought was, 'if drunk guy has to get into a fight, let him wait until AFTER the game is over - I don't want to miss anything.'

"I'm going to hit you in the face."
"I don't want you to hit me in the face."

Drunk guy half reaches back to take a swing, waves, stumbles, catches himself on a chair and falls on the floor. His friends escort him to the front of the bar, where he calms down. The game ends and as we're getting the check, I hear he's getting into it with one of his friends, threatening to smack him on the face. "If you do that," one of the other guys says, "he's going to kick your ass." Drunk guy, being an intelligent individual, hits the other guy anyway and two seconds later, they're both grappling on the floor. Tables fall over. Glass breaks. Beer spills all over my bag and umbrella, much to my chagrin. Several guys are now trying to separate the two combatants, who are now locked in a wrestling match of epic proportions. I try to help at one point, but decide I'm much more interested in guarding my stuff against damage than I am in helping two drunk morons. Finally, bouncers drag the drunk guy out of the bar half naked and the combat ceases. Like I said, it was a memorable night.

I will be at Yankees Stadium tonight, watching Tigers versus Yankees (free tickets) and hoping that the Sox can hold on to their second place standing in the AL East as Wade Miller faces off against Gustavo Chacin. GO SOX!!!

* - Except a string of singles and a Johnny Damon sacrifice hit off Lilly in the seventh, eliciting my comment: only the Sox could hit three singles in a row and load the bases.