Sunday, June 01, 2008

Game 58: Hail To The Past And The Future

Final Score: Boston Red Sox 6, Baltimore Orioles 3

Has there ever been a more perfect pitch for a 500th home run? Dead center of the strike zone, 80 mph pitch, first pitch thrown by a man whose chapter in Moneyball six years ago (not to mention his unusual throwing style) gave him his own footnote in baseball history?

And that drive: wasn't it a classic Manny home run, too? A no doubt rocket to deep right that goes and goes until it hits the seats, while Manny watches it fly before starting his trot around and into history. We all know watching is supposedly verboten, that it shows up the other team, makes you look like an unprofessional punk, etc. but that's just jealously talking here. How could anyone begrudge someone for wanting to watch his own accomplishment?

Was there a more perfect place - outside Boston - for Manny to hit that 500th home run? Fenway Park South, Baltimore, Maryland, where crowds fill to near capacity when the Red Sox are in town and half the stands sports gray / red or white / red combos and hats with "B's" on them; where the guy lucky enough to catch the milestone hit is not only a Red Sox fan, but one hell of a guy, too.

Such is the glorious past; how about the future? The future, also known as Jacoby "I'm Carrying the Team" Ellsbury, whose six steals and a triple in two nights represent the spark plug of almost every rally. Or maybe that's just how I feel, because it seems like every time he gets on base, he ends up on the opposite corner of the diamond - quite possibly causing a throwing error in the process - within two pitches, distracting the pitcher enough for someone else in the lineup to get a run-scoring hit. Six steals in two games; if he does it again today, I'm ready to make him a base-stealing god on the spot.