A Tale of Two Games.... It was the best of games, it was the worst of games....
Wow, what a fun couple of baseball games that was!
Game 1 recap
Both Saturday and Sunday both games were sold out and about 25%-35% of the fans there were Red Sox fans. The Red Sox fans were alos a lot more organized and vocal in their support so in a lot of ways it really felt a lot like I was seeing a Red Sox home game.
There's a Red Sox bar & grill our here in Santa Monica called Sonny McLeans http://www.sonnymcleans.com
that organizes bus trips to the Angel games for Red Sox fans. It was great all through the games to see their entire section erupt in cheers and chants of "Let's go Red Sox! Let's go!" They all wore T-Shirts that said Red Sox Nation West. Gotta get me one of those.
Of course Wakefield's game on Saturday didn't go the way we'd hoped but it was still great to see Johnny Damon hit two home runs and Ortiz launched a nice high srcing bomb of his own. I think he actually was feeding off the boos he was getting there. I'm terrified as to how many games he will be suspended as we head into the Yankee series but at least the August schedule should give us a chance to make up some ground.
The crowd Saturday night in the field level seats were all pretty good natured. The only trouble came from two Angel fans that started arguing about what one of them was saying to a Red Sox fan. Both Angels fans were invited to visit the security office. LOL The Angels fans all around us were in good cheer and we all had fun trading banter back and forth.
When Guerrero came up I called out for Wake to walk him since he'll launch any pitch into the bleachers. When the smoke from the fireworks cleared the Angels fans there made sure to tell me that was a good call. LOL
And of course out from the bullpen we got our first good looks of the season at Nelson, Misterrrr Aaaandersonnn and of course Mendoza. I was hoping I'd see Manny playing on Saturday since my seats were close to where he plays in Left Field. Instead I got a splendid view of local boy Gabe Kapler. I was pretty impressed with his hitting and fielding though eh's no Manny. Well who is?
Not too much else to report from Saturday night's game. I was happy to see that Wake wasn't hurt from that come-backer that hit his shoulder-blade. After Nomar caught that I wondered how the official scoring on that play goes. Is it 1-6 or 1-6-3? LOL I wasn't able to get to the field early enough to try and get any autographs on Saturday but Sunday made up for that.
Sunday morning I got to the stadium about 90 minutes early and saw lots of red Sox pitchers out on the field. It was photo day with Angels fans all lined up around the warning track to meet players so Sox batting practice must have been earlier in the day.
Despite a good number of Red Sox fans all down at the field railing it wasn't too hard to meet the pitchers that came over. The hardest part was figuring out who was who. All the players were wearing practice caps, refleective sunglasses and plain windbreakers with no names or numbers on them. Seriously the way they were dressed they all looked like clones.
The only way to figure out who most of the pitchers were was to look at the swarm of 20 year old non-English speaking pro autograph hounds that would forcefully flock their way to a pitcher when he would come over. These guys must have been working for autograph dealers because they all had baseball cards of every player ready to be signed with expensive pens, they all worked together as if they did this every day and they knew exactly which player was which.
The first player I got to meet was Timlin. He was really nice about signing autographs and did a good job of making sure he signed things for the kids and not for the pros. I told him that he was nails on Friday night and he was really nice and appreciative. He had to leave before I could get an autograph though.
Bronson Arroyo came over next and was a really fun down-to-earth kid. Kids were asking himwho the toughest hittrs to face are. He said it's the unpredictable contact hitters that swing at anything like Eckstein, Kennedy and Vlad. He was really nice and signed the bill of my Red Sox hat.
Manny started walking around and teasing everybody. His hair looked extra-bouncy in the heat on Sunday. It was good to see him even though we could see he wasn't going to play. He has got such a great sense of fun and humor when he's out on the field. Getting there early you get to see a side of players that you just never see on TV. It's easy to forget that what these guys do is fun and they love every minute of it.
Manny didn't stay out long and only signed some autographs on the other side of the dugout from where I was.
Across the field I could see Pedro and Lowe out doing windsprints and stretching their hamstrings. It was amazing to see their workout routine on their off-day. It was damn hot down on that field and they were out there running out and walking back for over an hour before they started long-tossing. As I watched I kept thinking "These are the guys people are saying have no heart and are a bunch of selfish cry-baby head-cases? They're working their butts off in crazy heat and they aren't even playing today."
After Manny disappeared and the ushers were starting to sweep the field sections clear of us Red Sox rabble.
I then leaned over by the first base camera well and saw in the dugout that the only player there 45 minutes before game time was Curt Schilling. He looked like he was trying to relax and just clear his mind of anything. He looked as calm as could be crossing and uncrossing his legs and looking around at the field preparations.
I've heard how intense he is on game-day so I wasn't going to say anything to him, but then he looked over at me in my Red Sox regalia and waved a quick hello to me. I yelled over to him "We Love You Curt!" He again waved to me and said "Thanks." Yeah, you could say that got my adrenaline going! He'll never know that he's my hero or that he replied to me once on Ed's blog but it was great just to have that momentary interaction. Looks like I didn't distract him too much.
I then started walking away from the approaching ushers toward the right field foul pole when I came across a group of 10-20 people acting frantic about something. I crossed over to the second row to see who it was and it was Pedro! He was joking around with the kids and looking like he was having the time of his life.
When you find yourself standing there in awe facing these players you watch everyday it's so funny. You think to yourself... what can I say to this guy that will be of the slightest interest to him? You think and think... "Who's the toughest hitter you ever faced... nah too common.... Who's the greatest player you ever played with? Naw too lame.... How tough is it facing a good hitter with a full-count? Naw too esoteric..."
You think and think some more and then find that the only thing that you can get out of your mouth is..."You're the best Pedro! You rock!" Seriously, I don't think I could have felt any goofier but Pedro was nice and told me "Thank you man, you guys are great too. Ya know I always try and do my best out there."
I don't think he could have been nicer or looking like he was having more fun. He was working his way down the line to sign more autographs and was three people away from me when he got ushered away by a stadium attendant clearing the field. Ugh! 30 seconds away from Pedro autographing my hat. Oh well. I'm still plenty happy even getting Arroyo's autograph so that's cool.
My seats for Sunday were in the lower-nosebleeds by the left field foul-pole. I had a great view directly over the bullpen and I could really see the movement on Curt's pitches. I could see him painting the left and right sides of the plate at will. It was amazing how easy he made it look, especially with that kind of heat on the field. I loved seeing the movemennt on his pitches start out heading in to the left side of the plate and then curve back in a concave arc to the right.
After 15-20 minutes of warm-up tosses Curt walked slowly and deliberately out of the gates into left field for more stretching and jogging exercises. He later claimed his deliberateness was sluggishness but he looked like the zen pitching master to me.
Once the game was under way it looked like a pitching duel. Every one of Ortiz's at-bats was dramatic and exciting! On his first hit seeing him dig for third and then slide head-first was awesome! You should have seen the line he carved around secoond!
Then seeing Ortiz belt his three-run homer in the 6th was perfection. When he came to the plate I just knew it was going out. The same way I caleld Vlad's homer the night before. It just felt like it was a done-deal before he even got to the plate. I tell ya Ortiz really seemd to feed of the boos that were heaped down on him by the Angles fans.
I think the only way you could tell it wasn't a Sox home game was from the boos for Ortiz. Other than that there really wasn't any chanting for the Angels or big cheers when their big players came up. I guess LA fans are as laid-back as people say.
I was really disappointed to see Homar get plunked. From my seat I was worried that he got hit in the head so I was glad it was just his shoulder. Lackey claimed he slipped trying to throw the pitch that got Nomar out earlier. Yeah, right after Ortiz went yard on you and took your lead away. Uh-huh.
At first the Ump pointed at Lackey and signalled that he was tossed out. Scioscia came out to appeal it and that's when both benches were warned. I'm sure the umps thought it was retaliation for the homer since they didn't toss Curt for hitting Molina.
I think Curt retaliated perfectly. He didn't go head-hunting but he showed he wasn't gonna take it either. Still after the Ortiz thing I don't want to flirt with more suspensions.
At one point a bunch of Boston fans behind the dugout knocked a big inflatable socccer-ball into the Sox dugout. Ortiz and Manny messed around with it and then punched it back into the crowd. You've got to love seeing these guys have that kind of fun.
Johnny Damon was a lot of fun to watch as well. I loved seeing him come to plate and have Sox fans start chanting "Let's go Jesus! Let's Go!" Angles fans just kind of looked around in a bemused way trying to figure out what that was all about.
I heard one fan remark "Look at that guy, he looks like Charles Manson!" The uptight lady in front of me said "Oh he's just another one of those disgusting and depraved Red Sox players. I hate them. Tell that guy to get a shave." When I told her that he shaves his beard during the season for charity and has raised tens fo thousands of dollars that shut her up in a hurry. LOL
The other funny comment I heard from the peanut gallery was when Bellhorn's picture was plastered on the big display screens in the outfield. One lady looked up at Bellhorn's mug and said "Wow that's too bad that they had to use his high school yearbook photo!" I told her that was a good one and asked her if I could steal that line. So thank you to that anonymous Angel fan. LOL
That's about it for me.
Wow I wish I could go see a Red Sox game everyday!
@ 2:54 PM