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Saturday, July 10, 2010

Live From Fenway Park

Futures at Fenway, Saturday, July 10, 2010

1st pitch 12:03 Jamestown Jammers (Florida Marlins) v. Lowell Spinners (Boston Red Sox)

Even though I went to the press box at the PawSox game two nights ago, this rookie still has some jitters. I wrote up a recap of the SOX @ TOR game last night keeping me up later than I wanted, so this morning I also woke up later than I had wanted. I had been hoping to get here earlier, but my brain is still on CA time, and driving in Boston is a terrifying experience! I followed the driving instructions from Google, but still somehow ended up in Cambridge. I eventually found a parking spot less than 5 minutes away from Fenway. I found the press entrance and found my way up to the press box. There are plenty of seats in the stands that are still empty.

Major League Red Sox tickets are in such big demand that I would have expected a bigger turnout. Maybe it’s the heat and humidity again. The late start and the unexpected detour to Cambridge got me into the press box and set up just moments before the game started. Even though these teams are single A, I was still expecting Game Day to be working, or at least the box score to be updated, as we are in a MLB park. I never did develop a habit of scoring games on paper, so I am at a loss for all the details at the moment. No worries, though. I’m here to chronicle a day in the press box at Fenway Park. If you had told me 3 years ago that I would be sitting here at Fenway, I would have said, ‘Gethefugouttahere!’

Playing in today’s 1st game is Kolbrin Vitek (not a typo) at 3B. He was selected by the Boston Red Sox in the 1st round (20th pick overall) in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft.

A foul ball just came through the open window below me! The official scorer is just below me and behind the open window. He didn’t catch it, but snagged it on the bounce. Another member of the press media jokingly issued him an E for error.

Living in California for the past 25 years has prevented me from getting to a game at Fenway in too many years. I did take a guided tour of the Park in 2005, but didn’t get to go on the field as the Rolling Stones were setting up their stage. One of the patrons taking the tour that day even had a camera confiscated, as photographs were not allowed per the Stones contract.

It is now the middle of the 3rd inning, and a strange mascot ran out to the field that I have never seen before. ‘Bristles’ the giant toothbrush swept all the bases clean. Is this a Lowell thing? Or is this a Boston thing that never gets shown on national TV? I have never seen this whenever I get a chance to watch a Sox game on NESN. A blue man group (not the music band) then came out with a giant slingshot and shot what I would guess to be t-shirts into the stands. The crowd starts singing Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believing.’

Lowell is already on the short end of 5-0 score, but I am just happy to be in Fenway Park again watching a game. Granted, it is only a single A rookie league game, but these kids seem to be hustling like crazy, as I’m sure they want to make it to the next level up. Even though some of Matt McCarthy’s ‘Odd Man Out’ may have been fabricated, it still gives a good description of life in the lower levels of pro baseball and the harsher conditions that they endure such as 16 hour bus trips.

I am again sitting very close and high above the center line of home plate. This perspective gives one a much better understanding of the game than you get sitting in the stands or watching on TV. This could be intoxicating. This could lead to a habit. I may even attempt to get a press pass to a Sacramento River Cats (AAA- Oakland) or a San Jose Giants (Advanced A- San Francisco.) My current budget does not allow for premium cable TV or MLB.TV. (I will have to budget for this in the future somehow.) I will be scheduling my future trips from CA to RI around the Futures at Fenway games in the years to come. It’s not the big leagues, but it is a lot of fun. The crowd is very much into the game, as it was in Pawtucket 2 nights ago.

While I was looking up the Sacramento River Cats, I find that Boof (who went poof) Bonser is pitching for them. Sometimes it feels like as if the Oakland and Kansas City clubs are farm teams for the rest of the big leagues.

Other interesting notes about this game include the fact that there are only 2 umpires, The Green Monster scoreboard is blank except for the BOS @ TOR score. The Jamestown infielder who just fielded an infield ball in play dropped the ball on the mound rather than toss it into the stands.

It has just started to rain at the top of the 6th inning. As it is not a hard rain, the game continues. I flip back to the Game Day web page and find that it is now displaying the current statistics of the game.. A few minutes later hail has started coming down much harder than the rain a few minutes ago. We now have a rain delay and the tarps have been pulled out to cover the infield. Advertising strikes everywhere these days. I am looking at a giant logo of L.L. Bean on the tarp. I check weather.com and see that we are about to be hit hard by the scattered thunderstorms that were earlier predicted. Most of the fans have all scurried to the upper covered seats. The BOS @ TOR game is now showing on the giant screen above right field, as well as the TV screen to my immediate right. Given the choice of watching the Boston Red Sox play on TV or going to a single A double header, I choose the live game. I go back to weather.com and check the outlook for the next few hours and see that it will probably continue to rain for the next few hours. A huge thunder boom was heard just now, chasing all but the most dedicated of the fans to run for cover.

A half hour later the rain and hail continue to pummel Fenway and the game has been called in the hope that the storm will pass quick enough to get the 2nd game of the double header started. The rain is not letting up as I watch a waterfall of rain pour into the Red Sox dugout. It’s time to grab a bite to eat, kick back and watch the Sox-Jays game. I could get used to this.

Lowell Spinners 2 Jamestown Jammers 7 BOX SCORE

UPDATE- Just as I reported in Pawtucket, the Red Sox personnel are all very helpful and polite. This is a sign of a well run company. Thanks to the Boston Red Sox!

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