God, White Sox fans suck. They're booing David Ortiz right now as he steps to the plate. Who boos David Ortiz? Even Yankees fans, who have (a) the lowest inhibitions of any fan group in the league and (b) the most reasons of any fan group in the league to dislike David Ortiz never boo David Ortiz. I mean, it just isn't done.
So he jacked one out. Good, goddamnit.
Anyway. I'm not here to write about today right now, I'm here to write about yesterday.
Yesterday I went to see the Pawtucket Red Sox battle the Ottawa Lynx in a scintillating evening of Triple-A baseball.
OK, so maybe it wasn't exactly a "battle" or "scintillating"--the PawSox won handily, 8-4, and like many minor-league parks, the ambience was one of, shall we say, low intensity. There were kids everywhere, our seats were made of grass, we could go barefoot, Gabe Kapler was approximately five feet from us while the plate was about 100 yards away; there were many incentives not to pay Fenway-type attention to the game.
But it was lovely just the same. I really enjoyed McCoy Stadium; minor league parks always seem to me to be closer to the "Field of Dreams" primitive ideals of baseball than the sprawling high temples of the majors. There's more of the element of summer, relaxation, little kids galumphing around in miniaturized jerseys and hollering at players on the field or in the bullpen for a ball. More often than not, the players oblige.
But by far the highlight of the game for me occurred when Ottawa Lynx outfielder Tim Raines, #16 in your program, dashed out of the dugout for center field and tripped over second base. This was even better than Kevin Millar's face plants earlier this year; this was a complete, blind, sprawling digger right into the infield dirt. I mean, this kid Raines was clotheslined. Which absolutely baffled and amused me, because he's a triple A ballplayer. One assumes he's been playing baseball for, oh, several years. Why would the presence of second base in its usual location in any way surprise this guy, let alone surprise him violently? Just goes to show that old adage about baseball is true: it's the same game every time, but you'll never see the same thing twice.
Anyway. Gabe Kapler. I was surprised at the intensity of love I had for him, but I suppose it's to be expected for any of The Twenty-Five.
Meanwhile, during a pause for a pitching change, all of a sudden the Red Sox were on the Jumbo-Tron. Manny Ramirez was at bat. Two seconds later and KA-POW he took El Duque deep. It turned out those were the Sox' only runs till Jason Varitek hit an opposite-field homer in the top of the ninth, and it so happened that the PawSox were pausing just in time to show it.
It was like something out of Star Wars, the Master Jedi beaming themselves visible among the padawans, showing them how it's done. From the AAA vantage point, the Big Leagues seem like something even more mythical.
After the PawSox game, driving, I listened to the last of the eighth and ninth on the radio. I was a bit nervous; the last time I'd even watched part of a game was Friday, and we know how that went. But I figured the PawSox had shown me the earlier part of the game without my malice aforethought, so with the seal already broken I was justified in listening to the end of the game. And besides, maybe the radio broadcast has different mojo from the television.
At this point I'm completely at a loss as far as the to watch / not to watch conundrum goes. Because as I listened the Sox both flirted with disaster -- Curt Schilling gave up some wicked hits in the ninth -- and pulled off a win audacious in its unlikelihood; after giving up said wicked hits, Schilling started his own inning-saving double play, and then, on a long drive by Timo Perez, Manny decided to get up from the Barcalounger and catch the ball, bouncing in his awkward way off the wall afterwards.
I pounded the steering wheel in a moment of sheer, unadulterated vindication and bliss. Baseball does that to me sometimes.
P.S. Please also see this gem of a post from Sarah. That girl absolutely cracks me the fuck up sometimes. I love the following excerpt especially hard:
I'd like to hear that guy put into a 10'x10' room with a 6' ceiling with a small but extremely violent brown bear while wearing a beef tenderloin belt. I hope that the Red Sox humiliate the White Sox tomorrow and strip them of every last shred of human dignity and pride just so that fucking Hawks guy will be as miserable as humanly possible and will thusly barricade himself inside his home, shave off his eyebrows and spend days on end snorting prescription painkillers, drinking cold, black coffee and chewing on broken glass.
She is referring, of course, to White Sox announcer Ken "Hawk" Harrelson, who I covered a few days ago with at least a mild tinge of distaste. Granted, I haven't had to listen to him for more than a highlight, and even that irritated me at least a little bit. Apparently this guy makes Tim McCarver look like the Rem-Dawg. Like McCarver, he even has his own anti-fan website.
Meanwhile, something I forgot about: it's apparently 102 degrees in the shade in Chicago. Everyone's eyeblack is running. According to the Rem-Dawg, Sox trainers are welcoming the players back to the dugout with ice-cold ammonia-soaked towels. Of course, something about returning to the dugout appears to make major leaguers' arms cease working, and so said trainers must apply said towels themselves with little to no help from the ballplayer. I've never understood this. My mother always compares it to the way racehorses are fussed over by grooms. She's a very sharp woman, my mother.