My second live game in three days--and among the few losses I've seen, unfortunately.
As losses go, it was a pleasant one. Sounds like a paradox, and it is. But I had fantastic seats and the night was glorious, the twilight sky full of deep violets and delicate pinks, the game close all the way till the end.
Before the game, we'd run into Sam's father, who is a Tigers fan. Sam is a divided Tigers and Red Sox fan, but this year, she told me, she is siding with the Tigers. "The Tigers only have a year like this once in a couple of decades," she said. "The Red Sox are competitive all the time." Some might still object to her conflicted loyalties, but I was satisfied with her explanation.
"Enjoy the game," were Sam's dad's parting words. "But not too much."
Shortly after that, we stopped by Loge 150 to see my dad and Woody, who, eerily enough, were also in attendance. My dad had some remarks for Sam's Detroit hat, as well as her Michigan Baseball shirt (he's an Ohio State fan). As we walked away, my dad said, "Good luck!"
"But not too much!"
In the end, I think the game lived up to both dads' wishes, decided by one run and ending on a strikeout for the man representing (theoretically) the tying score--down to the last pitch, the game was still in question. This made Sam suffer seizures next to me (especially when Pudge Rodriguez had to play second base after Placido Polanco hurt himself killing a Sox rally the previous inning), but all in all I'd have to say it was the best case scenario for both of us. I think, with the same gut feeling I had about the White Sox last year, that this is the Tigers' year. I am fairly certain it is not the Red Sox' year. Kicking the ass of some teams, like the Yankees, is the principle of the thing, regardless of the standings--but to me, this series with the Tigers is literally a different ball game.
Ultimately, as I've said before, some wins feel like losses and some losses feel like wins. Right up until the final pitch, I was fairly certain the Red Sox were still going to pull it out. I was also amazed, once again, by the defense in this game, in particular the top of the sixth, when in the course of one fielder's choice by Mike Lowell, runners on second and third with no outs became one out, men on first and second. After that came a flyout to left and a groundout back to the mound--or, well, the mound area...well, it was at least Schilling's ball to cover, and he did, flinging his body around midair after snatching the ball off the turf and winging it desperately to Youkilis, who dug it out at first for the final out as the crowd's roar built to a crescendo and Schilling pumped his fist and yelled.
Every moment I have like that, I tuck away in my soul to take out sometime mid-February, when the idea of any baseball, even losing baseball, makes me salivate. Every time I get to be at Fenway for a moment like that, I try to show the proper deference and gratitude to the baseball gods.
Meanwhile, my dad had shown up below me, on the ramp to the concourse that was right next to my seat.
"That was HUGE!" he yelled up to me. "HUGE!"
After that, and the Polanco injury, things seemed to be shifting toward the Red Sox. Sam felt the same way, and seemed to be practically in tears by the time Todd Jones came out for the Tigers in the bottom of the ninth.
But it was not to be. I really don't know what else to say about it. I still kind of can't believe they lost, actually. Being at the ballpark does that to me, I think, especially in a close game--I'm still always waiting for the walkoff.
P.S. Sam and I played dueling cameras last night--I'm sure we took what amounts to a short film's worth of still shots. Stay tuned for the links for those, if you're into that kind of thing.