Wednesday night's game turned out to be a near-rerun of Tuesday night's walkoff victory, except this time it was 2-1, I wasn't in attendance at the game, and it was Jason Varitek instead of Kevin Youkilis filling the role of Big Stud with the Big Hit.
And it was a studly hit, bounding with authority into center field while Manny hauled ass to score from second. Also in contrast to the previous night, Vernon Wells had not bobbled the first dribbling single hit his way in an attempt to score Jed Lowrie, and had cut the Sox rookie down at the plate with a surehanded throw. After Manny crossed the plate to finally shove that run across, he flung down his batting helmet, an exclamation point on the victory.
I've heard it said that it has been determined by scientists that if you were to model the entire history of baseball using a series of totally random coin tosses, you would essentially get the same historical record of statistics as actually exists. I can't help but think of that when I think about how a team with so much of the same personnel can have such a totally different character so early into a new season. Last year, I grudgingly got used to the fact that the Sox were not a big comeback team--this year, they seem to have done nothing but come back.
It has been exciting, but I'll also confess to some relief last night, when they finally laid a good old fashioned smackdown on somebody, that somebody being the Tampa Bay Rays, restoring some order to the universe after occupying the receiving end of last weekend's sweep.
After it was pointed out by a coworker that my attendance at the first of the five lost games last week may not have been coincidental, I predicted that my reappearance at the park Tuesday would be like a double negative, turning their luck again. I'm often mocked for my superstitiousness, but that night turned out to be the first of three victories this week and the consensus best game of the season so far. Now, it seems the reappearance of the Rays is having a similar effect, restoring the Sox to normal baseball just as they threw them off track in the previous series.
This is the thing about that series of random coin-tosses that make up baseball. Randomness is full of patterns.
I finally got around to editing, posting, labeling and tagging the last two weeks' worth of baseball photos on Flickr. Here are some highlights from Tuesday's Blue Jays game (click for photo page):
I also want to point out one more thing about Tuesday's game, now that I've watched the TV broadcast as well. I was particularly paying attention to Jonathan's inning, of course, and I was struck by the closeups the NESN cameras got of his reaction to Dustin Pedroia's showstopping play. Let's just say that if someone looked at me like this:
Somehow I don't think my first thought would be that congratulations were in order.
Way back in the hoary mists of last week, I took some photos of a game against the Angels, too:
Next item of business for me in this catch-up post is a blog recommendation.
I first discovered Magazine Man's blog in October 2005, after I wrote a post about the anniversary of Carlton Fisk's famous Game 6 home run in 1975. A commenter posted a link to MM's blog, specifically his post talking about the letters he had exchanged with Pudge as a kid. I got in contact with him right away to ask if he'd ever found the letters, particularly the reply he got from Fisk. He said no, and with my usual rationality I told him to PLEASE FIND IT. He promised to try.
Since then, I've kept up with MM's blog whenever I can. I've chuckled at stories about his kids' hjinks with the dog; gasped aloud at the quest he had to go on to save said dog from an unhinged former owner; joined his substantial audience in mourning when his parents were killed last year in an horrific car crash; and regardless of the subject, I have always, but always, thoroughly enjoyed his vivid and suspensful writing.
And finally, two and a half years after Carlton Fisk first brought us together, I got an email, this time from MM himself, telling me he had some news I might be interested in.
Dear [MM], I am 6' 2 1/2" and weigh 212 lbs. I was born in 1947, the day after Christmas, in Bellows Falls, Vt...
See his post for scans of the orginal letter and autographed picture, finally found.
Finally, a DVD recommendation. You might have dismissed the cheesily-titled sequel to the cheesily titled Still, We Believe movie that they're selling these days at the grocery store. And while admittedly, it is all those things, I picked up Blessed: Still, We Believe 2 at the Star market last week on a whim, and have not regretted it for a single moment.
The Beckett content alone, particularly his glowing remeniscences about Clay Buchholz's no-hitter, has to be seen to be believed. And if that's not enough to interest you, might I suggest the later scenes featuring a generous walk-on role for Billy Mueller? Between those things, plenty of drawling appearances by Jonathan Papelbon and the fact that just about every game they show on the DVD is one I attended last year, they might as well have titled this movie "Baseball Porn for Beth." So if you share any of my particular
obsessions interests when it comes to baseball, I'd recommend giving Blessed a gander.