September 05, 2005

Doing it the Fen Way: A Night in Red Sox Nation

The OCC’s summer ballpark tour made a stop at Fenway Park this weekend, most likely the last regular season game on the schedule for yours truly (games at the pit known as Shea Stadium notwithstanding). As usual, paper and pen, at least figuratively speaking, were right alongside beer and brat. Here are my thoughts from a September Saturday night at Fenway:

-Steve Trachsel may be the most notoriously slow-working pitcher in all of baseball, but when it comes to slothful deliveries, Matt Clement is right there with him. And Orioles’ lefty Erik Bedard – Clement’s opponent on Saturday – isn’t much quicker. With men on base, Clement was taking close to 30 seconds from the moment he got the ball to the time he delivered the pitch. Doesn’t seem like that long, but I assure you it’s an eternity. Pacing around the mound, looking in for the sign, coming to the stretch position and just…holding it for a few…more…seconds. T-t-t-t-today, JUNIOR! To give you an idea how bad things were, the first inning took 30 minutes, and not a single run scored. Something’s gotta be done about guys like this, because they are truly awful to watch, and at moments during Saturday night’s game I could understand how people say they hate baseball. The problem is, having a “shot clock” to determine how long a pitcher has to get rid of the ball is so contrary to what baseball is all about – the game is unique because it has no clock. But darned if I didn’t want to run out to the mound and take an electric shock prod to Clement’s ass to try to bring the guy to life.

-The defending World Series champs may be sitting in first place again, but don’t think for a second that all the success has made Red Sox fans jaded. Sharp contrast to my visit to Citizen’s Bank Park earlier this summer, where the near sold-out Philly crowd seemed to be in a mildly angry daze. The fans at Fenway, on the other hand, were excitable to the point of being irritating. Not that fan enthusiasm is a bad thing, and I’m all for applauding great plays and big moments, but perhaps we could dial it down a notch on the routine fly balls caught by Johnny Damon. Also, though I can’t stand the Wave, I’ll admit that the Boston version encompassing the entire stadium was amusing…until about the eighth time around. I think I missed an entire half inning of action on the field because I was so distracted by the cascade of rising persons roaring through the stands.

-Went to the game with a friend of mine who recently tore his Achilles, and let me just say – having seen the lengthy string of stitches going up the back of his heel – this is one particular injury Dr. OCC would recommend avoiding. On the bright side, as my friend proved this weekend, a torn Achilles (and a pair of crutches) won’t completely derail your athletic activity: it’s still possible to play croquet.

-And while we’re on the subject of crutches, I have to ask the question: In a society that’s created technological advances such as the autogiro and the car wash, can’t we do better than a pair of crutches for a leg injury? Not only do the things tear gashes into your armpits befitting a medieval torture device and make going up or down a flight of stairs a far more dangerous endeavor than whatever injured you in the first place, but crutches may constitute the slowest form of transportation outside of a rickshaw pulled by a two-toed tree sloth. (And yes, I’m aware that’s two references to sloths in the same post, both with negative connotations, which begs the question: Do we ever, in any circumstances, have anything nice to say about sloths?)

-There are archaic laws and regulations in this country that still make sense, such as chopping off someone’s hands when they steal from you (What’s that? We don’t actually do that here?), but I cannot understand the Fenway Park practice of not having beer vendors come around the aisles and sell brewskies to people in their seats. Sure, I get that the idea is to deter heavy drinking by making people get up to buy beer themselves, and I suppose considering how lazy we Americans are as a society, in theory it’s a good idea, but the fact is, when sports fans want their booze, they’re going to get it. If you’re going to sell beer on the grounds, might as well join the rest of modern stadium society and make it convenient to access.

-Getting back to the action on the field (sorry, I got distracted – blame it on the Wave), the Red Sox 7-6 win on this night seemed a perfect microcosm of the Boston ballclub’s chances for a World Series repeat. The team’s offense is unbelievable, but if the pitching – in particular Curt Schilling at the front of the rotation and Keith Foulke at the end of the game – can’t recapture some semblance of the form it showed last year, this team could be in trouble come October.


Blogger Frank G Yak said...

I agree with you 100 percent about beer service at Fenway -- but the problem is more Massachusetts than Fenway. Two others --

In Mass they cannot offer drink specials or discounted drinks (no happy hours).

Liquor Stores are not allowed to be open on Sunday

Also another side note, having just returned from Central America, Sloths are really rather remarkable and fascinating animals. Supposedly, they only come out of the trees once a week to defecate, other than that they remain in the trees and eat insects constantly.

3:13 PM, September 06, 2005  
Blogger The OCC said...

Didn't really realize it was a Massachusetts issue, not a Fenway issue. Even so, Mass sports teams ought get with the program and make something happen.

On a more important note, why can't the sloths just defecate from their perch in the tree?

12:08 AM, September 08, 2005  

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