to get keith folkey: (v) to lose all cartilageAs aforementioned, I was at last night's game in Oakland. And after a weekend of any-port-in-a-storm watching the Giants and Padres series on TV ** while watching the Sox drop two painful games to the Mariners on ESPN Gamecast, I needed it. Some notes about the game and being part of the visiting team:
1. As far as being a Sox fan at an As game, it's ... not that hard. When I'm at Fenway, I always see fans of the visiting team rushing up to greet each other and exchange high fives like refugees stuck in a foreign country where they don't speak the language. There wasn't much of that going on last night because Sox fans were at least 50% of the attendees.
2. With the few fellow fans I actually did chat with, I felt a little bad admitting that I'm just visiting the Bay Area and actually live in spitting distance of Fenway. Boston plays, what, six games in Oakland this year? Everybody there had a game-of-the-season attitude, particularly all the awesome wretches in my section, which was, I'm not kidding, probably 85% Sox fans, to the point that there was a family of As fans in the row behind me, who spent most of the night complaining that the rowdiness of the visiting fans was ruining their enjoyment of the game. Apparently "enjoyment of the game" = "sitting quietly, complaining that Frank Thomas isn't earning his keep and eating their chicken caesar wraps," but, hey, what do I know? Other favorite things about my sectionmates: loud, obnoxious "Let's go, Red Sox!" chants pretty much every inning, my father suggesting that we try to start an a capella "Sweet Caroline" in the eighth, a drunk Oakland fan arguing with a bunch of drunk Sox fans about the tuck rule (!!!!!), some guy wearing the requisite Sonny McLean's t-shirt, everybody heckling Milton Bradley to see if we could get him to flip the bird.
3. Was pleased to see Tek catching for Beckett -- Dougie caught his last start, which had me vaguely worried that Tek and Beckett weren't getting along because Beckett likes to shake off calls.
4. A.Gon! I mean, what the hell? Remember when the situation was so dire that little kids across New England were spending their birthday candle wishes on the hope that he might someday hit .250?
5. Our seats were right behind the visitor's bullpen, which meant I couldn't create my own bullpen cam, but we had a nice view anytime anyone came out. Timlin came out at one point in the fifth to say hello to a Coliseum employee he seemed to know, and everyone was whistling and trying to take pictures of him with their camera phones, and the lovely As fans I mentioned earlier said, "What are they all so excited about? Isn't that just the set-up guy?" Timlin, of course, promptly climbed into the stands and slept with his wife.
6. Just like the last time I was at Fenway, Papelbon came out during the seventh for his jogging and his deep knee bends, and just like the last time I was at Fenway, he was the only one of three relievers to do any calisthenics. When he was warming up in the eighth, the guy sitting next to me said, "I don't understand why he's putting him in, it's not exactly a save situation." And I said that I thought he was probably going to get sent in because he hasn't worked in five days, and we don't want him to get -- at this point I trailed off because the word "rusty" had momentarily left my brain, and the guy said, "Keith Foulkey?" Exactly. Papelbon, baby, you do as many deep knee bends as you want, if it keeps you from getting all Keith Foulkey.
** In re: the Giants v. Padres, it was one of my favorite kinds of regular season situations: the series between the first and second place teams in a division where the number of games between them in the standings is less than the number of games they're going to play, thus allowing the Giants to hang on to the NL West lead for, oh, about eighteen hours. However! The lead-off hitter for the Padres is, of course, none other than St. Dave Roberts of the stolen base. So every time he came up to bat, I felt a little bit touched by a higher power. In the eighth inning of the Sunday game, he was trying to steal first and the announcers mentioned his most famous stolen base, arguably the most famous stolen base in Red Sox history, and just the memory of it was good. It was real good.