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Mon, Oct. 20th, 2008, 04:05 pm
Thanks for the condolences

But I'm doing okay.  The way I look at it, the last two games were bonus games for us fans, and the Rays really showed that they were the better team, this year.  Who'd have thunk?

So I'll be going through this adjustment period I go through every year to re-acclimate to a world without baseball.  Did you guys know there's this kinda important election coming up in a couple of weeks?  And that the world's economy is in a "slump"?  Oh, and apparently, there was this big Greek sporting event that took place in this big east Asian country earlier in the summer where this one guy won, like, 8 gold medals or something.  Crazy!

But for now, it's goodbye to Fenway, Fenway Franks, nachos grande, kettle corn, ice cream in a helmet, batting practice, the wave, Napoleon, Sweet Caroline, Cherub Rock, Shipping Up to Boston, Wild Thing, Okidokie, the bullpen band, Blame It On the Rain, Green Monster, Number 6, Pedie, Big Papi, Mikey, Yooooooooouk, Lowrie, Coco, JD, Jay Bay, Jacoby, Justin, and Cinco Ocho.  Thanks for giving us so much, and I'll see you next year!



And only 4 months until Spring Training, and 3.5 months until Truck Day!!!

Fri, Oct. 17th, 2008, 10:37 am
A Game Worth Staying For

Okay, first of all, thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you so much for the tickets, Sophia!  Secondly, I'm writing this on less than 4 hours sleep because I could hardly fall asleep with all the adrenaline running through my veins and woke up before 6 am this morning because it was still there.

So right before the game, I was actually getting kind of emotional, or as I explained to Paul and Josh, "feeling like a girl".  After all, this was most likely my last game at Fenway this year, and even possibly the last game, period, at Fenway this year.  And if I cried at all, I told Ethan that they would be "manly tears", but in fact they ended up being tears of joy.  ^_^

Our seats were fantastic again, five rows up behind the Rays' bullpen.  And look, we even had two very special surprises waiting for us there.

Section 42 Row 7 Seat 24
click here for a larger view
 
What's different about these seats...?
Can you tell what's different about these seats?
 
Cupholders!
Cupholders!!!

Since my first time in the bleachers I've been saying that they needed cupholders.  I mean, even Wrigley had them way up in the nosebleeds; so why can't we have them in America's most beloved ballpark?  They were only installed in a few seats (we had the only 2 in our section, and there were a few more in the adjacent section) as a test to see if they would be ripped off, according to the staff gal we talked to.

I remembered to bring a spare ball to the game (you know, in case I ended up catching a Rays' homerun ball and needed to throw one back, and btw, we also asked security if they do throw people out for doing that and the answer is yes) so I tried a few fun shots.

A close one
Whew, that was a close one!
 
Another close one
Even closer!

Red Sox Earrings
The new earrings

Okay, so you probably already know that the Rays were up 7-0 by the middle of the 7th.  The night up 'til then was kinda surreal because I just couldn't believe it was happening, again.  But I made extra special care not to say things like, "what am I going to do after tonight?" and instead said, "what am I going to do after the season is over?"  Most of the crowd was getting really agitated (and some even left in the 6th or so) and people were getting kicked out left and right for unruly behavior.  This guy that had front row seats in the section next to us apparently heckled one of the Fenway security guys in the Rays' bullpen and got kicked out.  Sensing an opportunity, I ran down and snagged the empty seat.

Front Row again
Notice the cast, it's important later on

And that's when the Sox decided to call it a comeback.  First Pedroia singled Lowrie in, and then Papi hit a 3-run homer, all with 2 outs.  The guys sitting behind me called me a lucky charm, and I think they were right because in the next inning Drew hit a 2-run homer, and then Crisp tied the game by batting Kotsay in.  I was jumping up and down and screaming so loud I had no idea why the Rays' outfield was running into their dugout and why the Sox were running out to take the field.  (In fact, my mind had pretty much exploded after Pedroia's RBI, and I didn't even remember that it was Papi that had hit the homer in the 7th until Annie mentioned it to me later at home.)  And before I get to the 9th, let me just say Francona putting Papelbon in in the 7th was brilliant.  And then Masterson performed beautifully forcing Upton into a double play to end the top of the 9th.

Up on our feet
click here for a larger view

So by now everyone was standing up, even the guy with the cast and crutches that was in front of me.  (Now I don't have any photographic evidence, but I'm pretty sure that by the end of the game the guys that were in the wheelchairs to the right of me were jumping up and down too.)  And then Pedroia and Papi are out, and I'm getting mentally prepared to bunker down for extra innings, but then Youk hits a single and reaches second on an error by the guy that everyone keeps talking about as a prime candidate for the AL Rookie of the Year.  And then Bay comes up, but they intentionally walk him, and then, and then Drew--Mister J-D-freaking-Drew--drives Youk home for the walk-off win.  FTW!!!!!

Cheering
 
Red Sox Win!

"Dirty Water" and "Tessie" never sounded so sweet.  =)  I was in such euphoria that it wasn't until after I had already walked across the Mass Ave. bridge that I realized I hadn't said goodbye to Fenway yet.  So here is my last parting shot of my second favorite place of worship.

Goodbye, Fenway
Thanks for the memories!

But that's not all, folks.  Turns out Ethan and I made it onto national television, and here's a screencap by Ethan:

Screencap of Ethan and I on TBS
If you can't find us, click here.

It's from the game-winning play of the night, so you should be able to find it on redsox.com and espn.com.  Oh, and Piney heard this on NESN, and I just had to share it:

On October 17, 2003 at 12:16am, the Red Sox were dealt with their most painful loss since 1986 with a walkoff HR in Game 7 of the ALCS from Aaron Boone.

On October 17, 2008 at 12:16am, the Red Sox capped off one of the greatest comebacks in playoff history with a walkoff single from JD Drew.
 
I still remember the walk home that night in 2003, and I don't think I'll ever forget the walk home last night.  Thank you, Jesus!

Wed, Oct. 15th, 2008, 04:38 pm
A reaction to ALCS Game 4

I was lucky enough to be picked for a last chance on-line purchase opportunity and got 3rd row bleacher tickets for the game.  Now 3rd row bleacher tickets to any game is pretty darn good, but for an ALCS game?  It can't be beat. 

Section 42 Row 5 Seat 20
click here for a larger view
 
But as you probably know, the Rays ended up winning 13-4, and thousands of fans left the game early with some booing of the home town team involved.  Now this is a pretty good study in personalities.  You could view the game as a complete blow out and waste of your time and money.  Or you could view it as your last chance to watch your team at home in a playoff game on a beautiful October night (seriously, I didn't even put on my jacket!).  Sigh, it's like people don't even remember what it was like to be a Red Sox fan pre-2004.  Needless to say, I stuck through 'til the end and eventually ended up with a front row seat right up against the Rays' bullpen. 

PA140997
 
Front Row
click here for a larger view

So now we're down 3-1, but hello?!  Do people not remember what happened in the 2004 ALCS?  The 2007 ALCS?  Sure, the team's pretty beat up, but they're still the mother-effing Red Sox.  And you know what, if they do end up losing again tomorrow, I'm still going to stand up at the very end and give them a standing ovation.  Because, seriously?  As much as I hate to say it, the Rays earned their wins, but I'm a Red Sox fan, and that means standing by them through thick and thin and sickness and health and good and bad.

More pictures here.

Mon, Oct. 6th, 2008, 01:36 pm
Red Sox vs. Angels

Here, 162 Isn't Enough
And apparently 165 isn't enough, either

So the outcome of last night's game sucked, but you know what, looking back on the entire, what, 5 hours plus (not counting the 2 hours of BP and pre-game we caught)?  I'm just so glad I could be there.  It was my first post-season game ever, thanks to Yumi who won the chance to buy the tickets and gave them to me!  Since Annie was already going with Dan, I took Ethan to the game (thanks, Jackie, for always being so willing to lend your man =P).  It was a cold, cold night, but I was prepared and brought my ski jacket, gloves, scarf, blanket, and goggles.  Unfortunately I didn't get to use my goggles.  =( 
 
The first glimpse
The first breathtaking glimpse

Our tickets were for the Right Field Grandstand Section 6.  I had been getting pretty good seats in the RF GS, but this one was really bad for me because it was a little lower and the seats faced center field so not only did I not have enough elevation to look over people's heads, but I had an entire row of people's heads to look over to see home plate.

RF GS Section 6
This was taken with my hands up in the air (click here for larger image)

Luckily, Ethan had found a pair of seats in Box 90 with a much better view.
 
View from Box 90
Ignore the ghostly concession vendor (click here for a larger image)

I have to admit, watching Beckett struggle through the first inning was not fun.  Has he ever walked a runner home in a post-season game?  Ugh.  But Ellsbury's little 3 RBI blooper was a joyful surprise; I've never seen runners run so early in a pitch, even if it was 3-2 with 2 outs. 

Then came the long wait as the Halos tied it up, then went ahead, and then lost the lead again.  I swear, I've been to Fenway 48 times (yes, I counted) but I don't think I ever heard Fenway as loud as it was at the bottom of the 10th with the bases loaded.  Unfortunately it was all for naught, and 5 hours and 19 minutes after it had started, the game was over with the Sox losing 5-4.

But, I did get to see the K-Men again with their BecKKKett sign, the dancing Papelbon, and a new Pedroia for MVP placard.  And thanks to Ethan, the vegetarian, I discovered that you can ask for the chili to be served on the side of the nachos grande.  So basically you're getting a cup of chili and a huge bowl (think face sized) of nachos, cheese sauce, salsa, sour cream, and olives for $7.50.  So worth it, especially since they usually put the chili at the bottom of the bowl and by the time you get down there it's all cold and you're not that hungry anymore.

So here's hoping they win tonight and go to Game 5 in the ALCS so I can go to another game at Fenway (courtesy of slai)!

ETA:  Ha, I just got an e-mail saying I won the "last chance on-line purchase opportunity" for ALCS home game 2.  Hopefully there will be some reasonably priced tickets left....

Mon, Sep. 29th, 2008, 01:15 pm
(What was supposed to be) the last regular season Red Sox game of the year

I got to enjoy another Red Sox Yankees game from the Monster yesterday courtesy of Ethan and Nate.  It was supposed to be the last regular season game of the year, but because of Saturday's rainout, it ended up being the first game of a doubleheader.  It would've provided some nice symmetry to the season since I had gone to the home opener this year, but I'm not going to complain.  After all, Friday's rain delay pushed the retirement of Pesky's number to the game I went to so yay!

Here, Our Fans Set Records Too
New billboard outside of Fenway
 
Before
The unveiling of the new retired number
 
After
Ta-da!

When we first got there it wasn't raining, but it started coming down right after the retirement ceremony so we ended up with an hour rain delay.  We had scored some primo standing room spots so instead of heading in, we just hung out up there sheltered under umbrellas and raincoats.  Luckily it wasn't too cold or windy so it wasn't too bad. 
 
Another view from the Monster seats
click here for larger image

About two-thirds of the way through the game, this couple sitting in front of us left so we commandeered their seats, and I got to watch the rest of the game sitting on the Monster!  Unfortunately the Sox ended up losing to that team that is now homeless and jobless for the rest of the year.  But then they came back in Game 2 and won in spectacular walk off fashion.  So excuse me now while I go pray for Josh Beckett's oblique, thank Yumi for getting ALDS Game 3 tickets for me, and watch this video again and again.

Help yourself to some more pictures here.

Wed, Sep. 17th, 2008, 05:58 pm
How to score Red Sox tickets

I've been blessed enough to be able to go to 10+ Red Sox games each season for the last four seasons, and that's no small feat considering I've never bought a scalped ticket, only twice paid more than face value for a ticket, and the last 460+ games at Fenway have been sold out. Here are my tips for how you, too, can score Red Sox tickets:

 

1) Sign up to receive e-mails from redsox.com. Sure, it's annoying to get more bacn, but it is the best way to find out when the tickets go on sale at redsox.com for the upcoming season.

2) Be patient (part 1). Keep in mind that you will be spending money on tickets that you will not be using for five to eight months. You need to be okay with this. The last couple of years, the regular season tickets have gone on sale over 3 phases: April, May, and September games go on sale in early December, the rest of the season will go on sale in mid- to late January, and the premium games (Yankees, Opening Day, Patriots Day, etc.) and premium seats (Monster seats, Right Field Roof Deck, etc.) go on sale separately and are only accessible via winning an on-line drawing. The e-mails from redsox.com let you know when all of these chances open up and remind you to sign up for the drawings.

3) Be patient (part 2). So now that you know the day that the tickets go on sale at redsox.com, plan on spending most of that day in the vicinity of your computer. I'm not saying you have to be staring at your monitor for hours on end, but make sure it's in your line of sight as you do other things like watch tv, laundry, clean, cook, etc. Once you log in, you will be shunted to the dreaded Virtual Waiting Room which automatically reloads every 30 seconds or so. You will be randomly chosen to leave the VWR and sent to the page where you can buy tickets so it doesn't really matter if you log on later in the day or have been in there for hours. However, you have zero chance of scoring good tickets if you don't try to get in the first hour or so. You can also try using multiple computers and/or different browsers to increase your chances of getting out of the VWR sooner.

And while you're in the VWR, you may as well read the fine print. For the past couple of years, you were limited to buying a total of 4 tickets per game, and I think during the initial sales you were limited to 2 games (8 tickets total). Also, the name on the credit card, billing address, and shipping address for the tickets all have to match the info on your mlb.com account. I've gotten around this by asking close friends and family members for their cc info and then paying them back for the tickets. Which leads me to the next tip.

4) Have really good friends, good friends with good friends, and co-workers with season tickets. Seriously, almost half of the games I go to are through tickets that my friends have given/sold to me.  And I really, really appreciate it, everyone! Keep them coming!

5) Be proactive. It helps to be known as a rabid Red Sox fan so that anytime your friends come across an extra ticket, they immediately think of you.

6) Be willing to go to games by yourself. It is so much easier to buy single tickets, either through redsox.com or on craigslist.

7) Be willing to travel. It is also a lot easier to buy tickets for the Red Sox when they are away. Camden Yards is a beautiful place to catch a Red Sox game, and I had a great time at Comerica Park earlier this year.

8) Be willing to stand. Standing Room Only tickets are sometimes all that's left at the end of the day when you (finally) get past the VWR. Even when I've been stuck with these tickets (also the cheapest tickets there are) I've never had to stand the entire game because there are always empty seats somewhere in Fenway. In fact, I often get to sit in better seats than I would ever have gotten myself this way. In the same vein, the Upper Bleachers are also cheap tickets that aren't as bad as they sound. Sure you're about as far away as you can get from home plate, but this is Fenway, and Fenway is small.

9) Be willing to splurge. If a friend offers you a Green Monster SRO ticket for a Red Sox Yankees game for three times it's face value (because he got it from an auction), you say yes. Or you tell me about it so that I can say yes.

10) Be flexible and decisive. There have been times when an opportunity to go to a game reveals itself the morning of. You've got to be able to jump on those opportunities without taking the time to think too much or the chance will be gone.

11) Be generous. One man gives freely, yet gains even more; another withholds unduly, but comes to poverty. - Proverbs 11:24 I truly, truly believe that all these games that I have been able to go to have been a gift from God, and in accordance, I like to give back. Although I have learned not to bring a pastor who is rooting for the opposing team. That never ends well for the Red Sox.

Tue, Sep. 9th, 2008, 10:06 am
No, thank *you*, Red Sox

So once I figured out that last night's game was going to be the record-breaking 456th consecutive sell out at Fenway, I just knew I had to be there.  I scoured craigslist and found someone selling a single ticket for face value.  Yay!  I decided to head over straight from work and try to catch some BP and whatever other festivities they might have going on to celebrate.  Since I had just gotten a new cell phone, I wanted to grab a head-on shot from the bleachers for my wallpaper, so I headed over to Gate C. 

After the usual bag check and ticket scanning, I get handed this nice laminated piece of cardboard.

IMG_3971  IMG_3973

Cool, right?  But then I looked around to see who was handing them out.

Masterson and Lopez
Relief pitchers Justin Masterson and Javier Lopez

Okay, this is just getting surreal.  And wow, those two are really tall in person!  And then something really, really, really, really awesome happened.  So awesome you'll have to ask me about it in person because it's too awesome to write about.  *squee!*

So of course I figure I should check out the other entrances to see which other players might be handing out these commemorative tickets.  I saw Dwight Evans signing autographs and David Pauley at Gate B.  I walked all the way around to Gate E without seeing anyone else only to see Casey, Lowrie, and Kotsay walk across the field from the dugout towards Gate C.  So I hustle back to Gate C and grab these shots.

Casey and Lowrie
Casey and Lowrie

Kotsay
Kotsay

Mark Kotsay was kinda standing by himself, and I don't think many people recognized him since he is so new to the Red Sox.  I asked him for a picture and he turned around to smile, only to stick his tongue out at the last second.  Hee.  And yes, I should have turned the flash on, but I didn't want to blind him before the game or anything, y'know?

Then I headed back in to watch the Rays BP from Section 40.  This guy next to me asked for one of the balls that went into bullpen so that he could give it to this girl who was at Fenway for the first time.  At first I thought he was her sister or something, but it turned out he was just being nice.  I think the girl's father bought him a grilled sandwich or something to thank him.  But then later on when the father caught another ball, he gave it to his girl, who automatically gave it to this little boy that was near her, and I'm pretty sure they weren't related or anything.  It was so cute!  Turns out he already had another ball, too, so he in turn went to find another kid to give it to.  Okay, this is why I love Fenway.  And why I need to get a kid.

Then it was finally time for the pre-game ceremonies.  They showed this video thanking the fans for the new record.  Heehee, it was cool to see parts of games that I had been at--the AL East clincher, 2008 home opener, Lester's no-hitter.  And then the ceremonial first pitch was thrown by 3 people:  one lady held the oldest-known season ticket account (since 1935!), one kid was born on May 15, 2003 (the day the streak started), and one guy was chosen at random.  And then as the starting line-up took the field, they threw out these special baseballs that were engraved and signed and stuff.  Unfortunately I didn't catch one, but that's okay.  Ooh, and apparently all the names of people who have bought Red Sox tickets during the streak will be compiled and sent to the Baseball Hall of Fame.  So yay, I'll be in the Baseball Hall of Fame!  Oh yeah, and they showed this video (yes, I had to break it into two because the lady next to me couldn't wait until the end to go to the bathroom, sigh) sometime in the middle of the 5th or 6th inning.  You can see a non-blurry version here, but I like my version because you can see the reasons why they're saying thank you on the side.  =)

The game itself was super fast as the Lester and Paps blanked the Rays, and all 3 runs that the Red Sox scored were in the first inning.  I'm so glad I got to see Papelbon come out again.  There's nothing like singing "Shipping Out to Boston" with 36 thousand other fans as your closer warms up on the mound.  And now we're only a half game back behind the Rays!  Oh yeah, and another guy asked me for my number.  I'm 2-for-2!  Although the guys are 0-2.  But keep trying!

Wed, Sep. 3rd, 2008, 09:09 pm
Red Sox vs. Orioles (times two)

So as of yesterday morning I thought that last night's game was going to be my last Red Sox game of the season.  But then I checked to see if there were any single tickets left for the last non-Yankees home game of the season, and there were!  And it was in the section I had sat in on Saturday that I liked.  Even better, one of my project managers came around asking me if she could convince me to take this afternoon off to see the day game.  And I am not ashamed to say that she was able to.

Ryan, Austin, and Andy joined me for last night's game.  I had home plate standing room only tickets, but we were able to find some empty seats in the infield grandstand.  By the end of the fourth inning the Sox had spanked the Orioles 10-1 with Pedroia hitting a 3-run home run.  Unfortunately the boys had to go home right then, but I stayed through until the end of the 8th.  Somewhere before the 7th inning stretch this random guy sat down behind me and asked me if I thought the Red Sox could possibly take the division.  I answered that I didn't know but acknowledged that the Yankees had the lead over the Rays at the moment and that we still had 6 more games against the Rays so it was anyone's guess.  He seemed pretty impressed that I knew what I was talking about and by the end of the inning we had both moved down into the loge boxes.  Of course he tried to ask me out before I left, but I told him my rule about only dating men who were Christians and serious about their faith.  Too bad he didn't pass because he was 1) not drunk, 2) well-mannered, and 3) didn't beg.  I hate it when they beg.  It's so unbecoming.

Section 17
If you watch NESN you'll recognize this view cuz the camera was right behind me

Went with Tina Lee to today's game.  The weather was perfect--sunny with just a few clouds, high 70s-low 80s.  And it turns out today's game was the 455th consecutive sell out at Fenway, which ties the old record set in Jacobs Field.  I'll be kind of sad when they break the record on Monday because I was part of the old record in Cleveland, and it means so much more:  Jacobs Field is a lot bigger, less people live in Cleveland, and it's really all Cleveland had going for it.  Oh well; now I'm trying to find a single ticket to Monday's game so I can be there for another historic event.  Plus, I really want to crush the Rays.  I think it's high time for a collapse.  Anyways, the Red Sox were trailing 4-0 for most of the game, tied it 4-4 in the bottom of the 8th, and won on a walk-off error.  Pedroia scored the first run for the Sox with another homer.  That kid is unstoppable!  =)

Fun Fenway Fact #455:  They play the score from Pirates of the Caribbean when the bullpen pitchers walk from the dugout to the bullpen since they have the whole pirates theme going on over there.  I just figured that out myself yesterday.

Sat, Aug. 30th, 2008, 08:41 am
Red Sox vs. White Sox

I've been lucky enough to see Papelbon and Buccholz's first start in the majors in the last couple of years, so I was pretty psyched to see Bowden's first start last night.  Thanks, Ethan, for the tickets!  There's just something so exciting about watching a pitcher's first start, with everyone concentrating so intently on every pitch, cheering so enthusiastically for every strike, and watching the ERA stay at zero or fall with every batter retired.

I was really looking forward to checking out the new all-you-can-eat BBQ buffet out on the left field deck as well.

Left field deck bbq buffet menu
The menu

But after I saw the menu and the price, I decided it wouldn't be worth it for me.  Now if there had been all-you-can-eat ice cream thrown in, I would've been down fo sho.  But let's face it, there's no way I can eat $30 worth of bbq chicken or hot dogs.  Instead, I settled for picking up a slice of Gino's cheese pizza, kettle korn, fresh lemonade, and one Fenway frank.  =)

Bowden had a quality start, and the Red Sox offense provided plenty of offensive support with Pedey (in the clean up spot for the first time!) going 4-for-4 and Ellsbury going 3-5.  And I finally got to see Masterson pitch in person for the first time!  Yay!

I always thought I hated the right field grandstand seats, partly because they all face the Monster instead of home plate, but Section 4, which admittedly is about as far away as you can get from home plate, at least angles the seats so that they face it.  And even though I was in the very last row and there was a beam partly obscuring my view, it was still decent enough that I stayed there until the very last out of the game.

Fenway from right field grandstand
View from Section 4, Row 17 (click for a larger version)

And here's a shot of the Pesky Pole that I really like:

Pesky Pole

Alas, I think Tuesday's game will be my last of the season.  =(

Sat, Aug. 2nd, 2008, 11:13 am
Dodgers vs. Diamondbacks

So after I found out Manny had been traded to the Dodgers, I realized I wanted to see a Dodgers game after all while I was in town.  Luckily, tickets were still available the night before and Kristine was willing to come with me! 

In true LA sports scene fashion, we got to our seats at the end of the 4th inning, but that was mostly due to traffic and being stuck in the garlic fries line for TWO AND A HALF INNINGS.  Seriously, the lady behind the counter was not very efficient.  At least there were tvs by the stands so we could watch what was going on.  And the garlic fries were pretty darn good.  I can still taste them this morning.  =)

Me and Kristine
Kristine and I with our garlic fries

So I don't actually remember very much about the game except that it ended up being a sold out game and the Dodgers lost. 
Also, Fenway Franks beat Dodger Dogs any day.  The fans seemed to like Manny, and I realized I have a healthy appreciation for heights.  We sat up in the Lower Reserve section which is still on the 3rd tier.  I don't think we have any seats in Fenway that are that high!

Dodger Stadium

Anyways, I'm glad God gave me a chance to say goodbye to Manny.  I hope he does well in LA!

Manny at the plate
Perhaps my last time seeing Manny at the plate

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