Strangers in an unholy land?

My wife’s family is from Fall River Mass – which makes her a Red Sox fan. To drive this point home, we only bought tickets for 2 baseball games this season; May 11 against the Cardinals (when the athlete masquerading as a ML pitcher named Kip Wells lost 6-0) and today against the Red Sox. So we take you live to PETCO Park in Downtown San Diego!

Yep that’s the AL’s best warming up. Note, again, the outstanding seat location – Section 114. Eat THAT, Withleather.com!

It’s ‘Padres Trading Cards and Storage Cubes for Kids (presented by Upper Deck)’ day at the ballpark. My wife asks if she can have one. Dude tells her they’re for kids. She points to her belly (6 months pregnant). Dude smiles and hands it over. Moral: If you don’t ask, you never know.

Game synopsis:

SD Lineup: Against the AL’s best, Padre manager Bud Black decides to sit the Giles brothers and Josh Bard, his first stringers in RF, 2B, and C. In hindsight, not a good move.
BOS Lineup: Francona, not messing around, plays all his regulars, except Dustin Pedroia, thereby saving me an 0-4 on my fantasy team. Thanks Terry!

First Inning: Jake Peavy hits Alex Cora, a harbinger (as it turned out) of his afternoon. Beckett looks sharp, retiring the side in order.

Second Inning: Peavy gets JD Drew to ground meekly to 1B Adrian Gonzalez, who underhands to Peavy for the out. Peavy falls down as he gets to first, probably because Drew yelled “I suck!” as he got to the bag. Check that – Drew would have to give a shit first.
– Jason Varitek bloops a ball down the third base line. Khalil Greene gives a half-ass effort until he realizes LF Russell “Frankenstein” Branyan has no play, then kicks it into gear. Result: Ball falls harmlessly fair, Branyan and Greene collide. Varitek ends up at third, as Peavy hits the deck again (trying to tag him out). Padre 3B Kouzmanoff, apparently, decided to get a beer as the play started, making no effort to catch the ball and then making no effort to cover third. The hit is charitably scored a Triple. This will also be a recurring theme. Peavy strands the BoSox Captain at third. Beckett gives up a two-out single to Frankenstein but works around it.

Third Inning: Peavy is betrayed by his defense (and some good hitting by Boston), giving up 3 runs. Boston goes with the pitch, hitting to the opposite field to get 5 hits in the inning. Could have been a lot less, if the following things hadn’t happened. (a) If CF Mike Cameron hadn’t been playing Coco Crisp like he was the second coming of Babe Ruth. (b) If RF Jose Cruz JR had attempted to throw out Alex Cora at home. He’s playing Right – best arm in the OF, right? Instead, he caught Ramirez’s fly ball…. crow hop…..crow hop….throws to second. What the hell was that? (c) If 2B Geoff Blum hadn’t kicked JD Drew’s slow roller to second. There were 2 out at the time, would have ended the inning. CHARITABLY scored an infield single (pretty sure the official scorer is a Boston Ex-Pat. Or was taking booooooong hits between pitches). (d) Cruz had tried to get to Lowell’s soft liner RBI single. A little effort (perhaps a slide/dive?) and he can catch that ball. Wow. Varitek hits the hardest ball in the inning and lines out to Frankenstein (who made a nice running catch). Beckett gives up a leadoff single to Blum, who advances to third with 2 out and is left.

Fourth Inning: Beckett singles and Cora walks, but Big Papi flies to RF to end the threat. Greene doubles to left with two out, but is stranded.
– Why is it that the ‘MAKE NOISE’ sign comes on everytime Peavy gets 2 strikes on a hitter? Are Padres fans that slow they can’t think for themselves?
– Marine Corps hymn is played in the middle of the 4th. This pisses off the guy next to me. Why? He’s a Marine (quote: “those guys are recruits! Not real Marines!”) High comedy.

– Fifth Inning: Peavy gives up 2 singles to start the inning, but gets out of it. Beckett, still with a 3-0 lead, has his ‘I’m Keith Hernandez!’ moment for this game, giving up a 2-run double to Termel Sledge. Sledge eventually gets to third with one out, but is left.
– My wife gets drilled with a novelty ball, courtesy of the Pad Squad.

Sixth through eighth inning: Peavy’s gone after 5. Beckett sets down 9 of 10 after Sledge’s double. In the top of eight, Linebrink comes in and grooves a 3-0 fastball to Varitek, who launches it 422 feet into the sandbox. 4-2 Red Sox. PETCO erupts. Beckett pitches the eighth even though Hideki Okajima is ready. Gets a Standing Ovation from the Red Sox faithful at the end of the inning.
– Conservatively, there were 25,000 Sox fans in the park out of 44,449 paid customers. And they were loud at the right times.

– Ninth Inning: Trevor Hoffman comes in to pitch. No one at PETCO notices (except your correspondent, of course) until he’s announced. Then there’s a cheer. I officially think all Padres fans are dead from the neck up. Hoffman introduces himself to David Ortiz: 87 MPH fastball (strike 1), 72 MPH change (strike 2), 72 MPH change (sit down). Ortiz never took the bat off his shoulder. Beautiful.

That’s Papi with the ‘what the hell just happened’ look?

– Paplebon runs in from the pen. PETCO again erupts. Grudging respect for Boston fans: they pay attention, and know the game. This will be the last complement paid during this post. Frankenstein works the count 3-2 before striking out. Kouzmanoff is overmatched. Blum grounds weakly to second.

4-2 is the final.

We adjourn to Ghiradelli’s chocolate store so the wife can celebrate her win, and then TGIF’s for copious amounts of beer to mourn another NL team losing to an AL team. Crap.

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