Saturday, September 19, 2009

Catch a wave and you're sittin' on top of the world

This isn't the best Fenway wave I've ever seen, but I happened to be in the State Street Pavilion last week and recorded it. Then I felt like writing about waves. Why do people try to start a wave when the other team is up? It usually makes no sense, but this past Saturday night it did.

I was watching the Red Sox game in Baltimore in my mini sports bar setup downstairs. Three HD TV's with Surround Sound with the Sox game filling the room, plus a laptop with MLBTV showing the Angels-Rangers game. My wife was in the family room watching Lonesome Dove for what seemed like 8 hours.

The game was tied 3-3 at the time, and over the TV's I could hear a nice loud "Yooouuuuuuk" from the crowd of 39,000 as #20 stepped into the batter's box. Okay, he stepped halfway into the batter's box. I have a great view of home plate from Section 29 at Fenway, and in the first or second inning - before the chalk lines are obliterated - it's easy to see that Youk's back foot is well out of the box. He never gets called on it, though.

Back to the game. Youk has a chance to put the Sox ahead, and the crowd starts up a very decent wave. The best I've ever seen outside of Fenway. I should point out that in my ballgame experience, which includes seeing games at 35 Major League parks, you hardly ever see a wave anywhere but at Fenway. I saw a half-baked one last year in Seattle, but other than that nothing would qualify as even quarter-baked. This one in Baltimore was completely baked (see footnote below), and the reason was that probably 70% of the fans were Red Sox fans.

Why not? It's a great ballpark, you can fly on AirTran or Southwest for very little money if you book a couple of weeks out, and you can get great tickets directly from the Orioles web site. No need to pay the scalper rates they charge at Stub Hub.

Youk got a hit and drove in a run that put the Sox up 4-3. It eventually turned into what looked like a laugher, with Boston leading 11-3 in the 9th. Things did get a little squeaky in the bottom of the 9th, as the Manny-Ramirez combo (Manny Delcarmen and Ramon Ramirez) proceeded to give up back-to-back home runs and then load the bases on walks. Suddenly it's 11-5, and the tying run is in the hole. Remember, these Orioles were down 10-1 to the Red Sox in the 7th inning back on June 30th and wound up winning the game. Not to worry, though, a double-play ended it and the Sox Magic Number to make the playoffs dropped to 9.

Footnote: The "completely baked" line was lifted from "The Graduate." When Ben tells his father that he's going to Berkeley to marry Elaine, his father says, "That's fantastic. When did you two decide this?" Ben says that Elaine doesn't actually know yet, and his father responds that the idea sounds half-baked." Ben's comeback: "No, it's completely baked.".

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