Yesterday Brian McGrory wrote a piece in The Boston Globe basically saying that he couldn’t give away his Red Sox Opening Day tickets. No one cares anymore.
That’s just not the case. The place was packed, as always. With smiling faces of every age.
It’s very family-friendly. No smoking at Fenway. Even the outside smoking area is difficult to find.
Second, the Star Spangled Banner done by the Boston Pops with the Tanglewood Festival orchestra is just fabulous. They get the words right and don’t use five different notes to sing “free” or “brave” like Patti LaBelle.
I went with my older brother. We hadn’t gone to Opening Day together in a long time. I won’t say what year it was, but it was ten Presidents ago and the team the Red Sox were playing hasn’t existed for over five decades. Take a guess. We walked around to the bleacher area to locate the brick that I got for Christmas from my wife and daughters.
On Opening Day at Fenway they do things that the fans love…like having the first pitches thrown out by 90’s and 00’s favorites Tim Wakefield and Jason Varitek and caught by 70’s and 80’s favorites Dwight Evans and Jim Rice.
Josh Beckett, in the center of last September’s collapse and with one horrible start under his belt, was terrific. One run in eight innings. Then it was Sweet Caroline time.
He probably could have pitched the 9th for a complete game victory. His pitch count was only in the low 90’s, but the Red Sox sent 14 batters to the plate in the 8th and it was a long wait. Plus he had an 11-run lead. Not a save situation. So Mark Melancon came in to close it and gave up a home run to Ben Zobrist. Way too little, way too late for the Rays.
But the fun part was the entire day. Just when you’re ready for hope to spring eternal, it does. A beautiful day, the old ball yard looking great at 100, and a huge win for the Olde Towne Team. It’s what Opening Day should be. Brian, you missed a good one.
Think about it. Starting out 0-and-3 is twice as good as last year’s 0-and-6 start. It’s 7 times better than the Orioles’ 0-and-21 start in 1988. They could actually be at .500 for the Home Opener on Friday. So stop worrying.
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Notice that there are two #5’s trotting to the dugout.
It’s the annual Tom, Dick and Harry update. What do you think is the most common first name in the Major Leagues?
HInt: It’s not Asdrubel. Like Jeep, there’s only one. There’s also only one Yuniesky and one Gorkys, but two Melkys.
I checked the 40-man rosters of all 30 teams. That’s 1200 players.
Initials: 19 use initials. Three AJ’s: Burnett, Ellis, Pierzinski. Three DJ’s: Carrasco, LeMathieu, Mitchell. Two JC’s: Ramirez and Romero. Two JJ’s: Hardy and Putz. Two JP’s: Arencibia and Howell. Plus BJ Upton, CC Sabathia, CJ Wilson, JA Happ, JB Shuck, JD Martinez and RA Dickey. (Fortunately, JD Drew retired.)
The five most common first names…
#5: Zack or Zach: Braddock, Britton, Cox, Cozart, Grienke, Lutz, McAllister, Phillips, Putnam, Stewart.
#’s 4,3 and 2 all start with J, but none are Jose.
#4: Justin. We have DeFratus, Masterson, Miller, Morneau, Sellers, Smoak, Thomas, Turner, Upton, Verlander and Wilson.
#3: Jason. There’s Bay, Berken, Bourgeois, Castro, Donald, Giambi, Grilli, Hammel, Heyward, Insrighausen, Kipnis, Kubel, Marquis, Vargas, Werth (okay, he spells it with a y).
#2: Josh: Beckett, Bell, Collmeter, Donaldson, Hamilton, Harrison, Johnson, Lindbloom, Lueke, Outman, Reddick, Roenicke, Satin, Spence, Thole, Tomlin, Wall, Willingham.
and the #1 most common name….
Ryan: Adams, Braun, Cook, Dempster, Doumit, Flaherty, Hanigan, Howard, Kalish, Lavarnway, Ludwick, Madson, Matteus, Perry, Raburn, Roberts, Sweeney, Theriot, Verdugo, Vogelsong, Webb, Zimmerman.
Don: Only one. Don Kelley of the Tigers. Great name, even if he’s missing the second E in Kelley.
Tom: Three. Gorzelanny, Koehler, Wilhelmsen. Plus three Tommy’s: Hanson, Hunter and Field.
Still no Dick and no Harry.