I was at Fenway last night wearing a short sleeve authentic Red Sox home jersey, #28. Not for the departed Adrian Gonzalez or the retired Doug Mirabelli, but for my daughters. They both wore #28 when they were on the varsity softball team at Wellesley High.
What was strange was wearing short sleeves and no jacket for the final home game of the year. When you’re there watching the 9th inning of the last home game it’s supposed to be well into October. Preferably the last week. You should be wearing a ski cap and shivering while you’re holding a Dunkie’s hot chocolate and wishing you’d remembered to bring gloves.
But no. I went with my older brother Hugh, who had also gone to Opening Day with me. He and I have been going to Fenway since way back when Ted Williams was still playing. Seriously.
Speaking of Ted, they announced the All-time Fenway team last night, and most of the living players showed up for the event. Even Roger Clemens, who skipped the 100th Anniversary event in April because he was afraid of getting booed. No one booed him or anyone else last night. Not even Bobby V. They all got big cheers.
All-time starting lineup: Jimmy Foxx at 1st, Pedroia at 2nd, Nomah at short, Boggs at 3rd. Teddy Ballgame in left, Fred Lynn in center, Dewey in right. Fisk catching, Papi is DH. On the bench you have Yaz (seems odd, but you gotta have #9 starting in left), Rice, Pesky, Bobby Doerr and Varitek. Starting pitchers include Babe Ruth, Smokey Joe Wood, Jim Lonborg, Luis Tiant, Bill Lee, Roger, Pedro and Schilling, with Wakefield, Radatz and Papelbon in the pen. Tito, of course, is the manager.
Good start to the game itself. Lester had a no-hitter into the 5th inning, and I was thinking that it would be pretty ironic if Lester threw his second no-hitter on a night like this when it didn’t really matter. Naturally I was careful not to mention it until he gave up a single. Just as I was saying, “There goes the no-hitter,” the next pitch went sailing into the Monster Seats, and that was also it for the shutout and the one-run lead.
Quite a few fans departed early, but in the middle of the 8th there was still a lot of loud singing and hamming it up for “Sweet Caroline” because you never know if you’ll get on the Jumbotron. In the bottom of the 9th there was an impressively loud, “Let’s Go Red Sox, clap, clap, clap-clap-clap,” from the remaining faithful hoping for an unlikely walk-off miracle.
We stayed until the bitter end, a 4-2 loss. The melancholy We Just Lost organ music played, and as we headed out it occurred to me that, despite going to over 30 home Sox games this season, I’m pretty sure I only heard “Dirty Water” play one time. A day game in August when, of all things, Dice-K won.
Hope will spring eternal on April Fool’s Day, 2013 at Yankee Stadium.