Saturday, September 21, 2013

Day 174: Red Sox Clinch AL East... And I WAS THERE!!

It was a gorgeous night to be at Fenway Park and even better, the magic number was one! My dad and I embarked on a trip to Boston with hopes of getting to be a part of the division clinching celebration. All we needed was a win!

When I got the tickets for the Red Sox vs. Blue Jays game on September 20th, I figured the game would mean nothing. I figured it would just be another in-division game that the Red Sox would most likely win seeing as the Blue Jays have taken up permanent residence in the AL East basement... and, well... the Sox just find ways to win this season. I honestly had no idea how special the night would turn out to be.

The Blue Jays made the Sox work for their win. Boston scored early, taking a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first, and then added another run in the third. Toronto scored one in the fifth and kept the game close until the Sox broke out for three runs in the seventh. With a 5-1 lead going into the eighth inning, it was pretty evident to most in attendance that this game was in the bag. The ballpark was alive. Barely a single soul departed early. You could see the Sox owners make their way down to the seats next to the dugout in anticipation.

Junichi Tazawa replaced Jon Lester in the top of the eighth. Lester managed to hold the Jays to just one run on five hits while striking out eight over seven innings. Tazawa struggled a bit giving up a two-run homer to pinch hitter, Adam Lind. And now we're looking at a 5-3 lead and a lot of fingernails got a lot shorter. With one out, John Farrell called upon Koji Uehara to come in and complete a five out save. I'm pretty sure he was trying to give me a heart attack.

I think Koji is even more dynamic and fun to watch in person. He did give up a couple hits in his outing, but he struck out the final batter of the game swinging to empty the dugout and turn the pitchers' mound into a sea of jumping, bearded kids. They traded game jerseys for We Own the East t-shirts and donned ski goggles in preparation of the champagne attack.

We stayed until the end. We witnessed that final strike and that mound mosh pit. There's just something about being there in person... to hear the whooping and yelling and back slapping. Experiencing first hand the love these guys have for each other and the hugging and beard tugging. We left when the celebration moved into the clubhouse so we weren't around when the booze-soaked team emerged from the dugout. 

We missed Mike Napoli and David Ortiz spraying beer on fans above the dugout. We missed an army helmeted Jonny Gomes punting beers into the stands (and nailing some guy in the face... oops!) Even Koji got in on the fun, sneaking up on the fans with a spraying champagne bottle as they chanted his name. He even hopped up on top of the dugout to high five the remaining fans. In case you missed HERE.

The Red Sox complete the only worst-to-first turnaround in the club's history. All I know is this year... I believe in magic!

No comments:

Post a Comment