A daily accumulation of history and present as I follow the 2011 year through the baseball season and reflect on the glories and disappointments of the greatest game on Earth.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Carl Crawford

There is something about the feeling of being in a new ballpark.
Today, I went to Commerica Park in Detroit with a friend of mine from Air Force days (a million years ago or something like that) to see the Tigers play the Red Sox.
It's definitely a brave new world that we're entering into. Since Brian Stow and since becoming an adult, there are a few things that I'm definitely not doing. Number one - I'm not trying to cause a scene in an opposing ballpark. Yep... I'm definitely more mature than I was at age 29 when I went with 2 friends (one who loved baseball - one who wanted to see the game) to see the Orioles and Red Sox square off at Camden Yards. We had kazoos, signs, and attitude, and many people probably weren't happy with us. Nevertheless, we went hoarse as Pedro went for a complete game with 15 strikeouts and only 2 hits. It was a romp, and it became the chapter "Pedro and the Pantheon" in Bill Simmons' Now I Can Die in Peace. To give you an example of how I've changed, when we went, we had an extra ticket, and we sold it to a guy on the street - informing him that we were going to be crazy. I don't think he realized how much, but alas... we were just getting started for preparations for the game that never was (a rainout between the Trenton Thunder and Boston Red Sox that we showed up at way early in hopes of getting autographs while wearing face paint). I have the pictures from sitting around waiting, but alas, the rain that day just made sure the game would never happen.
Back then, I was all about my team. It's not that I'm not now, but it's just when one is in a younger frame of mind, one doesn't have to feel so desperately connected to meaning through the actions of another team. Well, that and I'm not Harvey Updyke. I still get venomous at the Yankees, but I don't go so far as to refer to Derek Jeter as a selfish player like Bleacher Report (these guys must be on some serious medication). Then again, their definitions of selfish are mostly just jerk players and players from New York (though I would agree with A-Rod at number 1).
Number 2: Since Brian Stow, I'm conscious about getting my ass kicked for my Pedro Martinez jersey and Red Sox hat. I actually asked my friend (from Michigan) if he would mind sitting next to a guy in a Red Sox jersey and if the fans would react horribly to opposing fans in the stadium. As I'm not a Yankee fan, I was ok, and really, there were other fans who were all really decent about being there, and that's what it's all about. Experience other stadiums, enjoy their heritage (there are some awesome statues of Ty Cobb, Al Kaline, Hal Newhauser, Hank Greenberg, Charlie Gehringer, and Willie Horton. For this, the Tigers do love their past and present (much love is shown to the current team despite only Cabrera and Verlander being all stars), it's just that they don't have much of a current team, and for that...
Number 3: It's not like watching Alfredo Aceves... even for as dominant as he looked, was really a great drawing card. He wasn't flat out nasty, but he did get the job done, which is more than can be said for Max Scherzer, who within 4 batters into an outless third inning was done for the 7 runs that he gave up. Normally, if I was into my team as I used to be, I would have been chanting and screaming with Jacoby Ellsbury's 3-run jack, but I actually felt bad for my friend that he didn't get to see a closer game. I don't want to be an ugly winner, but yeah... the box score really says it all.
And it's not like I get all jazzed on the current Red Sox. Sure, Big Sluggi has redeemed himself this year. Sure, there are bright spots after the horrible start, but they're not the Idiots from 2003 or the 2004 World Series team (or even 2007). They're a stacked team of devastating offense brought together to kill opposing teams.
Now that Carl Crawford is 8 for his last 9 (2 doubles, 2 triples, 1 home run, 5 runs, 5 RBIs, no whiffs), can anything stop Boston? They whooped on Cleveland 2 of 3 games and only lost the first one after Manny Acta got himself ejected (gotta love that Lake Erie love that pushed the Indians to victory).
Technically, we're .003 out of first place as the Rays fall to a game and a half back with the Yankees in first, but there is such a thing as momentum. The Yankees have a West Coast trip. Boston gets Detroit and Oakland and the White Sox. Then, the 2 come together for a meeting where Boston has killed New York in their meetings this year. I'm not saying that a June meetup is the end of the world / do or die, but with the way that the Red Sox are changing their direction, it could be meaningful TV.
If I allow myself to get caught up in it!

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