My wife and I made somewhat of a monumental move over the weekend.
Actually, it was more my wife’s doing, but I was a willing and eager participant.
For the first time in 10 years, we’ll be going to see the Boston Red Sox play in person.
And, that will mark the second time that’s happened.
It’s among the most ludicrous things about my fanship, which itself is now in its 20th year. I visited Boston in 1997 as a waffling Angels fan and left as a die-hard Sox fan. The story of how all that came to be is detailed here, but basically, I had an opportunity to see the Angels and Sox play for free (the school I was attending was literally passing out tickets to anyone who wanted them) and the guy with the tickets never showed up the day of the game.
So, some 10 years later, I was a newlywed and for our first wedding anniversary my wife sprung a trip to the Bay Area on me, with a pair of Sox-A’s tickets included.
She was eight months pregnant at the time, and being the young, bold man I thought I was, I directed us from the BART stop around the Network Associates Coliseum the long way to our seats, which were on the first base/right field side of the stadium. It was June, and it was hot, and she was adamant the shorter route to the seats was the opposite direction.
And she forgave me when I proved to be wrong, in sweaty, exhausted detail.
The game itself — it was a Monday fresh off a Sunday-night tilt against the Yankees — was a gem. The Sox, on their way to the 2007 World Series crown, came back from quite a ways down, only to be walked off by the A’s in extra innings. Papi homered, though, and it was just an awesome experience.
My wife has been working on a return trip over the past several weeks as a surprise, but overplayed her hand — I caught her looking at hotels and BART stops. She’s actually been trying to catch the annual stop for the past several seasons, but the timing just hadn’t worked out.
In any case, we booked tickets to the May 19th game in Oakland — it’ll be the second of a four-game stop coming off a trip to St. Louis.
The only player left from our last outing is Dustin Pedroia. The club, of course, has won two world titles in the time since. Giving the timing and the o verall depth of the pitching staff, we should get to see a better relative starter on the mound than Julian Tavarez from our last trip.
It’ll be fun and we’re looking forward to it.
Speaking of long spans of time, when’s the last time we heard anything about Andrew Bailey?
He came up during today’s radio broadcast, and that sent me chasing a Google search.
It’s somehow easy to forget how rocky the Red Sox bullpen was to start out 2013. Not rocky in performance as much as it was just riddled with injury.
Bailey, of course, took over the closer’s job from Joel Hanrahan, who lasted all of about eight pitches (I don’t think I’m even exaggerating that much) as the Sox closer until a strained forearm ended his season in mid-April of 2013 (and, effectively, his career as well). Hanrahan (another subsequent Google search) is now serving as a pitching coach in the Pirates organization.
Bailey was pretty strong as Boston’s closer, piling up eight saves until a shoulder injury discovered right around the All-Star break scuttled the rest of his 2013 campaign. The rest, as they say, was Koji.
He has since had stops with the Yankees, Phillies and, most recently, the Angels, for whom he is expected to begin the year in a setup role.
Bailey was the chip we received for Josh Reddick.
Never trade up-and-coming hitters for pitching. That might be a new working theory on sports for me. Manuel Margot might have to be my case study.
I’ve begun my annual re-trek through Ken Burns’ Baseball. I really don’t know which “inning” is my favorite. The most recent 10th inning additions include the entirety of my Red Sox fanship and the drama of the 2004 ALCS, so those are fun. Really, though, the ninth inning covering the 70s into the 80s might be my very favorite.
They’re all good, though, and I’m looking forward to the trip back through history.