Fenway

Watching baseball with Jim Rice

Yesterday we had the distinct honor and pleasure of watching the Red Sox vs. Texas Rangers game in the company of Jim Rice and talking baseball with a true legend of the game, who’s going to be inducted into the Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame this year.

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Jim spoke frankly about the differences between baseball during his time and baseball today, including players’ salaries, team-spirit (or sometimes the lack thereof), and some of the current Red Sox players and their strengths and weaknesses. He was also cool about signing various Red Sox gear, baseballs, and posing for some photos (above with my wife and son). Thanks, Jimmy!

More photos of the game, batting practice, and Jim Rice are on my personal photo website

Red Sox Opening Day 2009

Opening Day 2009 - originally scheduled for Monday this week and postponed to Tuesday, April 7, due to the rain - was a great way to start the baseball season. The celebrations were quite spectacular with Senator Ted Kennedy throwing the opening pitch and with a fly-over by F-15s from the Air National Guard right after the National Anthem:

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Dustin Pedroia, the 2008 MVP, was second at bat and got the game off to a good start with a home run. And it was great to see a home run by Jason Varitek, too. Josh Beckett came out firing and kept the Rays to two hits and one run in 7 innings.

The Red Sox won 5-3 against Tampa Bay. Only 161 more games to go this season...

Auroralites dog safety collar

A friend recently pointed out a cool gadget to me that deserves a brief mention on this blog. It is a dog safety collar from Auroralites that uses electroluminescent ("EL") technology to provide a long-lived and bright safety light for your night-time walkies. The product is already being used by police, search & rescue, FBI, and other security K-9 teams, and is now also available for civilian use. The collar is shock proof, water resistant and soft, so they won't break teeth. They produce no heat and are non-toxic. The collar comes in a regular steady-light version and a flashing version with 1s on and 1s off - especially for security applications where you don't want your dog to become a target for enemies. Since Marblehead is a rather peaceful town and I have no intentions to use our family dog in situations where "becoming a target" is even remotely relevant, I opted for the regular non-flashing version of the collar when I placed my order today....


UPDATE: Please do not order this product. My order never arrived, and other customers apparently had the same problem. The company and its website seems to now be defunct. See the comments thread on this blog post for more details!

They just never give up

If there is one thing to be said about the Red Sox, it is this: they never give up. Yesterday's game 5 of the ALCS vs. Tampa Bay was the most amazing baseball game I ever saw. We were fortunate enough to have seats right along the first base line - between first base and the Pesky pole - and experienced the greatest postseason comeback since 1929 first-hand.

The mood before the start of the game was great, with the crowds cheering for 松坂 大輔 (Daisuke Matsuzaka, or "Dice-K" as he is known to Boston Red Sox fans) as he came onto the field to start his warm-up exercises:

Daisuke Matsuzaka warming up

Understandably, the mood turned a bit more somber as the Sox fell behind 5-0 over the first couple of innings and finally were down 7-0 at the top of the 7th inning.

That was the point in time when about 20-25% of the people left Fenway Park, and when the Tampa Bay Rays started cracking open the champagne in their locker room.

But then the Red Sox did the impossible and turned things around. Starting with Dustin Pedroia's line-drive to shallow right field, which got Jed Lowrie home for the first run, the mood in Fenway Park changed. And then David Ortiz made a true comeback possible with his 3-run home run deep into right-field:

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From that moment on, nobody sat down in Fenway Park until the single by J.D. Drew at the bottom of the 9th that allowed Kevin Youkilis to score, giving the Sox their 8-7 win and a ticket back to Florida for game 6.

This game will be an instant classic in baseball history, no doubt!

The longest baseball game I ever sat through

It took me a few days to post this, because I'm still "recovering". This past Sunday I was lucky enough to get a few seats for the ALDS game 3 at Fenway Park. It turned out to be the longest baseball game I ever sat through - and I did, of course, stay until the very end.

Here is a picture of the fog rolling in way past midnight - at the top of the 11th inning:

Top of the 11th inning

When the game finally ended after the 12th inning, it was with the disappointment of a Red Sox loss, but that pain didn't last long, since we won the ALDS series 3-1 the next evening.

And even though the game lasted so long, we all had a great time - and the kids got to school just a ""little bit" too late the next day...

Red Sox sweep Brewers 11-7

We got to see another great game of baseball at Fenway Park today. Josh Becket pitched seven innings followed by Delcarmen and Papelbon as the closer.

It was a great pleasure to watch the four home-runs: two by David Ortiz, one by Dustin Pedroia, and one by Kevin Youkilis. This performance by the Red Sox brought the inter-league series finale to a nice close.

We also had the great pleasure of being on the field during batting practice today, and were catching some balls while the Brewers warmed up. In doing so, we were close to the Red Sox bullpen and watched Clay Buchholz as he was working with the pitching coach:

It is the same Clay Buchholz who pitched a no-hitter in September 2007 as only his second start as a rookie for the Red Sox.

Best Christmas Present Ever

The holiday season is upon us and today we did a little Christmas (and Hanukkah) celebration in the office. I got the Best Christmas Present Ever from the entire staff here at Altova, Inc.:

Fenway Park Bleacher Seats

These are authentic Fenway Park Bleacher Seats, removed in November 2007, and they come complete with certificate of authenticity, holographic authentication stickers, and - most important of all - some chewing gum still stuck on the bottom.

As part of their renovation program for Fenway Park, the Red Sox did apparently sell the old seats to fans, and the gang here at Altova managed to pull off the impossible and get me a pair.

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For the time being I am keeping them in my office - until the new house is ready in a few years - and we've rearranged the furniture to make them part of the seating area. That way they will actually be used for our weekly team meetings and are also available for visitors.

If you want to know how happy I am about these seats, just look at the grin on my face in this picture to the left.

Thank you guys! You've really made my day!!