Saturday, November 02, 2013

They Are The Champions

The baseball season is a long one. Much can happen from April to October. Going into this season, I had high hopes for the Toronto Blue Jays. They had loaded up through trades and free agency and looked to be a strong contender for postseason play. It was the first time since they won back-to-back World Series in the early '90s that they had looked so strong.

Meanwhile, the Boston Red Sox were coming off a last-place finish in 2012 and didn't look much better this year. I figured they'd win 75 games and be a pretty lousy team. Making things even more interesting was the fact that former Jays manager John Farrell had taken the Boston job vacated by Bobby Valentine. It became fairly obvious during the 2012 season that Farrell wanted the Boston gig, which didn't endear him to the media or fans in Toronto. I figured this would be a fun season for a change.

Boy, was I wrong about everything. The Jays sucked right out of the gate, and even though they put together an 11-game winning streak in June, injuries and crappy starting pitching landed them in the division's basement. Meanwhile, the Red Sox improbably confounded all expectations by winning the AL East, then the ALDS and ALCS. Down was up, cats were sleeping with dogs, etc.

I'm not a bandwagon jumper and I wasn't necessarily rooting against the Sox but I wasn't rooting for them, either. But when Deb was able to score two tickets to the potentially World Series-clinching Game 6 at Fenway Park vs. the St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday, I was excited to go. I had never been to a World Series game before, we got the tickets relatively cheap and no matter what happened, the atmosphere would be electric. We didn't want to drive in because of all the street closings, so we took the T from Malden.

We got to Kenmore Square almost two hours before game time and it was mobbed. Lines outside bars that went down the street. We picked up our tickets and got something to eat before going up to our seats in the right field roof deck. They were pretty nice, way up there but with a full view of the field. The game itself wasn't overly suspenseful. The Red Sox were able to light up Cards pitcher Michael Wacha for 6 runs in 3 2/3 innings and Sox starter John Lackey worked out of a few jams; by the end, it was just a matter of rooting for everyone to make outs so we could see the celebration. The final score was 6-1 and the place went nuts. We watched the presentation of the World Series trophy but left before they handed out the MVP award to David Ortiz so we could beat some of the crowds.

Things were pretty hairy outside the ballpark as crowds had already gathered in the street by the Cask and Flagon. We fought our way through the crowd and were routed around Kenmore Square, which the police were keeping empty. We decided not to try and get to the T station there and ended up walking all the way down Commonwealth Avenue to Boston Common, where we got on the Orange Line at Downtown Crossing. It was a good move because the trains there were relatively empty, as opposed to the mob scenes we would have dealt with on the Green Line. From there, we got to Malden easily and were home by 1:45. Later, we heard about all the drunk idiots out tipping over cars and doing stupid shit, but fortunately we were able to avoid all that. Thursday was pretty rough from the lack of sleep, but it was totally worth it.

I'm happy for the Sox and their fans. Hopefully my Jays can get their act together in 2014. Hope springs eternal, right? If the Sox can go worst to first, why can't Toronto?

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