Game 8: (The Last) Opening Day, 2008

Still can’t believe I was there…

The whole thing’s been covered endlessly, so I won’t waste space recapping what’s freely available elsewhere.  So here are a few things I took away from the day:

1) I learned a very valuable lesson.  As it turns out, it’s not so much
the heat on any given day that will give you a sunburn, it’s the sun. 
So despite being about 45-50 degrees, I managed to get a sunburn on the
left (and only left) side of my face.  I look ridiculous.  I feel
ridiculous too.

2) I was surrounded in the stands before the game with people who seemed like they wouldn’t be able to enjoy any aspect of their life until Coco Crisp gets traded.  I’ve been over that before so no need to say the same thing 500 times, but I really don’t get it.  Has nobody been watching the brilliant defense he put up all through 2007?  I’ve never seen anyone play center field that well, he should have won the Gold Glove, and I’ve heard enough of people bashing the poor guy.  No wonder he wanted out; how could you want to stay on a team when everyone’s already counting down the seconds til you leave?  But for better or worse, I stand by my assertion that Jacoby Ellsbury isn’t quite there yet.  He’s undeniably the centerfielder of the future for the Red Sox, but I’m not positive that that future has begun yet.  Coco’s defense is still miles above Ellsbury’s (all the speed in the world doesn’t help you if you don’t know the best routes to the ball or how to read the hit off the bad), and I don’t think he’s going to be the .350 hitter that he was in limited appearances last year.

3) They have volunteers collecting recyclables in-between innings, which is a great idea, but I’m baffled that they will only take plastic bottles, and not the zillions of plastic cups that beer gets sold in.  I should point out that the beer cups have big “recycle” symbols on them too!  I truly hope that whoever came up with that boneheaded restriction will rethink it before the year’s out.

4) Seeing Eric Gagne’s name (in this case, announced during the ring ceremony) still infuriates me.  Hey, I hated that trade when it was just a rumor; it was a bad idea before it even happened, and that was going on the assumption that he’d actually play well.  He sucked, and he cost us Kason Gabbard, a lefty I happened to like.  With some of the current uncertainties on our current pitching staff, having someone like Gabbard around would have been a good thing.

5) I wonder if that hawk’s gonna show up over the weekend when the Yankees get to town.

6) Apparently the section that I was sitting in knew nothing about defense.  I’m sitting there, surrounded on all sides, listening to people talk over and over about so and so not hitting and so and so not being any good.  It amazes me how some people see this game as all about hitting and scoring, and forget that defense is at least half the game.  So what that Kevin Cash isn’t known for his hitting?  That’s not what he’s there for.

7) Doug Mirabelli looked like a pimp.  Rock on, Dougie!  I agree with the team’s decision to cut him from the roster, but that doesn’t make it any easier on the guy.  And speaking of cuts, I hope that Kyle Snyder lands somewhere soon; he’s one of those guys that I’ll be rooting for regardless of where he ends up.  Snyder and Julian Tavarez basically serve the same role in the bullpen, and if I needed to free up a spot, I probably would have done the same thing.  Tavarez gives you everything Synder does, and he’s also got one of those rubber arms where he can start a game with practically zero notice, and that’s a valuable commodity.  Plus he’s amusing as all hell to watch play.

8) The newly-recorded Neil Diamond “Sweet Caroline” video played on the scoreboard during the 8th inning was an embarrassment.  Completely cringe-worthy.  Shameless.  And not in a good way.  I felt icky just watching it.

9) Between innings, they played the White Stripes’ song “Icky Thump” over the PA; last season I listened to that song on my baseball playlist, frequently using it in the same way the team did.  I think I should be getting some kind of royalty on that.

10) A magnificent ceremony.  I never thought I’d hear the Boston Pops covering Dropkick Murphys, but there you have it.  Really touching to see Bill Buckner getting a standing ovation.  Now that it’s over, I’m looking forward to baseball as normal resuming, meaning more than two or three games in a row without a day off, back to back games with normal start times, and just some great baseball.

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