Things started looking up after an unspeakably ridiculous commute to the game (13 miles=1:45) when I noticed that we were sitting in Section 43, Row 7. "Section 43" being the title of one of the absolute masterpieces of psychedelia (Country Joe & the Fish for those of you keeping score at home) and Row 7 meaning that I would be close enough, if so inclined, to spit in Billy Wagner's eye, well, things couldn't get much better. Hell - Schilling and Glavine were facing off.
After 5 innings of great pitching, Schilling surrendered a two run dinger to Beltran, giving the Mets
a 2-0 lead. Thinking that things nowlooked pretty bleak based on Glavine's strong performance thus far, the hometown nine came back strong with a rare Loretta HR and another run scored. 2-2 after six.
After Schilling blanked them in the seventh, Crisp led off with a beautiful bunt, gaining second on a subsequent steal. A-Gon next at the plate also bunts and Crisp is at 3rd with only one out. Youkilis poked a sac. fly to left and we left the inning with a 3-2 lead after seven. Great baseball here: If someone can cite me an example of back to back successful bunts yielding a man at 3rd with one out, i'd like to hear about it.
The Mets plated the 8th against Timlin. With 2 outs, Beltran lined a base hit. Next up, David Wright launched a shot to center that was certainly a run-scoring gap shot. All of the sudden, Coco leaps, lunges, and stabs the tailing bullet, impossibly keeping it in his glove. Friends, this was the single most amazing defensive play I have ever witnessed - that is not hyperbole. (I watched the replay on TV when I got home and proudly maintain that statement.) That would have almost certainly tied the game, so it's timliness ("Timlin"ess?)and importance are clear. After an almost anti-climactic insurance bomb from Ortiz in the bottom of the frame, we lead 4-2. That would be the final score.
What started out as a taut if slightly uncompelling pitching duel (in the noisy beer-soaked bleachers anyway) ended up becoming one of the most exciting games I have ever seen, and that Crisp catch should be watched over and over. (Johnny who?)
Postscript: With the whole ballpark staying to the very end, leaving was a crowded mess. Meg and I decided to grab a beer at a joint called "Bukowski's" (great name) to wait for the traffic to abate. We walked in and playing on the sound system was Jeff Beck's masterpice "Truth" - in it's entirety! It neatly wrapped up one of the greatest Fenway evenings - out of dozens - i've ever had.
Tom, do you now wish you took that ticket I offered you?