Tuesday, August 14, 2018

No Sale price at Red Sox-Yankees game

The stars were aligned.
A trip to Maine for a surprise party a year in the making had been kept a secret. Everyone in our family had the time off and plane tickets and rental car were purchased long before the summer purge.  Any and all obstacles had been cleared like a presidential pardon.
And, speaking of good fortune, our beloved Red Sox conveniently opened a four-game series in Fenway Park against our hated rivals the Yankees the day after we arrived in Boston and before we departed for Maine. The perfect layover.
Furthermore, the Red Sox had announced their starting rotation post All-Star Game break and its ace pitcher Chris Sale would be scheduled to start against the Yankees at the one and only game we were able to attend! OMG!
Sweet Caroline! It all seemed so good, so good, so good.
I went online in mid-July to see ticket availability for the August 1 game. I had been searching for months and there appeared to be plenty of somewhat reasonably-priced seats remaining to accommodate three of us. I knew on StubHub it would be expensive to find seats for any Red Sox-Yankees game at Fenway, yet I didn’t realize how much so until the announcement that Sale – the American League’s starting pitcher in the All-Star Game for the third year in a row – would be in line to take the mound the night we just so happened to be the park to anxious and bent on chanting “Yankees Suck.”
Well, this sucks. Suddenly, rows of seats were gobbled up and most of the remaining tickets for the August 1 showdown were for one or two seats. I needed three. So I searched frantically. I found three near the infield, but the cost was exorbitant for my budget. I wasn’t about to take out a second mortgage for dugout seats. I did find three in the grandstand, but they were obstructed view and I wasn’t going to spend a game watching Sale throw a pitch from the rubber than have to lean to my left and crank my neck around a gilder to see Sandy Leon catch it.
So my options were limited to sitting in the bleachers. It was going to be my sons first ever Red Sox-Yankees game experience at Fenway Park – like the running of the bulls with horns aimed at Aaron Boone’s team – and I was willing to pay the price for admission. Hence, when I purchased three seats in Section 37, Row 21 in the centerfield bleachers way up there somewhere in the proximity of Vermont, I only slightly winced when the bill – with “fees” – came to $341.06.
For bleacher seats.
For Red Sox-Yankees.
For the beard of Zeus.
I opened my wallet and bit my lip.
OK, I might not be in the best site-lines to watch Jackie Bradley Junior make another incredible catch in the Triangle, but at least I wouldn’t be watching the Kansas City Royals play the Sox. The dreaded Yankees were in town and given their games with the Red Sox usually border on four hours I figured that amounted to about $1 for entertainment for every minute, not counting the usual delays for replays. I’m all in.
Plus, I justified, we would see the best pitcher in baseball, Sale, mow down the Yankees and set the tone of the series. My wince-wince went to win-win. If it meant that the Red Sox would likely be guaranteed to beat the Yankees in my sons’ first-ever Red Sox-Yankees playoff atmosphere-like experience I would gladly pay the price to sing Dirty Water with them once Craig Kimbrel closed out the game and Boston added another game to its lead over the Evil Empire in the AL East standings.
It all seemed so good, so good, so good.
Not so good.
Two days before the game, the Red Sox suddenly announced that Sale was being put on the Disabled List with shoulder inflammation. It wasn’t that bad, the team said. He would miss only “one start.”
One start? Our start. My start!
Suddenly, one of the stars in the stars that I thought were so aligned was sidelined. A big star. The Death Star in my mind.
Instead of seeing Sale start, we got Brian Johnson, which is like expecting Santa Claus with a lights-out slider and getting a back-of-the-rotation-one-bad-outing-from-Pawtucket Grinch. The dropoff was Wile E Coyote cliff-like.

It was a flashback to a childhood dream-turned-nightmare about my first game ever in Fenway Park. I made a six-hour bus trip from Maine with Little Leaguers to Boston to see my first Red Sox game in person and we had seats in the leftfield corner near my hero, Carl Yastrzemski, the legendary leftfielder for the Red Sox.
It all seemed so good, so good, so good. I walked from the Fens past the brick exterior into Fenway Park and came up through a dark tunnel, emerging into the leftfield corner to bright sunshine and the brightest green I have ever seen. The sight of the field was spectacular – like heaven with a lawn – and I was like Ned Beatty going to Notre Dame Stadium for the first time to see his son, Rudy, play.
“This is the most beautiful sight these eyes have ever seen.”
But there was something missing. I looked down into left field. Wait. That’s not Number 8 Carl Yastrzemski…. that’s … that’s … Floyd Robinson? Playing leftfield?! In his final year big leagues?
Where’s Yaz? What? Playing first base? That’s over there on the other side of the ballpark near Cape Cod.
You’re kidding me? Really? I drove in bus 12 hours round trip to see Floyd Robinson play the carom off the Green Monster. Floyd Robinson?
No Yaz.
And now almost 50 years to the date No Sale.
No Bucky Bleeping Dent way.


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