Ian and I played baseball with the Red Sox last night at Fenway Park.
We got four field passes to yesterday's game against the Oakland A's, so we showed up three hours early to stand on the field and watch batting practice. We watched the players warm up from a few feet away -- David Ortiz, Kevin Youklis, Jacoby Ellsbury, J.D. Drew, Jason Bay, Josh Beckett, etc. At one point Jason Varitek was doing warm-up swings right in front of us. I could almost have reached over and touched him. But then I would have been hit with the bat.
Seeing the players that close was almost like seeing a toy come to life. We've watched the Red Sox on TV and from distant bleacher seats (with one exception -- thanks Brandon!), and from there they look like miniatures. Up close, they're, well, people. Amazing. They are a bit more miniature than their statistics claim, however. (Julio Lugo is 6'1"? I don't think so.)
Early during practice, Nick Green threw us a ball, and of course we brought our mitts, so during a break in the action, Ian and I played a game of catch. So we didn't exactly play with the Red Sox (they were on the field and we were behind a rope at the edge of the field), and maybe a game of catch isn't quite baseball, but still. We waited patiently, but the Red Sox had their game faces on and did not volunteer to autograph the ball, even when I yelled "Go Beavs" at Jacoby Ellsbury (we have something in common -- we both attended Oregon State).
We were given the field passes by the Red Sox team dentist, who fortuitously is also Mat's dentist and our former bishop. Even more fortuitously, Mat broke a crown two weeks ago. It was a rare visit to the dentist -- Mat has not been terribly concerned about the longevity of his teeth lately. So the next time you break a crown, remember: it could be your lucky day.
After Red Sox batting practice, we sat near the Green Monster and watched the A's warm up. Now I know why everyone wants to sit there. A dozen balls must have been hit there, and a few more were tossed.
I have to say that even though we had great seats (right behind John Smoltz's family), the game was a bit anticlimactic. The Red Sox made some great plays, but lost 0-6. The highlight of the day was definitely the game of catch with Ian.
Oh yeah, I did eventually manage to meet Jacoby Ellsbury and get his autograph on that baseball. That part of the day was pretty good too.