This was a huge game. So huge, I can’t believe I haven’t done it yet. So, if I have, forgive me.
One of the big points of the game can be found in the “Game Notes” section. This game is recognized as the Home Opener. That in itself makes it a big day. I’ve talked over and over about the magic of Opening Day. But, in this case, things are even a bit more special. It’s because of the guy in the clean-up spot. Yup. This is the Red Sox Fenway debut of Manny Ramirez. The guy we’d been waiting to see since December had finally arrived. What would this mean to the Red Sox? Would it change the team that had such trouble scoring runs and winning games the year before? I’d say so.
The top of the card shows the Sox fell into an early hole. Tomo Okha gave up a quick three runs to the visitors. Luckily, the Sox put the first two runner on before a strikeout gave the first out. It was all to familiar. Fall behind early. Rally, but never have enough bats to get it done. The 2000 Red Sox surely would have stranded the two runners. But, in 2001 the next batter was Manny. All he did was launch a three-run homer to tie the game. Maybe he was the difference after all. Manny ended up with a fantastic game, despite two strikeouts. He had a home run, two hits, and drove in four runs. It was a quick glimpse into what we could expect for years to come.
Who challenged Manny for player-of-the-game status? Well, Carl Everett had a pretty good day. He hade a home run of his own, driving in two runs. Jason Varitek had a two-run double. The goat of the game? A case could be made for Troy O’Leary. He went hitless with two strikeouts on the day. It was, unfortunately, telling that the goat of the game hit directly behind Manny. Protection would be a major issue for Manny that year.
But, it was all good on this day. Manny introduced himself in the best way possible. He kept sniffing out RBI as he led the Sox to victory. It was a great day.
And the scorecard shows how it happened.