Sunday, March 24, 2013

I Scored!

September 4, 2000

A quick look at the top of this scorecard lets you know that it’s a special day. “Fisk Day” is clearly stated on the card. This was, of course, the day that the Red Sox officially retired the number of Carlton Fisk. He was the first player to have the retirement rules bent to their breaking point. He didn’t finish his career with the Red Sox, as required. But, the Red Sox decided that in this case, working for the team in a front office capacity would count. The Sox could use a reason for a party. The ceremony was nicely done. They showed some highlights, and made the presentations. The thing I remember most about the ceremony was Rico Brogna and Lou Merloni sitting on the top step of the dugout and soaking it all in. Being local boys, I bet it was pretty cool for them to be on the team while they honored Fisk.

I imagine the Sox brass were somewhat disappointed when the pitching rotation was set for that day. The Sox used Fisk to draw a crowd, but the starting pitcher could have done that all on his own. Pedro Martinez was closing out his second consecutive best season by a pitcher ever. If the 1999 season where Pedro just missed the MVP was something special, the 2000 season was otherworldly. It made for a chance to honor the past, but let everyone know the present was pretty good to. Pedro didn’t disappoint. As he often did in big games, he made sure he was part of the story. Another spectacular line, as he went eight innings while giving up just one run. (Side note: That was the sixth Pedro game I attended that year. That run was the fourth run I had seen him give up.) Eleven strikeouts, and one walk. I have run out of adjectives.

What about the batters? They did everything they needed to that day. They got the quick lead, and let Pedro take it from there. The batter of the game? I’ll hand it to Jose Offerman. His bases loaded triple in the third inning would be all the runs the Sox would need. He gets the honor, even though it was his only hit on the day. The goat? Have to give the horns to playoff hero Troy O’Leary. He went hitless on the day, and couldn’t even reach base. Thankfully, that performance didn’t hurt the Sox.

So, we all got exactly what we expected. The pre-game ceremony brought the cheers at the start, but Pedro made sure we all remembered he was in charge. Pedro was simply Pedro.

And the scorecard shows how it happened.

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