The Baseball Desert

Thursday, August 12, 2004

RSN Classic

There was a great game at Fenway tonight, as Pedro threw his first shutout since the 2000 season. I don't know if it was simply because I was just listening more carefully than usual, but there seemed to be an enthusiastic energy emanating from the crowd at Fenway - maybe it was due to the Red Sox' 14-4 blowout of the Devil Rays last night, maybe it was the enthusiasm generated by Pedro going the distance. Whatever the reason, Pedro and the Red Sox sent a message with this game. Sure, it's the Devil Rays in August and not the Yankees in October, but that's precisley why Francona's decision to leave Pedro in the game was not insignificant - it was a way of saying: "OK - I know I could bring in someone from the bullpen, but Pedro is looking and feeling good and energising the home crowd, so let's try to keep this momentum we've created going...". At the end of the day (or at the end of September), it might not mean an awful lot, but you have to give the Sox credit for trying.

Of course, the good Red Sox vibrations wouldn't be complete without a classic Fenway moment. Today's came in the bottom of the 6th inning, when the alert-but-ever-so-slightly-cynical Boston crowd gave 3rd base coach Dale Sveum a standing ovation for finally holding a runner at third, after two consecutive runners had been gunned down at the plate by the Rays' Rocco Baldelli in the previous inning. Say what you will about the sometimes over-intense passion of Red Sox fans, but you can never say that they're not aware of exactly what's going on on the field...

Dale Sveum Update: I somehow missed this great Dale Sveum-related post on Surviving Grady last week. Classic stuff!