(Photo credit: masslive)
By Ted Gay – @TedG63
At 7:15, as David Price delivered his first pitch of a regrettable start to an unforgettable game I stood in cleared woods on Pine Steet in Foxboro singing happy birthday to someone I had just met.
Welcome to Autumn in New England when Boston fans are faced with a plethora of options. A week ago I was asked by my friend David to go to the Patriots Sunday night, and I happily agreed before I realized this would clash with my Game Two Red Sox tickets, which I pawned off on my stepdaughter. The Red Sox game would have been compelling but offered little chance of cake.
David and I would be sitting in seats he acquired as a birthday gift from his daughter. His brothers were attending their friend’s Kevin’s fiftieth birthday party, which included a round of golf at TPC Boston, a Winnebago, a tailgate party, and tickets to the Optimum Seat Lounge. We were fortunate enough to piggyback on their tailgate.
Before we began our trek towards Gillette, suiting up like men preparing to summit Everest, Price survived two walks, Mookie Betts arose, doubling off Gerrit Cole, then was driven home by Andrew Benintendi. As we slowly shuffled toward the stadium like a Walking Dead herd, out of communication with the rest of humanity. Rafael Devers, (the man who inspired Eduardo Nunez to say “Rafael’s in the lineup? Where’s he playing?”) plated Benintendi to put the Sox up 2-0. By the time we had completed the treacherous journey up Route One, Price had coughed up the lead, and the game was tied. As David and I began our climb up past the trees, past the clouds, past the stars, we, after buying Bud Lights while the National Anthem played, because this is America, where capitalism trumps patriotism, unless you are holding a helmet, got to our seats, a football field away from the players, the Sox took the lead, thanks to a JBJ base-clearing double, while my vertigo kicked in, causing me to keep my left arm firmly against the back of the seat next to me, grounding me.
As the Patriots built an impressive first-half lead, the Sox held on, as Price completed my predicted four and two thirds, although he gave up twice as many runs as I thought, and handed the ball to the group formerly known as the “Wheel of Gutless bums,” and have been rechristened the Inglorious Bastards. They held off an Astros lineup that churned through our starters like a snow plow to a fresh pack. Price, in his post-game press conference, should have adopted the #HimToo defense and state that was not him on the mound, which would surely have caused the President to tweet “Price vehemently says he wasn’t there. He feels very strongly about it. It could have been anyone who pitched the first four innings for the Red Sox. I am hearing it was someone from MS13.”
During halftime, the Arisen Mookie single handily pushed across a go-ahead run in the seventh, a news alert stated that Chris Sale was in the hospital to battle a “stomach bug” furthering my belief that he pitched game one on Mollie and is now in rehab, and Arianna Grande dumped Pete Davidson, an outcome as predictable as Price’s start.
The guy to my left was streaming the Sox game giving me the invaluable ability to watch the Sox with one eye while I kept the other on the Chief’s rapid scoring offense. Kansas City stormed back to take the lead as Rick Porcello solidified his place as the best eighth-inning man who can only pitch once a week in Sox history.
As the Pats and Chiefs swapped the lead like two hockey teams with poor goaltending Betts doubled in some needed insurance runs. The streaming feed inside the stadium began buffering when Craig Kimbrel got two out in the ninth and continued until the Sox were doing the post-game high-five parade. Bob Kraft, the king of the cutting out opposing teams sideline communications, was not going to allow a rogue wave of Red Sox cheers to interrupt the flow of his football game. Regardless, and despite shaky pitching at either end, the Sox had evened the series.
With no further distractions, attention could be turned to the Patriot roller coaster which ended, after an exquisite job by Brady and Belichek managing the game clock, with a Stephen Gostkowski game-winning field goal, which was appropriate, because a loss by either would lessen the impact of the other’s glorious win.
As we shuffled out of the park in a sea of joyous bromanity a soft voice began singing “Sweet Caroline,” expectingly pausing for the throng to chant “bom, bom, bom,” and being met by silence, I realized it was not one local team’s crowd recognizing the achievement of the other, but just a drunk chick from Woburn.
“Look out Houston; there’ll be thunder on the hill
Bye-bye baby don’t cha lie so still.”