Sunday, October 05, 2003

So, how did I come to be at a Chinese restaurant in Woonsocket, RI for one of the most exciting games in Red Sox history? Well, therein lies the tale...

Me and my three closest friends all turn 40 within about 21 months of each other. We've been celebrating each other's birthdays with a "boys night out", and last night was Dave's turn. Dave decided that he wanted to see the band Roomful of Blues at Chan's Chinese restaurant in Woonsocket. Apparently, Chan's has been doing jazz and blues shows for years on weekend nights. So, I bought the tickets about a month ago, long before we had any idea what the playoff schedule would be or, indeed, we even knew if the Sox would be in the playoffs.

So, we went to Chan's to have dinner, watch Roomful fo Blues first set and then we would decide whether we wanted to stay for the second set or go find a sports bar to watch the rest of the game. After the first set we went to check the score, which was 1-0 in the top of the 5th. Dave (being the birthday boy) decided that we should go somewhere and watch the game. Unfortunately, even though Dave and I are native Rhode Islanders, we don't know Woonsocket too well. We had no idea where to go.

The dilemma was solved by staying at Chans and watching the game on the TV in the bar there. Bill (who is a baseball fan, but is a bigger blues fan) and Steve (who is not much of a baseball fan at all) decided to watch the band's second set while we watched the game. And, of course, the rest is history.

A few comments on the game:

- Big kudos to the Sox pitching staff. Derek Lowe, Mike Timlin and Scott Williamson did a great job of holding the A's until Trot Nixon's heroics in the bottom of the 11th. I was especially impressed with Lowe's performance in the wake of his relief loss in Game 1. Lowe has had a tendency to let a bit of adversity get to him this year, and it was great to see him bounce back.

- If the Sox come back and win this series, the controversial obstruction call will go right down with the "Tuck Rule" play in the Patriots-Raiders Snow Bowl in Oakland history. In my opinion, Tejada made a bonehead play. The rule (7.06B) very clearly states that the play shall proceed until no further action was possible. If Tejada had been thrown out at home plate, the A's certainly could have argued that he had been obstructed by Mueller at third and should be called safe. By stopping between third and home, he abandoned his attempt to score and Jason Varitek made a very heads up play to tag him out. Sorry, Miguel. Next time keep running.

- I know it didn't work out, but wouldn't you have loved to see Pedro come out to close the game in the 9th?

- I'm really feeling good about Burkett today against Hudson on short rest. A lot of pitchers today have difficulty going out on three days rest, since they're used to pitching on four. Case in point is Game 4 of the Sox-Cleveland 1999 ALDS, where the Sox clubbed Bartolo Colon as he started on three days rest (a game I had the good fortune to attend).

One last thing that was almost as exciting as Trot Nixon's home run was the end of the Marlins-Giants series. Jeff Conine threw out J.T. Snow, the potential tying, run as Pudge Rodriguez held onto the ball in the collision. It was an amazing ending to the game.


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