Friday, July 16, 2004

I was at McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket Wednesday night for the AAA All-Star Game, matching the International League against the Pacific Coast League. I drove down to Rhode Island after work and made it to the ballpark just in time for the first pitch.

I had a really great evening. I met up with my friend Dave, along with his older daughter and her boyfriend. The game itself was exciting and well played. My only problem with a minor league All-Star game is that you don’t really know many of the players all that well. Aside from the Pawsox players, a few guys from some of the other International League teams, and some guys who had had a cup of coffee in the Majors, I wasn’t familiar with at least half of the players.

Even so, I had a great time. I ran into a couple of friends from high school, brothers who have been working at McCoy for about 20 years each. I caught up with both of them, talked about our families, the Red Sox and their prospects of getting Randy Johnson and other stuff. I also spent a few innings sitting with my oldest friend, who I’ve known since first grade. His dad was there, too, along with his sister and her husband and son. It ws great to see them all and catch up.

The game ended in dramatic fashion. At the top of the 9th inning, the stadium announcer came on and said that according to the rules of the All-Star Game, if the game was tied after 10 innings it would be halted and called a tie. There were a few boos, but the IL was ahead 3-2 at that point and we were hoping it wouldn’t be an issue. So, of course, the PCL promptly tied up the score in the top of the 9th. The International League stars went down in the last of the 9th without scoring, and we went into the extra inning.

The PCL went down quickly in the top of the 10th, and then the IL came up in the bottom of the inning. The first two batters went quickly, and Andy Phillips of the Columbus Clippers, the Yankees AAA team came to the plate. He hit a 1-0 pitch over the left-center field wall for a home run to win the game! It was a great ending to a fun evening.

The Red Sox got off to a rough start for the second half as they lost in Anaheim to the Angels 8-1. Derek Lowe got knocked around again. He really has to straighten this out. He’s been by far the weak link in the starting rotation and he either needs to start pitching better or the Sox need to replace him, preferably with Randy Johnson.

We had twofold hysteria on WEEI this morning. First, why didn’t Pedro start the game instead of Lowe and second, how could Manny play left field in the All-Star Game and have to DH last night? I may have to listen to music today if things get too out of control.

The Democratic National Convention is just over a week away and the security preparations continue. The folks at work are making do as best they can. A couple of folks are taking the week off. Others are rearranging their work hours - one woman is going to work 6 AM to 2:30 PM, so she can be out of town before they shut down I-93 at 4:00. The guy I feel worst for lives up in Gloucester. He usually takes the commuter rail into North Station, then takes the Orange Line to Back Bay. Because of the closing of North Station during the convention, he now has to take the train to Lynn, take a bus to Wonderland on the Blue Line, then transfer to the Orange Line at State Street. It’s just astounding the amount of inconvenience this thing is generating for the everyday folks who have to live and work in Boston.

A. and I saw Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban last Saturday. It was a terrific movie, and I loved the look that new Potter Director Alfonso Cuaron gave it. He took over from Chris Columbus, who directed the first two Potter flicks and showed what can be done when you take a film franchise from the hands of a competent director to a truly gifted one. I think Prisoner of Azkaban is the best of the five Potter books released so far, so he had a great story to work with. He really completely changed the look of the film, making Hogwarts a much more mysterious and magical place. If I had one complaint, it was that Maggie Smith, as Professor McGonagall and the wonderfully oily Alan Rickman, as Professor Snape, had little more than cameos in this film. The three kids are really growing into the roles. I thought they were all terrific, especially Emma Watson as Hermione.

I’m hoping to see Spider-Man 2 over the weekend. I’ve heard lots of good stuff about the movie and I’m hoping it lives up to the billing. I have one pet peeve concerning Spider-Man. That would be people who spell his name wrong. It’s not one word - Spiderman. It’s two hyphenated words - Spider-Man. Get it right, OK?!?


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