GUY BEHIND US: "Does anyone even know what OPS is?"
HIS FRIEND: "I do."
GUY: "RIght, so what is it?"
GUY: "OPS, dude, it says OPS."
FRIEND: "Well, it's OBS."
GUY: "Fine, OBS, OPS, whatever. But what does it mean? You claim you know, so tell me."
FRIEND: "OBS means...on-base percentage."
GUY: "Is 900 good?"
US, REFRAINING FROM TURNING AROUND AND SAYING THIS TO THESE FINE GENTLEMEN, AND INSTEAD JUST LAUGHING BETWEEN OURSELVES: "Nah, man, a 900 OBS is just walking and clogging up the basepaths. Everyone knows JD Drew's a baseclogging jerk who doesn't care about baseball. Now, 900 RBI and a dirty cap, on the other hand..."
Last night, we went to a baseball game. It'd been a while--Futures at Fenway was our last attempt, and the skies opened and poured down on us and, lo, we were soaked to the bone and the poor kids from Salem had to take a long busride back home without playing a single inning on the hallowed grounds--and we were getting antsy. But things worked out in our favor, and by 5:00 we were pre-gaming at McGreevey's.* A couple of really weak drinks and an inning or two of the LLWS, and we were on our way.
We're not going to get into an intensive play-by-play here--either you watched the game, or you didn't, and there are plenty of places on the internet to get that kind of information--but we figured, hey, what better way to get off the DL and into the game than by talking about a game we actually attended? Much better than bitching about Sullivan's Tire commercials.
And, while we're profoundly not thrilled about the injury parade,** how cool is it to see kids we know from Sea Dogs and Spinners teams past playing for the big team? How awesome is it to look up and see Ryan Kalish on second base or Yamaico Navarro fielding a grounder? We admit it. We cheered for those guys harder than we cheered for almost anyone else. The kids, y'all. They're kind of all right.
Even Daisuke Matsusaka impressed us. Maybe we were still slightly tipsy, but he seems to be working faster and more authoritatively. Sure, he had that one inning where it seemed like everything was hit hard, but for most of the game he kept a really good hitting team off balance and off the basepaths. We approve of this guy. This guy didn't drive us back to the bar once.
Of course, this being our 2010 Red Sox, things weren't easy. As we all know, the game ended up tied through nine, and we had ourselves a little bonus baseball. We dashed to the ladies' after the home nine failed to score in the tenth, then set up in standing room behind home plate for the eleventh. (Papelbon works slowly enough that we really only missed one batter. True story.) A nearby usher started talking about the fact that he really thought Bard should've stayed in for another inning. Another guy looked like he was about to throw up. Someone in another section started the wave.
The wave. Top of the eleventh. Heart of the order up and a closer who had imploded the last time he faced this very opponent on the mound. What better time to stand up and down and lift your hands in the air like you just don't care? Not like there's anything happening in the game or--
--Jed Lowrie drops a routine pop-up in foul territory, and everyone in our section moans and grabs their hearts--
As we stood there, pounding our chests and hoping we'd remember to breathe at some point, Papelbon struck John Buck out. And suddenly the air seemed more oxygenated. We were going to be okay.
Plus: "now that Lowrie kid can redeem himself," someone said. "He has to."
8th INNING, SAME GUYS. RYAN KALISH HAS JUST JOGGED BACK TO SECOND AFTER AN ATTEMPTED STOLEN BASE.
GUY: "But I thought he stole third."
FRIEND: "Nah, man, he had to go back because the batter swung. You can't steal a base if the batter swings the bat."
If there's one thing we enjoy, it's the film Overboard, starring Goldie Hawn and--
Okay, strike that, if there's one thing we enjoy, it's watching Red Sox players embrace each other at home plate. If there's two things we enjoy, it's walking out of Fenway Park singing.
Overboard would make the top five, though.
*Look, we'd seen Friday's game. We figured hard liquor might be key to our enjoyment of Saturday's game.
**We blame Gary Bettman. As every hockey fan out there knows, there's pretty much nothing out there that you can't blame him for. In this case, though, we even have a reason. Bettman brought us the Winter Classic, the Winter Classic brought the Bruins to Fenway, the Bruins brought their broken-itis to Fenway, and the Red Sox all fell down.