Boston Strong on Jackie Robinson’s Day: April 15, 2015: Washington Nationals vs Red Sox @ Fenway Park

IMG_2343Having no classes on Wednesdays came in handy on a day game during the week. I was planning on going to this game for a while. When I was buying my tickets, I originally thought it was a night game and when I found out that it was a day game I was concerned that it would interfere with my classes at school. So, I didn’t buy the ticket and bought a ticket for the night game the day before. I wanted to go to a Nationals game to see if I could get Bryce Harper’s autograph. When I picked my classes and got everything figured out with school, I didn’t have class on Wednesday. The first thing I did was buy a ticket to this game. Not only was the game vs. the Nationals but it was also a special day throughout MLB. It was Jackie Robinson’s day. Jackie Robinson Day has been in the MLB since 2004, honoring the day Robinson made his major league debut in 1947. On April 15th every year, each player, coach, manager, and umpires wear the #42 honoring Robinson’s accomplishments. Also, this game was important to the city of Boston. It was also the two-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon Bombings. The game was very special and it was one of those games you wouldn’t want to miss. For the game I wore my Boston Strong shirt. After going to the game the night before, I stayed home and left my house around 9:00 am to drive into Boston. I hit some traffic going in and got to the ballpark around 10:00 am. I walked over to Gate C and there were tons of people walking in so I got in line. I didn’t know at the time but I wasn’t supposed to go into the ballpark. When I got into the ballpark I walked up to outfield seats to see if there was batting practice. On a day game, there isn’t batting practice but I wanted to check just in case. There was no batting practice but there were tons of people in the grandstands. Apparently, the kids were on a field trip from school. Dave Mellor, the head groundskeeper, was talking to the kids about the field and answers any questions they had. The kids were learning about the weather and were learning about how the field works.

IMG_2344As Mellor was talking to the kids some Red Sox players were coming out to warm up. Clay Buchholz and Porcello were warming up in the outfield with Pitching Coach Juan Nieves. After Buchholz and Porcello were done playing catch, they walked over to the Red Sox bullpen. I went over to the bullpen to go watch them. Buchholz went up first.

He pitched as Nieves watched. Buchholz threw a pitch in the dirt and gave it to Nieves. He then looked at it and then looked at me and showed me the ball to get my attention. He then tossed me the baseball. Porcello had come over near me during Buchholz’s session.

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I congratulated him on his new contract signing. He was very nice and thanked me. I also asked him if after he would sign. He said he would after he threw. After Buchholz was done with his bullpen session, Porcello started his session.

During Porcello’s bullpen session he didn’t like 3 of the baseballs. Nieves threw me two not even 5 seconds apart from each other. Then he also threw me one later on in the bullpen session.

Screen Shot 2015-05-17 at 11.41.48 PM When he was done he went into the bullpen and sat down with Buchholz and Nieves. The gates for Red Sox nation opened around 11:05AM after I was already in the ballpark for an hour. Mike Davison had entered the ballpark and went over to the bullpen where I was. He took out his ball retriever and grabbed two baseballs in the bullpen. As Buchholz and Porcello got up to leave the dugout Porcello came over and signed.

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He signed for a lot of people who were over near the dugout. After they left the rest of the Red Sox pitchers were tossing over near Pesky’s Pole. When the security guards allowed the fans to get to the rest of the ballpark, I went straight to Pesky’s Pole. I saw Joe Kelly and Justin Masterson playing catch. When I got near them they were just finishing up. I called out to Kelly. He then tossed me the ball he had for my 5th of the day. I asked if he was going to sign autographs today. He said he could sign before he worked out and walked over to me. As he was signing I asked him since he was a fan of selfies if we could take one. He said we could and we took one.

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After the selfie, I started walking to the Nationals dugout. I saw Brock Holt taking grounders near third and I stopped walking towards the Nationals dugout and turned around and headed back to the Sox’s dugout. I waited at the dugout as Holt came in. He started heading right next to the dugout with a bunch of kids around. I went over and got in line. Holt then signed a baseball I gave him. After I left the area, Holt continued signing autographs.

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I headed to my normal spot near the dugout and waited around an hour before anyone came out. Around 12:50PM, the Boston Marathon survivors walked past the National’s dugout. Carlos Arredondo, the man in the Cowboy Hat who was seen helping Jeff Bauman off the ground into a wheel chair and then to the ambulance during the Marathon Bombings, was walking toward us to go near home plate. Carlos and his wife both saw my shirt and said “nice shirt.”

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15 minutes later Washington National’s players were coming out and warming up. Bryce Harper of the Nationals came over and signed. For me this was great because the day before I was so close to getting his autograph. My thought process was I couldn’t get turned down again. As soon as he grabbed my pen, I was so relieved. He signed the ball I gave him and he continued down the line.

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Jeff Bauman, who lost both of his legs during the bombing, and Patrick Downes, who lost his left leg during the bombing, threw the first pitches. Then the survivors and first responders yelled “Play Ball.” Ryan Zimmerman was tossing with Ian Desmond and Bryce Harper was throwing with Danny Espinosa. After they were done Ryan Zimmerman tossed me up a ball for my 6th of the day.

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 1.12.39 PMCarlos Arredondo and his wife carried a Boston Strong Flag off the field and Washington National’s players talked to Jeff Bauman as he walked by.

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 1.18.05 PM The starters of the Game were Gio Gonzalez for Washington and Wade Miley for Boston. Miley struggled in the first inning when a walk and two hits led to two runs. In the bottom of the 2nd inning the Sox responded when they scored 2 runs on 2 hits and an error by the National’s third baseman Yunel Escobar. In the top of the 3rd, Miley’s struggles continued as Ian Desmond homered to left giving the Nationals a 3-2 lead. The Nationals were not done as the next 3 batters got on with 2 walks and 1 hit. With the based loaded Ramos doubled that cleared the bases. After the hit, Miley’s day was done and Varvaro came in to pitch with the score 6-2. With two outs in the inning 3rd inning still, Uggla doubled, which scored Ramos and the run was charged to Miley, giving him 7 earned runs on the day. Michael Taylor also doubled in the inning that led Uggla to score making the score 8-2, National’s leading. During the Top of the 4th inning, around 2:47-2:48, the announcer said, “Ladies and Gentleman, our game will now pause for a moment, and we ask you to please rise. All of us know of the events that took place in our town 2 years ago on this date at this time. All of us know of friends whose lives were altered. All of us know of families who hearts were shattered. Our mayor the honorable Martian J. Walsh has asked us to stand together, feel together, and remember together those whom we lost on April 15, 2013 at 2:49pm. As we do we remember Krystle Campbell of Medford, Massachusetts, Lu Lingzi, a Boston University Graduate student from China, and 8-year-old Martin Richard of Dorchester. We of course also remember officer Sean Collier, killed 3 days later. Let us remember them now.”

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A 50 second moment of silence occurred leaving Fenway silent. The announcer then continued, “Ladies and Gentleman we are One Boston. Ladies and Gentleman we are Boston Strong. Ladies and Gentleman this is our city. Lets play ball.” It was a great moment to be apart of. It was a great moment to see Fenway so quite for a change and it was amazing to witness. In the bottom of the 5th inning, the Sox finally got back in the game when Hanley Ramirez hit a home run over the Green Monster that also scored Pedroia. After the inning the score was 8-4 with the Nationals still in the lead. The Sox were not done offensively because in the bottom of the 6th inning, Brock Holt hit a ground rule double that scored Mike Napoli from second. Then in the top of the 7th inning the Nationals responded when Moore hit a two run shot that scored Ramos. The game would end with the same score with the Nationals beating the Red Sox 10-5 giving Gio Gonzalez the win and Wade Miley the loss.

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