Friday, October 26, 2007

A Last Look Back At The 2007 Season

For the first time since Sunday night, I managed to make it through a whole day without wanting to deck someone or curl up all fetal-style under my desk ... though if the everfucking Boston Red Sox manage to sweep the suddenly stale Colorado Rockies, as it looks like they just might, that might change in a big ol' hurry.

Anyway, the point to be made here is that life does indeed go on. So, before it does, here is a recounting of my favorite memories of this past season (in order of their occurrence) ...

  • Watching C.C. Sabathia pitch a full game against the Oakland Athletics on June 25 (my birthday gift from Sarah) from killer seats behind home plate.

  • That late-June/pre-Break stretch of exhilarating come-from-behind wins. Watching these guys finding ways to win (in generally dramatic last-minute fashion) made me start to believe that anything was possible once again and managed to lock me in for the rest of the season.

  • July 2. My first Fausto Carmona game at the Jake. Almost overshadowing the brilliance of the Icy Cold One was Rafael Perez's eye-opening performance: summoned into a bases-loaded-and-no-one-out situation, Raffy-L not only got 3 outs in a row, but didn't allow a single runner to cross home plate while doing so. Oh yeah, Grady Sizemore also belted a grand slam an inning or so later. Bonus.

  • July 25. Fausto vs. Josh Beckett in a white-knuckler 1-0 game, which followed a 0-1 loss to the Red Sox the previous night. Probably my favorite regular season game of the year right there. Just about any time Carmona pitched this year was not to be missed: you were always wondering if this would be the night he'd pull off a no hitter (or perhaps something even grander).

  • July 16. Seeing Jensen Lewis pitch in his first major league appearance (a shoot-out against the Chicago White Sox).

  • THA BEER GUY!!! He makes The Upper Deck Experience that much richer.

  • July 27. Kenny Lofton comes home and promptly reminds everyone why we missed him so much over the years since he was last around. At the time of this move, I was a bit apprehensive of what could happen to this club as I remembered Lofton as a brooder and therefore a possible disruptive influence on this close-knit bunch. Now, I'm wishing he wasn't leaving again. :(

  • That hilariously craptastic "Let's Go Tribe!" song. Kinda like an unholy fusion of Toni Basil and Def Leppard.

  • August 27. The Triple Play. We saw this at the game and I fairly rocketed out of my chair at the end. WOW! I still watch that clip every week or so, and it never gets old.

  • We got to the Jake early enough on 8/27 to catch the team taking batting practice. A whole bunch of kids around us were chirping "FAUSTO!! FAUSTO!!! FAUSTO!! FAUSTO!!" every single time Carmona had a ball in his hand as he paced center field, chatting with another player. At one point, Fausto, without turning around, barked a faux-irritated "NO!" to shut them up. That gave us a good laugh.

  • Listening to ninth innings on the way home from work nearly every night and cracking up as Tom Hamilton riffed on such pitchers as Mike MacDougal: "You could stand at the plate without a bat and he'd walk you!" and Rick White: "He hasn't changed a bit!"

  • September 2. The Jake (both the venue and the pitcher) was buzzed by jets from the lakefront air show all afternoon, which was really about the only cool part of an otherwise gorgeous Sunday afternoon spent watching the Tribe getting completely wiped out by the freakin' White Sox.

  • C0mpl3+3l7 pwn1ng the great Johan Santana all season long.

  • The statue of Bob Feller in front of The Jake wearing the "IT'S TRIBE TIME NOW" t-shirt.

  • September 17. Watching Casey Blake bean walk-off home run #2 of the weekend against the Detroit Tigers. My first walk-off victory game. When that was over, you could feel the post-season oh so very close indeed. What a total rush.

  • September 23. We went down and watched the AL-C clinching game against Oakland. One of the most joyous experiences I can remember: an equal dose of beauty, bedlam and nirvana.

  • ALDS Game 2. Carmona 3-hits the god damned New York Yankees, allowing one run in nine solid innings of work. Sadly, this was the last time in 2007 we were to see Fausto in his outstanding regular season form.

  • The appearance of the midges during ALDS Game 2, if for no other reason than the near-supernatural timing of their arrival. I was listening to the radio broadcast of that game over the 'net while at work and literally could not believe what I was hearing. It was even better to watch it later. What a remarkable, weird and most unexpected comeback.

  • Trot freakin' Nixon goes yard on Roger Clemens in ALDS Game 3. Ha ha ha ha ha haaaaaaa. You couldn't make up a more poetic end to The Drama Queen's pitching career if you tried.

  • Paul Byrd in Game 4 of the ALDS. I was part of the "oh shit, pitch C.C.!!" bandwagon for this game and Byrdie proved me and everyone else dead wrong. I just hope that the news that broke a week later won't end up staining this game in my memory.

  • Torching the god damned Yankees 3-1 in the playoffs ... and in their stadium. Yessssss!!! Thuuuuuuuuuh Yankees lose!!

  • Hamilton on Dustin Pedroia: "A very easy player to dislike."

  • The 10th and 11th innings of ALCS Game 2. During the 10th, Tom Mastny took on the heart of the Red Sox batting order and gave up nothing. As someone on Let's Go Tribe wrote, "this is like setting your puppy against an SUV" and, somehow, the puppy won. An inning later, the Tribe went on a scoring tear and blew this sucker wiiiiide open, grabbing the road split they so desperately needed.

  • Kenny Lofton's home run off of Daisuke Matsuzaka in ALCS Game 3. It was like 1995 all over again.

  • Rafael Betancourt for an entire season of badass setup pitching, but especially for the superhuman performance he gave while was systematically defanging the heaviest hitters of the Detroit Tigers, the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.

  • Aaron Laffey's flawless relief outing in ALCS Game 6 after Fausto and Perez went straight down the tubes (again).

  • Jake Westbrook in ALCS Games 3 and (especially) 7. I can't say enough about this guy during Game 7: he wasn't perfect out of the starting gate, but as that awful night dragged on, he just got stronger and kept us in the game every second he was on the mound. I have not given Westbrook his due most of the year, but he truly earned my respect with that performance. A true hero when we needed one the most.

Thanks for indulging me. We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog programming, already in progress.

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