May 10, 2008

guest post: comerica colour commentary

As you already know, we saw three games in Detroit's Comerica Park, the 21st ballpark Allan and I have been to together, and my 22nd overall.

Although I wish the Tigers still played in beautiful, historic Tiger Stadium, Comerica is a lovely downtown ballpark. Like so many of the newer parks, it's oriented to show off its city. Looking at these beautiful backdrops behind the outfield - in Detroit, Pittsburgh, Baltimore and San Francisco, among other places - it makes me wonder why ballparks were ever built in ugly concrete bowls, or facing parking lots.

For the second game, on Tuesday, we got to the park early to watch the Sox take batting practice. We wandered out to right field where a small crowd was gathered and found a spot at the wall.

Papelbon was standing directly in front of us, holding court for Okajima and another man, possibly Jeemer's translator. Bot was earnestly explaining something to the other two men. There was a diagram in the warning-track dirt that Papelbon was working on, writing with a finger or the toe of his sneakers. We realized that Bot must have drawn the entire thing! It looked something like this:Papelbon would explain something, then circle a number, erase another number and replace it with a different one. Talk, circle the 6, erase the 8, draw a 5, talk, circle the 5, erase the 2...

We were close enough that we should have, would have heard every word. But of course there was music blaring over the loudspeakers - goddess forbid we could just enjoy the sounds of baseball - so we only caught a word or two. We think it might have been related to a card game or to gambling. Does this look familiar to anyone? It was shaped like the US interstate highway signs. And it said "WELCOME" in the middle!

Whatever it was, Bot was completely engrossed in it. He seemed utterly oblivious to the fans, batting practice, and anything else around him, just focused on his diagram and his animated explanation.

While Professor Bot was delivering this lecture, batting-practice dongs were flying over our heads, and fly balls were landing in front of the gathered pitchers. Manny hit a few mega-dongs to dead center. Varitek and LBJ each hit a few bombs, too, right over our heads. Lips was tossing to Aardsma; he seemed to be playing with different pitches. MDC and Craig Hansen were also standing around, gabbing.

Nearby fans were calling out to the players to retrieve the balls and toss them over. David Aardsma tossed a couple, then signed baseballs for several kids, including a very young Tigers fan. This little boy was in his dad's arm, and he was wearing a glove bigger than his head. Aardsma tossed the ball gently to the dad, who caught it with his free hand. Then dad threw the ball back to Aardsma. Dad put his hand in the glove with his son, Aardsma tossed the ball again, and the kid (and dad) caught the ball.

Jeemer took a ball and Sharpie from a young fan, turned around so his back was to us, and was writing for a long time. We assumed he was signing in both English and Japanese. When we saw the kid's baseball, that's exactly what it was, including "GO SOX!".

Jeemer walked over to a little girl, who was Japanese or of Japanese descent, and said a few words to her in his native language. She was too shy to answer, so her mom helped her give her pink baseball to Jeemer. Jeemer did the same thing - turned away and wrote for a few minutes - then gave her back the ball. Mom helped daughter say Arigato to Okajima, then we all admired the baseball, which was autographed in both English and Japanese. The little girl was totally overwhelmed.

After that, Jeemer retrieved another ball, which he tossed over to an Asian-American Red Sox fan, a woman to my right. Allan stuck out his hand and caught it, then immediately gave it to the woman next to me. She lit up with delight and thanked Allan.

And this whole time, Papelbon was still writing in the warning-track dirt - about 15 feet away from us!

In my travels, I've learned that every trip has a regret: something you dreamed of seeing that is closed for renovation, or the ferry has stopped running for the winter, or you realize it's a three-day journey and you only have one day left. And even short road baseball road trips will have a regret.

This regret? We didn't bring our camera that day.

Stupid, I know. We had taken pictures the previous day, and our seats were in the upper deck (almost the last row), so we thought, why bother.

Why bother? Because you're going to batting practice, you dopes.

Oh well. Hopefully this gave you a feel for what we saw. More pictures from the trip are here.


Cait said...

This guy on YouTube seems to know what Paps was teaching Oki:

Amy said...

I tried a Google image search to see if I could find something that looked like that sketch, but had no luck. If Pap's thing there had anything to do with how he pitched in his last two outings, I am hoping he goes back to the drawing board and that Jeemer didn't listen to anything he said!

Thanks for the details. No pictures, but plenty of word pictures to work with here!

Amy said...

Oh, wow, just saw the YouTube link posted while I was typing. How cool is that! Caitlin is clearly a more able Internet researcher than I am. Who would have thought that someone would have caught the same thing on video?

What a crazy world we live in!

laura k said...

Thank you!! He must have been standing directly behind us. I can even hear the voices of the kids beside us, asking them to throw the ball.

Now I feel much better about not having the camera with me. Thank you Caitlin!

laura k said...

[I posted my reply to Caitlin while Amy's comments were in moderation hold.]

Yes, crazy and very cool.

laura k said...

Someone standing next to me said Bot was demonstrating craps, but I didn't know if that was true. I guess I deleted that detail from this post.

Cait said...

Haha I actually found that video yesterday and sent it around to my friends cause it was awesome- I was just searching YouTube for random Papelbon-ness since he hasn't had a new video up on Comcast in forever...

Jere said...

Yeah, you can see the "come" line in the dirt and you can hear Pap telling him about rolling the point before the 7, etc. Definitely a craps explanation. Good luck...

allan said...

Yup, that guy must have been right where we were standing. Maybe he was there before we got there, because Bot seemed well into the story when we arrived at the wall.

Song overheard on the PA:
"Message In A Bot-Tell"

allan said...

And after 3,082 consecutive redsock posts at JoS, there's a guest post! The streak is dead.

laura k said...

I'm available for colour commentary whenever the need arises.

The streak is dead, long live the streak!

johngoldfine said...

l-girl--that was a really fun post: picturing the two relievers planning their Foxwoods getaway on the next homestand.... Or, uh, maybe MLB might not approve....

nixon33 said...

maybe he should have been concentrating a little more on the BASEBALL game and he might not have blown two fucking games (kidding).

thats really cool, tho. sounds like you had a hell of a time. how many more stadiums do you need to complete the set?

laura k said...

Thank you John! What a cute puppy in your avatar.

allan said...

It may be a cunning plan for Bot to "relieve" Jeemer of some of his salary on the next team flight.

allan said...

nix - i made a chocolate rain reference last night and was then wondering where you've been.

we both really want to see kansas city's park, so maybe a midwest baseball trip will be made in the next few years. drop by Cincinnati and St. Louis too.

Parks being used we have not seen:
Tampa Bay
St. Louis
San Diego


laura k said...

how many more stadiums do you need to complete the set?

I don't know if we'll ever do that. I'm a travel freak, there are so many other places I want to go where there's no baseball. What are the chances we'll ever see a game in Florida? (None! We've been to spring training, that was enough Florida.)

But I would really like to do another baseball road trip, a south/southwest tour - KC, St Louis, both parks in Texas, Arizona, San Diego.

Song overheard on the PA:
"Message In A Bot-Tell"


nixon33 said...

rs- i've been really consumed with work as of late, but im always using joyofsox references whether it be in my head or out loud.
im definitely going to be checking in off and on all season, still watching EVERY game, just trying to limit my computer usage, its getting to be a little much for my eyes!

nixon33 said...

yanks starting now

allan said...

And that's why I put up the G39 post about 10 minutes ago!


johngoldfine said...

Thanks, l-girl. He's now a full grown mensch, all 15 pounds of him, and alpha on the ground and in my heart--a couple of slow-loading pictures of him and two (of his five) packmates at

laura k said...

still watching EVERY game, just trying to limit my computer usage

Same here, why I'm not in every game thread anymore. Many days I spend almost every waking hour at a computer. I need non-computer time during games.

laura k said...

John, no go on that link. Feel free to email me a pic if you want, I can never see too many cute dogs.

johngoldfine said...

Hmm, rotten school server...actually connects every third or fourth try. Grrr.

Let's see if email works.

Joy said...

Hahaha, that's me! The Asian-American fan that complimented you on your earrings! Thanks so much for the ball (again)!

And yup, I took those pics and video. Wasn't that just the most hilarious thing we could've caught Paps teaching Oki?

allan said...

That is amazing! I told Laura (and sent her the OiCF link), so she'll likely comment too!

Excellent pictures too, by the way. I'm glad to have a record of it now.

Amy said...

Once again the internet does its magic! I wish I could go back in time and find pictures of events I went to that were taken by other people.

Where are the other photos you referred to, Allan?

allan said...

Amy: At the Out in Center Field blog. Which is also the best place in the world to go for all manner of Red Sox video.

Amy said...

Thanks, Allan. Very cool!

allan said...

Earlier today, I went to OiCF and saw the post with the pix/vid and left a comment saying we were there too and linked to this post.

Joy must have seen it right away and responded here to my comment over there.


Joy, if you come back, you're welcome for the ball. He was throwing it to you, right? I really hope I didn't give you my ball. :>)

Could not find the earrings at the Globe site, as I mentioned, but look here (cheap!).

laura k said...

Hahaha, that's me! The Asian-American fan that complimented you on your earrings!

Hi!! How amazing that those are your photos!

I hope you had a great time in Detroit.

And yup, I took those pics and video. Wasn't that just the most hilarious thing we could've caught Paps teaching Oki?

I have been kicking myself for days for not having the camera with me. But now it's ok because we have your pics! Thanks so much.