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Doug:
OK, I'm as sentimental as the next guy, but doesn't bringing Bucknah out for the first pitch actually feed the "It's Bucknah's fault!" meme rathah than give closure to it?

 

Al:
Seriously, I haven't thought of Bucknah in ages until yestahday.

 

Doug:
And anyway wasn't Bucknah's standing ovation Opening Day in 1987 and the ovation during his brief return in '90 and when he hit the insida-the-pahka a kinda sorta signal that he was so-called "forgiven"?

 

Mike:
If any fans actually felt that.

 

Doug:
Really. And if anyone is still hahboring any ill will from 86, why just Bucknah? Where is the Opening Day ceremony for Schiraldi?

 

Al:
Or McNamara or Gedman or Stanley?

 

Mike:
Anothah way to look at it, though, is that Bucknah, rightly or wrongly, had become the symbol for all the Red Sox angst and frustration and being forever stuck in "Wait Until Next Year" mode.

 

Mike:
And that yestahday's Opening Day ceremony was a way to ritualistically exorcise those old demons?

 

Doug:
Well, if that's the case, then why not buy out every remaining copy of Curse of the Bambino and create a giant bonfire in centah field?

 

Mike:
In any case, can we just, please, move on? If 2004 and then 2007 didn't make things right for some people, then nothing evah will.

 

Comments

My fav moment from yestreday was when the wind kept the 2007 banner from obscuring the 2004 banner.

It was almost as if the 2004 version wanted a little more time in the spotlight.

To be fair, it deserved it.

Bob, you are scaring me, anthropomorphizing banners and all. What's next, you gonna tell me Wally is real?

As for the exorcising theory, the best way to do that, other than rattling off a few more WS victories, would be to wheel out the dead, gin-addled carcasses of Pinky Higgins and Tom Yawkey to 2nd base and letting every one of the 39,000 patrons take a swing with with one of MR24's red batz. That was an evil pair.

lc

Not that Dave Stapleton should have been a defensive replacement for Billy Buck.

agreed, bob.

'07 was great, being the only team to have two titles in the century is wonderful, and the way we did it (being on top all year) was, well, perfect.

but 2004 will be the one we never forget. i can't remember where i was when we got the final out last year, but i can recall every detail of the final at bat in st. louis.

Yes, Lou Clinton, there is a Wally. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy.

No Wally! Thank God! He lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Lou Clinton, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.

Wally sux

Well said hb. I was trying to explain that very fact to my GF who is a Cubs fan. We have forgiven BB long ago. It was only the media that continued to beat that dead horse. ESPN yesterday was atrocious. Implying that RS Nation still harbors ill will towards BB. I can't stand ESPN.

Bob, I was thinking the same thing about the banner.

Those rings are wicked nice.

Where's the national media coverage of the rings BTW. The stinking Giants rings were all over the internets. why weren't the RS rings?

To date myself, I'm too young to remember 1975 and Bucky F. Dent, but very clearly remember 1986. I remember doing a little dance at the thought of the Sox winning the World Series, until a certain BB did what he did. As trite as it sounds, a little part of me was broken on that day, and it didn't start to heal until 2004. So in a sense, I have forgiven BB, but I will NEVER forget.

Being at a young impressionable age when Buckner made his infamous gaffe I had always thought of Buckner as a fucking idiot.

Then I got older (slightly more mature) and I became fascinated with the way one of the most knowledgeable fan base's in baseball could leverage so much hatred at such an undeserving guy.

So I really appreciated the ceremony yesterday because if anyone needed Bill Buckner to throw out that first pitch and hear the crowd and put all this shit behind him, it was obviously Bill Buckner. The guy was visible moved.

Scott, I'm with you. ESPN and the like just turn everything into snippets. Ask them to run a short spot on the '86 world series and they'd just show the ball going through BB's legs.

I haven't heard as much hatred towards BB as I heard the media imply the hatred existed. I guess that makes a better story for them.

Bill Buckner is living proof that there is grace and reconciliation in this world. He now deserves to get back the vowels in his name.

However, we still have B*cky D*ent and Gr*dy L*ttle.

I'll tell you who still blamed Billy: pinkhatters. No offense to the other folks here, but I didn't blame Buckner in '87, '88, etc. It seems to me the Buckner meme went mental in 2003, or maybe the beginning of 2004. Maybe CHB tried to stoke the flames earlier than that, but who pays attention to that doucherod anyway?

The fault of '86 has always lied (laid? layed?) with McNamara. He pinch hit for Baylor with bases loaded! He failed to sub for game Billy Buck. And, of course, the pen sucked.

I enjoyed Buck giving it to the press anyway. They deserve scorn on a regular basis in their reporting of all matters besides sports. They are complete boobs in the political, economic and Iraq, with much greater consequences from their "reporting".

Buck wasn't on my blame list...McNamara however is right up there w/ Grady. Stapleton? Sure. I would have preferred my sister, dog, 3rd grade teacher at first.

Yesterday was just another in the packaged, video age, montage living media controlled world we live.

BTW - Watching on Tivo seemed as if the hawk flying low was the most exciting part of the game.

Also - Gagme blew another save.

I have always felt bad for Bill. He shouldnt have been in the game plain and simple. The only dumber decision by a manager then that was Grady's

Buckner had a terrific year in 1986, and without him we wouldn't have gotten to the WS. The game was screwed up long before the ball was hit to him - Clemens came out too early, relief pitching was god awful, passed balls, etc. He did make a poorly timed error, but there is no reason I need to forgive him for that - it was not an offense that needs forgiving. Clemens asking to come out of the game early might need forgiving, but not an error. Had he made the play, they probably would have lost in the next inning - the Mets were on a roll, and the Sox were floundering and out of pitching.

It is amazing how the media can set opinions. I have a Yankee friend who (prior to 2004) had no idea the Sox were ranked 3rd all time in WS victories - all she knew was "1918". Same with Buck - media has convinced a generation that he was the sole blame for 1986.

I am glad Buckner got some closure - but I also wonder about 1990 - I was in the stands that opening day and he got a great ovation.

Next World Series, let's just honor the team that wins? Or should we drag out Grady and forgive him for leaving Pedro in too long?

In today's Metro, Buckner is quoted as saying that the one thing that he had to accept in coming back yesterday was that it wasn't the fans who drove him away as much as it was the media for creating it into a spectacle. I agree. I know some people still harbor ill feelings at Buckner directly, but for the most part, I think lingering animosity is largely media-driven.

Oh well, I was able to get into Opening Day and have some pics. Check them out:

Opening Day at Fenway

I will post a bit more later about some of the stories that go along with them. Like how I told Larry Lucchino to "Keep up the good work!" as he was walking away. :D

Kaz - nice photos - where were those seats? Was that the new area they fixed up in left field? If so, how were they?

Yes, that was the new "Coca-Cola Corner" above the left field grandstand and just next to (and slightly above) the Green Monster seats. Most of the pictures were taken from the SRO (standing room only) area behind the seats and directly under the Coke logo ad.

Behind Larry and I you'll see the walkway that leads to the "Day of Game Suites" that are up behind the State St Pavilion red seats along that left field line.

The seats looked really nice although I only got to use the bar-like seating halfway up the seats for half an inning at the end of the game. Most of my time was in the SRO space and while the wind was a bit cold blowing straight in at me, the view was really good (including really interesting views looking out onto Brookline/Landsdowne and across the field into downtown).

Geez Kaz, now people are going to expect labels! (Love the shot of you & LL.)

the demons were exorcised when J.Henry and company bought this team and turned it inside out. it (just as all of the boston/new england pro sports teams) is the envy of the sporting world. its all about the ownwership.

Ok, a few stories that can go along with my pictures:

I have a connection inside of the front office who offered me the ability to join him for Opening Day. He's allowed to go anywhere within the ballpark and take me with him. I took him up on his offer. We checked out all of the new changes to the ballpark including the State St Pavilion and Coca-Cola deck. The one issue I had up there was the lack of diversity in food/drink stands once you left the grandstand level. No coffee, one place did hamburgers but not cheeseburgers, and most drinks were single size bottles, not draught. We stayed up on the Coca-Cola platform. It was a great vantage point and in the sun (well worth it on a day with some chilly wind).

Opening ceremonies were a little difficult to see, but I think they were the best Opening Day I'd been to ever since I'd been going (2007 and 2008, hehe)! Pesky, with help from Ortiz, raising the pennant in center field was really awesome. The Pops group sounded great this year. Last year they only had 2 mics in front of the band and all of the trumpets and flutes overrode the more subtle instruments. This year the entire thing was mic'd a lot better and you could hear the whole group well.

The Anthem was beginning and from my vantage, we could all see the fighter jets queuing up in this swirling pattern that looked almost like seagulls fighting over bread in mid-flight. I really wanted to get them along with the Citgo sign, and I did (see photos). Then I realized they were turning for approach and the song was ending. I tried to get them as they screamed overhead, but when I looked away from the view window, I saw the 4th guy break off and start doing barrel rolls around the other 3 at only a few hundred feet overhead!! My jaw dropped and when I finally regained my composure to snap the shot, they tore right through my viewer and I got a sky blue photo with a little tail section in the bottom left corner! But that flyover was un-be-lievable! I have no idea if the 4th guy's sky jocking was planned or not, but if it wasn't...I don't care, it was insanely awesome.

As I went to shoot a few other shots, my camera complained of low battery and shutdown. No problem, I had put 4 in the camera bag in case because I hadn't changed them in a while. Search, search, nope. I didn't and I thought I did. Damnit. So the rest of the day was spent fooling the camera into letting the batteries recover a little charge, snapping a single shot, turning it off and waiting 10-20 minutes.

Got some player shots and Buckner's pitch and things like that. Nothing great. Then, as we're mulling around on the Coca-Cola deck, joking about how the Sox made a "coke deal" to get the sponsorship, we looked around and saw a few VIPs and some underlings in Coca-Cola logoed fleeces. Then, an inning or so later, Larry Lucchino strolls around pointing out all of the new features to some bigwig. We let it slide but kept peeking around to see what and where they were talking about.

In the meantime, the Fenway Hawk was swooping in the wind currents (probably made game footage when he swooped low over the 1st base side and back up past the upper deck?), so I snagged a good few shots as he would wheel in the eddies above our location. One time we noticed he had a furry meal in his talons as he went by. Good on him.

A few innings later, Larry comes around again with another VIP (the guy behind the two of us in the picture with me and Larry). As they backed away from looking at the seating area, I called out: "Larry!" (You know, because he and I are like...*this*...and on a first-name basis...hehe). He looks over and I said, "Hey, great day! I'm a big fan and I think you've done a great job with the organization! Do you know (my friend) down in the office? He's my ex-roommate."

Larry says, "Yes, great guy, good employee!"

I said, "Yeah, he's a good guy. By the way, can I get a photo with you if you don't mind?"

He briskly says, "Sure." The tone in his voice tells me he's happy to do so, but this is the last request he has time to be interrupted for.

One of my other friends who came to the game with me takes our photo and Larry turns to walk away and rejoin his guest. I sorta wanted to thank him or something and say "see ya", but instead I look at him, give a wave, and call out "Keep up the great work!" (like he's some sort of subordinate?) Ahahahaha.

I felt a little goofy after having said it and the friend that took the photo jokingly told me that I likely just got my ex-roommate fired. Hehe, I hope not. Larry seemed to take it in stride. I like to think he got the intent if not the way it might have come across. :D

Well, the rest of the game was what it was. We moved down in the bottom of the 8th to the empty barstool seats on the pavilion. Tons of empty chairs with food left behind (these seats can order their food to be delivered by Sox staff to the seats! It must be why the actual food/drink options are weak in that area). We sit down and about 5 minutes later 2 girls walk up (remember, nooobody else in the whole section) and tell me that I'm in their seat. Ha! Whatever, I moved down to the other end of my friends. Geez, what a pair of cranks.

Also, final story/comment, but I hope the live video of Neil Diamond singing Sweet Caroline with Tom Werner isn't going to replace the record version they used last season. I know they used it to announce that Werner was inviting Diamond to play a concert at Fenway in August, but geez, he talked the song instead of singing it and it was all off rhythm and hard to sing-along to. It would completely ruin the magic of the 8th inning break if that were anything more than an Opening Day stunt.

Oh well, ballgame over. I'm going back tomorrow (Thursday) and Friday for two more games this week. Then I have 2 more after that in the month of April. Baseball is back, and in my head, I'm back at Fenway for the summer!

This time, I think stupid Eric Wilbur's got it 100% right. While we can get mad at Buckner for screwing up a play any little leaguer could have made, it really wasn't his fault. McNamara should NEVER have had him in there. Just like we were SCREAMING at Grady to "Take Pedro out!!!" every 10-year old watching that game knew STapelton should have been the defensive replacement.

We all knew Dougie M was there to back up Millar. Same thing back then.

Yesterday was a chance for Buckner to exercise his demons. It was to finally put to bed stupid CHB's "curse." It wasn't about us, the fans.

I forgave Buckner when he played his 1/2 season swan song w/ the Sox. He's forgiven. McNamara will never be. Grady is just as dead in my eyes.

One of the great things about Francona is he doesn't get sentimental. Ever. Good baseball decisions come first. In game #1 I really did expect Dice-K to go back into the game for one more hitter, just so he could walk off the field to an ovation in his home country. Never happened, because his pitch count was up & it was time to hit the showers. The right decision ALWAYS comes first.

My one thought about last night's game (I was there was my GF because my best friend has the flu):

If pitchers don't speed up, I'm going to hunt them down.

Jeez, it seemed like there were 10 minutes between every pitch. Both Lester and Bonderman were equally guilty.

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