A lonely O’s fan goes to Fenway: Reviewing a trip to Boston’s ballpark

April 20, 2009 |

The Orioles take the field at 11am Monday having already lost their first series of the year.  You probably already know what happened Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, so I’ll spare you the blow by blow. 

Starting with Wednesday’s drubbing at the hands of the Rangers, the Orioles have now dropped four consecutive games.  They’ll have to escape Boston with a win Monday morning if they want to begin their second homestand with a record over .500.

MVPOW:  Week 2

One Orioles highlight came out of the first three games on the O’s trip to Fenway.  On Sunday, Koji Uehara became the first Bird to pitch into the 7th inning this season, which is why Koji Uehara is your Examiner.com Orioles MVP of the Week.

Sure, Uehara took the loss in the game, but it wasn’t because of anything he did.  Uehara went 7 full innings, fanning five, only walking one, and allowing two runs.  The 1-2 loss drops Uehara’s record to 2 and 1.  Paradoxically, Uehara picked up his last win in Texas when he went only 5 innings and gave up 7 runs.  This is why arguments about how many wins are required to get in the Hall of Fame are stupid.    Wins and losses are arbitrarily assigned to pitchers when their individual performance is only one of many factors that contribute to if a team wins or loses a particular game. 

Koji Uehara lost Sunday’s game, but saved the already-overtaxed Orioles bullpen and kept the team in the game.  Here’s to hoping Koji wins many more MVPOW awards. 

As for Boston, here are several thoughts about the park and the game. 

Orioles 4, Boston 6: First-hand reactions

1.  Adam Eaton looked clearly outmatched by Josh Beckett.  I could see the difference in the velocity and movement of his pitches vs. Beckett’s from my perch in the bleachers.  That said, if you take away Youkilis’ 3-run homer, he actually didn’t do too badly.  I was surprised to see Eaton removed after 4 innings given how overworked the pen is already.  Why not just leat Eaton pitch 130 pitches or so?  It’s not like his arm needs preserving.

2.  Felix Pie doesn’t look like a natural in left, but man he is fast.  He got to a few balls so quickly I didn’t see him move for them.  Conversely, he also took a golf swing or two at the plate that prompted a few chuckles from fans.  Pie’s a work in progress, but he appears to have enough talent to keep throwing him out there.

3.  All four of the O’s runs came in the 5th inning.  It’s worth wondering if poor pitching is already beginning to hurt the hitters’ concentration.  Last September, several Orioles admitted that it was hard to concentrate on having good at-bats when they knew how bad their pitching was going to be.  It’s awfully early for that to be happening now, but other than the fifth inning, The Birds really seemed a bit lost at the plate.  After watching a seven run lead disappear Friday evening, it’s worth asking how the team responded on Saturday and Sunday.  Could the pitching woes already be effecting the team’s offensive performance?

Fenway Park and Red Sox fans:

1.  I will be the first to admit that I hate going to Red Sox games at Camden Yards.  It is extremely depressing to hear the away team get the lion’s share of applause.  That said, the Boston faithful welcomed me to their home with open arms.  This probably had something to do with the fact that I only counted 7 Orioles fans in the entire bleacher section.  Most of my conversations with Sox fans went something like this.

 “You from Baltimah?”
 “Yes, I live in the city. This is my first time to Fenway.”
 “Well, I love Camden Yahds.  I went theih last summah.”

Some of the local accents were so thick as to sound put-on, but I guess that can be said of  any regional accent (I’m lookin’ at you, New Joisey).  All said, 95% of the fans at Fenway  were very friendly, and 5% were just drunk and confused by the sight of an Orioles fans in Boston. That’s understandable.

 2.   I talked to a couple of Bostonians who were quite knowledgeable about the Orioles.  The  guy sitting next to me mentioned The Birds pitching prospects and said the O’s should be in  contention in the next two to three years.  I was impressed.  He was just a random Sox fan  sitting in the bleachers and he sounded like he listened to Baltimore sports radio. I have to admit  I don’t spend much time following Pawtucket players. 

3.  It’s not fair to compare Fenway to Camden Yards.  Fenway is nearly 100 years old. Camden Yards is 15 years old and considered the bellwether for modern ballparks. On a regular basis, I’ll take OPACY.  But Fenway, like Wrigley in Chicago, has its old fashioned charm.  The dungeony refreshment area was authentically rustic as were the bleacher seats.  Thankfully, the folks sitting next to us only sat for an inning because those seats were really small.  Fenway has an electronic scoreboard and video screen, which allows so it is not quite as old fashioned as Wrigley.

 Dollar for dollar, I’d rather spend 12 bucks to go to Camden Yards than 50 to sit in Fenway’s tiny bleachers seats, but it was worth a trip if you haven’t been to Fenway.  Just don’t try to sneak into the Green Monster.  I didn’t have a chance of getting past the usher. 

4.  I found myself in a nearby sports bar named Game On after the ninth inning.  It’s really just a chain sports bar where I had to share elbow space with bachelorette parties and 40 year-olds dancing awkwardly as two Djs with perfectly spiked hair mixed 80s music with generic dance beats. I’d rather not listen to the New Kids on the Block (a local crowd favorite) while eating frozen chicken fingers and sipping $8 beers.  It appeared that the neighboring bar, the Cask and Flagon, was probably more my speed, but alas the line to get in was too long.  There was an awful lot of action around Fenway after the game and even though Game On wasn’t exactly (or even nearly) my scene, it was still fun.  I wonder how long it will take to bring the same atmosphere and profit to the businesses surrounding OPACY?