One of the many quirks at Fenway Park, which you can’t see on television, is how the clubhouses here are right off the main concourse where fans piur out from the stands after games. So, for us reporters trying to get to the clubhouse door, we have to take an elevator down to the main level, then fight upstream like salmon against thousands of fans exiting at the same time. The clubhouse door opens 10 minutes after the game ends, so you have toi file your post-game internet story and blog post, ride the elevator, then fight through the crowds.
Tonight wasn’t as bad as it’s been before, since many of the fans actually got a head start towards their cars before the game ended. But I’ve been meaning to take a video of this for years and thought I’d post one.
Anyhow, Ryan Langerhans learned all about the quirkiness of Fenway in the fifth inning when he tried to catch that Jed Lowrie pop-up down the left field line. Problem is, the stands here are about a foot away from the foul line.
So, when the ball popped out of his glove, Langerhans barely knew what had happened before it hit the wall, bounced back towards him, went off his hip and into the crowd.
Two-base error, three unearned runs later score.
“It’s a ball that I should have caught,” Langerhans said. “I just kind of gator-armed it a little bit. I don’t know if I took my eye off it. I haven’t had a chance to take a look at it (on video). But it’s a play that I probably make 99.9 times out of 100.”
Langerhans wasn’t making excuses. And he probably didn’t need to. Few on his team seemed up to making a big play when it mattered most.
Those seeing-eye grounders that got through for hits off Doug Fister to start the seventh inning? Yeah they were hits and just beyond the reach of Chone Figgins and Chris Woodward. But maybe a better jump gets to those balls. Maybe not.
The M’s like I said earlier, always seemed a step or two too late tonight.
“That’s what I was looking for there, a ground ball,” Fister said. “It’s unfortunate.”
Fister wasn’t pointing fingers or making excuses. Just stating the obvious. He wasn’t tired to start the seventh. He’d retired 12 of 13 to start the game and was still feeling strong towards the end.
He got the grounders he needed. Just didn’t get the gloves in front of them needed as well.
Then, in the sixth, after Casey Kotchman tied it 3-3 with a single, Franklin Gutierrez was at third with one out. But on an ensuing contact play, Adam Moore hit a ball to third base. Gutierrez was hung up in a rundown and easily tagged out. How often have we seen that particular play happen? Lots.
Another opportunity, another chance missed.
Figgins had three hits tonight while Kotchman had two and the two RBI. They are doing better offensively but it wasn’t enough tonight.
To me, the M’s just seemed a step or two behind all game. Maybe it’s the time on the road. Maybe I’m just wrong.
But the scoreboard doesn’t lie.
Seattle is now 5-5 on the trip after three straight losses, with two games left.