Saturday, August 2, 2008

Jason Bay, You're Not in Pittsburgh Anymore

The Boston Red Sox new left fielder was greeted with thunderous applause as he approach the plate. Bay was visibly moved by the gesture. At PNC Park in Pittsburgh, the Pirates are lucky to draw 20,000 people a night. That doesn't sound like such a bad number but PNC Park holds nearly 40,000. So their ballpark is nearly half empty. Not that the people of Pittsburgh can be blamed. The Pirates haven't had a winning season since 1992. Although PNC Park is considered one of the most beautiful in baseball, Pittsburgh is for all intents and purposes the Siberia of Baseball where players yearn to be freed from exile.

Although Bay did play at Fenway during an interleague series with the Red Sox in 2005 (I attended one of those games) there's nothing like playing in Fenway wearing a Red Sox uniform.
Bay had a fabulous night in his Red Sox debut against the Oakland Athletics. He went 1 for 3 while walking twice and being hit by a pitch. Bay made a spectacular catch in the 5th inning off the bat of Ryan Sweeney which saved a run from scoring. In the 12th, Bay just missed a homerun but settled for a triple. Bay would score the winning run on a Jed Lowrie single to give the Sox a 2-1 extra innings victory. In fact, Bay scored both Sox runs last night.

Across the country, Manny Ramirez went 2 for 4 in his Dodgers debut. He came up representing the winning run in the bottom of the 9th against their division rivals, the Arizona Diamondbacks. But D'Backs closer (and former Red Sox teammate) Brandon Lyon induced Manny into hitting into a game ending double play to give the D'Backs a 2-1 victory and a three game lead over the Dodgers in the NL West.

An auspicious debut for Jason Bay. An inauspicious debut for Manny. Perhaps a sign of things to come.

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