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Red Sox, Angels take over seven hours to get through last night’s game

May 5, 2011, 8:25 AM EDT

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Boston Red Sox Getty Images

The time of play was “only” five hours. Tack on a two and a half hour rain delay, however, and it pushed the end of this game to 2:45 AM.  By the end of it all there was hardly anyone in the stands,* the Angels announcers were wearing wrestling masks and Daisuke Matsuzaka was taking the loss in his first ever relief appearance, losing it in the 13th inning on a two-run, bases loaded single by Bobby Abreu.

And the best part?  These two teams get to turn around and play a day game today. First pitch is 1:35.  There is no word if Bud Selig is going to impose a one-game moratorium on the greenies ban.  Because really, stuff like this is why they were so popular in the first place.

Know what else used to be popular? A balanced schedule that meant that a west coast team like Anaheim visited Fenway more than once, thereby allowing more opportunities for makeup games. If that were still the case today, they probably would have called last night’s game for rain and made it up later. As it is, they can’t, because the Sox and Angels have no more common off days and the Angels won’t make it back to Fenway. Progress isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.

But hey: at least Anaheim fans can get their own wrestling masks soon.

*Some people thought that, during the game, NESN was intentionally avoiding crowd shots which would reveal how empty Fenway Park was. If that is the case — and if anyone was watching, chime in — it’s kind of sad. I know Fenway is a hot ticket and all, but only those who have zero obligations on a Thursday morning or the truly deranged could be expected to stay through all of that nonsense. If NESN was trying to hide that simple fact they probably need a perspective infusion.

  1. Roger Moore - May 5, 2011 at 9:20 AM

    Something tells me that greenies were more popular for dealing with the consequences of partying than the occasional really long rain delay. Long rain delays are rare, but partying can happen every night.

  2. heynerdlinger - May 5, 2011 at 9:35 AM

    I know that the Angels are flying back to LA tonight for a game tomorrow, but they could have squeezed in a double-header today. Teams make those flights all the time.

    But to continue my rant from the other thread, let me also point out that Detroit plays in Boston for a single two-game series in May and is done at Fenway for the season. The Red Sox were done playing in Oakland by the end of April after playing another single two-game series.

    I recall the last time we had such ridiculousness was prior to the last contract negotiation that led to the unbalanced schedule. Selig’s response at the time was that the two-game series were impossible to avoid because there was a balanced schedule, and (I’m not making this up) the elderly couple that built the MLB schedule *by hand* couldn’t design the schedule any other way.

  3. umrguy42 - May 5, 2011 at 9:39 AM

    …If it was a day game today, couldn’t they have made it a double-header?

    • jbartlett79 - May 5, 2011 at 10:27 AM

      In theory, yes, but the Angels have a home game on Friday. I think it’s the home team’s decision, based on something the distinguished Mr. Calcaterra posted a few weeks back, but nothing screws up a getaway-day like a doubleheader!

  4. clydeserra - May 5, 2011 at 10:21 AM

    The place was empty by the end. There were no crowd shots that I saw. But it was 2 AM. who in their right mind would be there?

  5. Jack Marshall - May 5, 2011 at 10:23 AM

    That’s utter crap about NESN avoiding crowd shots. For one thing, it was impossible, since the shots from home plate showed the bleachers absolutely abandoned. And the NESN announcers were joking about how you could hear individual comments from the stands because so few people were left. Eckersley said that it reminded him of his days pitching in Cleveland at old, cavernous, empty Municipal Stadium.

  6. jbartlett79 - May 5, 2011 at 10:26 AM

    I watched the majority of this game on NESN, with MLB.TV, and they showed plenty of crowd shots. Coming back from commercial just after the rain delay, they started with a slow pan showing a single fan sitting alone in the bleachers. An inning or two later, they showed the Fenway cleaning crew working in the now-empty bleachers, with both anchors (Don Orsillo and Dennis Eckersley, who is filling in for Jerry Remy) laughing about how the cleaning guys were getting a head start for tomorrow’s day game. They even came back to this point the next half-inning with another shot of the cleaning crew, joking about it again.

    They also joked repeatedly about how empty the stadium was, and how the players would be able to hear individual hecklers. Eck said it was like that every night during his early days playing in Cleveland.

    I will openly admit to falling asleep with the Sox down 2-0, only finding out this morning that the game went into extra innings, so who knows. The best conspiracy theories are hatched after midnight, aren’t they?

  7. frankvzappa - May 5, 2011 at 11:40 AM

    one of the funnest games ive ever watched…between the Biz Markie and all the crystal clear heckling, it was like being back in Boston, if only for a short while…Red Sox fans get a bad rap, but how much can you really hate a group of people that hasnt had a drink for hours breaking into Just A Friend?

    • mornelithe - May 5, 2011 at 2:38 PM

      They stop serving alcohol in Fenway before 2am? Really? (I’ve never been there, I assumed they could serve until bar hours at least).

      • Steve A - May 5, 2011 at 11:49 PM

        The only time I was at Fenway, which was in 2002, they stopped selling alcohol at 10pm. Unfortunately for us, the game was delayed by rain for 2 hours before the start. So, it started at 9pm, and alcohol was done an hour later when the game was only in the 3rd inning.

        Also, most stadiums will stop alcohol sales in the 8th inning. They won’t reopen, either, regardless of the length of extra innings.

  8. mornelithe - May 5, 2011 at 2:41 PM

    The only way NESN could’ve avoided showing empty seats is to never cover any hitters contact with the ball…or show video from behind the pitcher looking down homeplate…ok, so as long as the cameras were focused solely on the field and no seats were in view. Then yeah, they could’ve avoided shots of empty seats. Facts are, I watched the whole thing until 2:30am, and I was laughing about it being fan appreciation night, because they were getting as much airtime as the players (Eckersley mentioned something along those lines too).

    That aside, it’s a shame Beckett and Santana weren’t able to continue their duel. It was a really nice battle through 5, damn rain.

  9. po8crg - May 5, 2011 at 4:02 PM

    I woke up at 7am (GMT+1) and looked up the score online. So I watched the last couple of innings over breakfast. Took me back to 2004 and watching Papi hitting walk-off homers while I ate my cereal.

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