There’s no other way to describe tonight’s bizarre scene at Fenway Park. It didn’t help that despite a valiant comeback, the Red Sox lost AGAIN to Toronto (and the streak is now at 5). The Blue Jays were just teeing off on Clay Buchholz, and David Ortiz shouldn’t be too happy at dogging it down the line, allowing Kevin Millar of all people to turn an allegedly acrobatic double play. But that’s besides the point – the Sox LOST.
This was like a bizarro 2007, where the Red Sox won their game and then waited out the Yankees loss to Baltimore before celebrating their AL East title. Only this time, the Red Sox lost, and then had to wait around for Texas to lose to the AAA team the Angels fielded in Anaheim. Many of the players stuck around, although many of them, Pedroia and Bay included, told us they left and spent some time with family before coming back for the final innings of the game that wrapped up around 12:45 AM eastern. David Ortiz joked that he was going to a bar and expected some free drinks while he watched the game.
We went upstairs to the press box and watched ourselves, and sure enough Texas lost. But unlike 2007, there would be no delayed champagne celebration, no communing with fans (who had long since gone home). The clubhouse was closed, and despite hearing the thumping hip hop beats in the background, and the occasional champagne-soaked clubhouse attendant sneak out, we didn’t really get a glimpse of what was going on.
Instead, Mike Lowell, Dustin Pedroia, Jason Bay, and Mr. Old Hat Tim Wakefield (who may be making his final major league start Wednesday night) came out to briefly chat with us in a very-low key manner, save for some Papelbon party jokes (which were later proved to be unfounded – we watched him pull out of the Fenway garage and drive off around 1:30 AM, kind of early for someone Mike Lowell described as “probably in a thong right now with goggles and drinking Budweiser.” Maybe he knows the best closer is a well-rested one).
It’s not so much that only a few players came out. There are few things more fun than running into a champagne soaked locker room and interviewing jubliant players as they rain booze down upon you. It’s the pinnacle of sporting events, even if you’re a team with 2 recent World Series titles essentially celebrating finishing in fourth place.
In years past, the Sox have defended (and it’s a good point) their Wild Card clinching celebrations by saying it’s more a celebration of surviving a brutally long season and making it to the postseason, an accomplishment in and of itself. Maybe tonight’s closed door affair is an acknowledgement from the team that this is old hat – they’ve been here before, and they are supposed to be here now, so really, this isn’t cause for a massive celebration, rather, a reminder that there is still a lot of work to be done.
And so we went home dry tonight. Not such a bad thing, but it could have been better.