July 29, 2006: It’s a beautiful day

I have an extremely predictable routine when I go to the park with my camera.  I get there when the gates open and dash right in to catch whatever’s happening during BP time for the Sox.  Typically, there’s only about 25 minutes remaining of home BP, so I’ve got to be quick!  Once the Sox go in I can make some leisurely decisions about shooting the visiting team in BP, or I pick up a Smithwick’s and walk around the park people-watching.  About an hour before game time I get something to eat, usually a RemDawg.  (Mmmmn.  I could go for a RemDawg right now.  Ten more weeks. sigh.) Then it’s off to my seat, hoping I’ll have a clear shot of the field.

Once in a while, everything comes together perfectly.  July 29 was one of those days.  It was a Sunday, which usually means no BP but sometimes means the pitchers will be out tossing instead.  The weather was gorgeous, bright and sunny.  I parked myself in right field…

Note:  Click thumbnails for full-size images

Craig Hansen was throwing…

As well as Jon Lester.

And Mike Timlin was out.  Love the Sunday red jerseys…

Timlin senior with Papelbon, and a true youngster…

… a young pitcher who found himself intensely evaluated, both by Dad Mike Timlin as catcher…

… and by coach Ralph Treuel.

Always time for a little fun and games for the big kids, too!

And that day, I had another rare treat in store:  a seat in Field Box 50!

Beckett was pitching…

… against Jered Weaver.

Tek seemed close enough to ask for my bottle of water.

Nobody swings like Manny.

Nice to be close enough to see the sweat on Tek’s forearms.

I was out of the sun by this point, but Trot wasn’t, and those helmets are warm.  Seems like a very Dirt Dog thing to dry out the sweat with an elbow pad!

Manny, and OC, laughing.  I particularly like to catch players relaxed like this!

One of my favorite photos all year.  I always wondered if Big Papi really spit!

Hansen, thoughtful about a pitch that didn’t go where it was supposed to and thus ended up where it shouldn’t have gone.  (2-run HR to Curtis Pride in the seventh putting the Angels up 5-3.)

But this is why we have both young pitchers and pitching coaches.

Mike Timlin next on in relief; he surrendered a run.  Angels up 6-3.

I love Timlin’s intensity.  One of the great things about Box 50 is that you can get a near head-on view but without the home plate netting.

No matter where you sit, people will hold things up in front of you… but I actually liked the effect here.  (Home run off Scot Shields pulling the Sox to within 2.)

OC tried to pull the "hidden ball" trick on Manny, who is laughing joyfully that it didn’t work.

Trot chats with the second base ump after moving up to second on a wild pitch.  He and Manny would score to tie it on a Mike Lowell ground rule double.

Another of my favorites from this day–Coco’s beautiful hands.

Papelbon next on the mound for two innings: six batters, six outs.

and Julian Tavarez pitched a scoreless inning thanks to Manny nailing Mike Napoli at the plate.

I will miss Gonzo terribly–he could be very expressive when he wasn’t fielding!  And best of all, he would come around on an Ortiz single against the shift to score the game-winner in the eleventh.

Hurray!

Most days I don’t take so many pictures during the game–I’m generally too busy watching (or, ideally, screaming and clapping like a maniac) to wield the camera.  But when it all comes together it’s hard to resist!  I hope I get a few days like this one in 2007.

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