Let’s be honest here, this should have been the Tigers game because of how ridiculously amazing their starter was tonight. The first hit he allowed was deep in the game in the 6th inning. His second allowed hit was an RBI double. And honestly, the Tigers should have been able to keep the Red Sox at that single run. But there seemed to be no bullpen support for the Tigers in their attempt to take the second game of the ALCS tonight.
And to top it off, the Tigers were leading with 5 runs — an RBI single in the 2nd and then a solo homer, an RBI double, and a 2-run homer in the 6th. That’s right, things were looking great for the Tigers. And then it was the 8th inning, an inning I’m sure the Tigers would love to redo tonight. So they bring in a new pitcher who got an out and allowed a double; pitching change and a walk; pitching change to get a strike out and a single to load the bases; a pitching change that promptly gave up a grand slam to tie up the game. Yes, you read that right — an 8th inning, 2-out grand slam.
Now while that was great for the Red Sox and their fans because it then gave them a “snowball’s chance” to actually win this game, but in the process of making a running catch for the ball the Detroit outfielder went head over heels into the Red Sox bullpen. So the Fenway fans were cheering (even the security cop in the bullpen), but the entire Red Sox bullpen went over to check on the downed Detroit fielder. The difference between compassion for basic humanity and the raucous celebration for an athletic feat was a stark contrast. The outfielder was okay, a bit winded, but okay. But I was impressed by the kindness in the bullpen.
Anyway, the game ended the next inning with a walk-off RBI single. So Boston took the game 6-5, and tied up the ALCS 1-1 as they all pack up and continue the series in Detroit this week.
I think that kindness sticks with me more than the grand slam itself. At that moment, the guys in the Red Sox bullpen weren’t seeing some enemy but rather a fellow ball player who might be hurt. And for that one moment, I saw the separation, the widening gap between the attitude of the Boston players and that of the Boston fans. Perhaps, this is why it’s so easy to adopt an opposing ball player into the team because at the end of the day, they’re all in the same boat — baseball players trying to win a ball game for their team. Seeing as becoming a professional athlete is a relatively small club, it’s nice to see examples of the club taking care of its own.
After all, you never know when they might be lucky enough to wear Yankee pinstripes…