Fenway Park: Absolute Bedlam

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BOSTON — In between the third and fourth inning of Game 6, the Boston Police Department issued a statement that the Bars around Fenway Park were at full capacity so, please, don’t bother coming down here. Based on what I saw in and around Fenway Park this evening, I am 100% certain that no one heeded that request. There’s no moving on those streets down there as I write this, and most of the fans in attendance tonight haven’t even left the ballpark yet.

I’d never been to Fenway Park before, but I didn’t need anyone to tell me that, in terms of electricity and excitement, what was going on here was something different, something new. But they told me anyway. A writer I know who gets to Fenway often said he’d never heard it this loud or seen it this crazy. A reader who lives in the Kenmore Square area tweeted to tell me that he’s been out in the neighborhood this evening and he’d never heard anything like it before. Heck, midway through the game a couple of fans just waltzed into the press box, beers and hand, and decided it’d be a good place to hang out. It was quite the scene.

But that was just the looney stuff. The exuberance that comes after the game is truly decided and everyone starts the long party. It couldn’t compare at all to what was going on in the third and fourth innings.

The auxiliary press box was my home at Fenway tonight. It’s way out in section 3 of the right field grandstand and is surrounded by fans who bought tickets. And, while all of the tickets for tonight’s game were expensive, these are, comparatively speaking, the cheap seats. And as everyone knows, the cheap seats are the loudest seats. I was generally able to hear myself think for the first couple of innings, but then in the third David Ortiz was being intentionally walked and a chorus of boos rained down. Then Mike Napoli struck out. Then Shane Victorino came up:

“Don’t worry … ’bout a thing …

“CAUSE EVERY LITTLE THING, GONNA BE ALRIGHT!!!!!”

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It sounds moderately cheesy on TV. It is absolutely electric in person.  But that didn’t compare a lick to the sound that emanated from the 38,447 in attendance when Victorino smacked the fourth Michael Wacha pitch he saw off the Green Monster. I would say that, an inning later, Stephen Drew’s solo homer jacked them up again but that would be misleading because they hadn’t yet come down. By the time Victorino came to the plate again — following Jacoby Ellsbury’s double and walks to David Ortiz and Jonny Gomes — it was absolute bedlam. When Victorino singled in Ortiz to make it 6-0, the rafters rattled.

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There were still five innings to go, but Boston knew it had its third World Series championship in ten years. And Boston isn’t going to sleep until the sun comes up tomorrow morning.

Kolten Wong lashes out after losing his starting role with the Cardinals

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Kolten Wong is no longer the only second baseman being considered for a starting role on the Cardinals’ roster, and he’s not happy about it. On Saturday, GM John Mozeliak and manager Mike Matheny hinted that Wong could lose playing time to Jedd Gyorko or Greg Garcia in 2017 — in other words, an infielder who brings a little more pop at the plate. Prior to the Cardinals’ game against the Marlins on Sunday, Wong gave his heated response to the media. Via Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

I don’t think you give somebody a contract for no reason,” Wong said. “When you are given a contract, you are expected to get a chance to work through some things and figure yourself out. Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, all these guys never figured their stuff out until later on down the road. It’s the big leagues. It’s tough, man. For me, the biggest thing is I just need people to have my back. When that comes, it will be good. But, I think right now, it’s just staying with my play, understanding I’m working toward getting myself more consistent, understanding what kind of player I can be. If that’s going to be with another team, so be it.

When pressed, Wong said that he would rather be traded away from St. Louis than step into a limited role with the team. “I don’t want to be here wasting my time,” he told the press. “I know what kind of player I am. If I don’t have the belief here, then I’ll go somewhere else.” The 26-year-old was inked to a five-year, $25.5 million extension prior to the 2016 season, complete with a $12.5 million option and $1 million buyout.

Part of Wong’s frustration stems from the Cardinals’ backtracking on their stated commitment to him as their starting second baseman last winter. Mozeliak admitted that while Wong had the defensive tools necessary to hold down the position, he failed to impress at the plate. It’s an argument that Wong hasn’t been able to rebut this spring, going 8-for-44 with two extra bases and 10 strikeouts in camp. He hasn’t looked much better in the regular season, sustaining a career .248/.309/.370 batting line with a .678 OPS and 5.1 fWAR over four years with the organization.

Still, the second baseman feels that he should have been given some heads up that he was playing to keep his starting role this spring, admitting that he entered camp with the mentality of someone who had a guaranteed spot on the Cardinals’ roster and not someone whose job security was dependent on his day-to-day results. “I need the time to consistently figure out how to be me and succeed at this level,” said Wong. “Everybody goes through it. Not everybody is Mike Trout.”

The Tigers are trying to convert Anthony Gose into a pitcher

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Tigers’ center fielder Anthony Gose wants to try his hand at pitching, according to comments made by manager Brad Ausmus on Sunday. Gose is poised to start the year in Triple-A Toledo after receiving a midseason demotion to Double-A last summer following an altercation with Triple-A manager Lloyd McClendon.

While the experiment won’t detract from Gose’s outfield work in Triple-A, the 26-year-old is expected to take on additional bullpen sessions throughout the year. According to MLB.com’s Jason Beck, the left-handed hitter last took the mound in high school, where his fastball was clocked as fast as 97 m.p.h. Gose ultimately rejected the idea of starting his professional career as a pitcher, despite receiving favorable assessments from scouts.

Ausmus said the idea first surfaced at the end of the 2016 season. It appears to be a fallback option for the outfielder, who has struggled at the plate over his five-year career in the majors. Via Chris McCosky of the Detroit News:

Doolittle in Oakland did it and he was in the big leagues a couple of years later,” Ausmus said. “It’s going to take some time. He’s going to have to be a sponge and catch up on experience fast. But we feel it’s worth investigating.