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Keeping Score: Put your dreams away for another day

  • Second coming of Willie Mays? That’s what Pablo Sandoval called Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts (above) two years ago. ap file photo

  • Red Sox designated hitter Hanley Ramirez: “overpaid, longhaired stiff.” ap file photo


Friday, October 13, 2017

Good morning!

Paul Mann and Stephan Weiss must’ve been Red Sox fans to have written that song (headlined, above) 25 years after the last Red Sox pennant in 1943.

This year’s dream ended without much fanfare, a 5-3 loss on a wet, dreary and depressing day in the Hub. A standing-room ticket cost a mere $20, a fitting price in a season when NESN’s ratings were down 15 percent and 3,726 fewer fans walked through the turnstile into America’s most beloved ballpark.

It’s been five years since Boston’s 820-game consecutive sellout streak ended. The box office bleed-out will continue if the Red Sox don’t get a big bat that can park baseballs on Lansdowne Street. Here’s the mother of all trades: Xander Bogaerts, Andrew Benintendi and Craig Kimbrel to the Washington Nationals for Bryce Harper. Otherwise go after Giancarlo (don’t-call-me-Mike) Stanton.

Before most of Fenway Park’s obstructed-view seats were removed, I sat next to a fan whose seat was directly behind a support beam. He stared at the olive green paint for a few minutes and finally admitted, “I can’t see a thing, but I still love this place.”

At Wrigley Field on Wednesday, Mark Snyder paid $100 for an Infield Upper Deck seat that he expected would have “some pole obstruction.”

Snyder grew up in Amherst and is still a “diehard Red Sox fan.” After he moved to the Windy City, the Cubs became his second love, if only for the two old ballparks’ similarities. “These are the same ballfields trod upon by Babe Ruth, Hack Wilson, Ernie Banks, Ted Williams. They have iconic manual scoreboards, short (home run) porches and public transportation.”

As for their differences, Snyder wrote, “Wrigley has ivy on the outfield walls, rooftop watching and the ghost of Harry Karay singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” Fenway has Monster Seats, ‘Sweet Caroline’ and ‘Dirty Water.’”

One other difference: the Cubs are playing and the Red Sox aren’t.

Retired Recorder sports writer Mark Durant was among the 18,191 fans at T-Mobile Arena Tuesday to see the Vegas Golden Knights beat Arizona in their historic home opener.

“I don’t even know where to start when trying to describe the evening,” said Durant, who flew out west with his nephew Jeremy Durant to see the Oct. 7 game at Arizona, as well as the home opener against the Coyotes. “The pregame ceremony (honoring the shooting victims) was very powerful and emotional. The organization did a first-class job, and Arizona was incredibly classy by standing with Vegas during the anthem, and saluting the fans after the game. It was one of the best sports experiences of my life.”

Durant — who is moving later this month to a Vegas suburb for the winter and part of the spring — said the NHL’s newest expansion team has taken the city by storm. “They absolutely have,” said Durant, a partial season ticket holder. “I was at practice Monday morning and spoke with (former Bruins announcer) Dave Goucher. Their practice facility — City National Arena — includes the team offices, two sheets of ice and a full-service restaurant between the rinks.

“Everybody was there — NHL Network, NBC Sports Network, all the local media, and about 400 fans. It was pretty cool.”

The Yankees’ three-game comeback against Cleveland will keep Joe Girardi’s failure to challenge a hit-by-pitch from going down as one of baseball’s all-time gaffes.

“I shoulda challenged. I screwed up, and it’s a hard day for me,” Girardi said Saturday.

The umpire blew the call, the Yankees’ replay system didn’t have super-slo mo, and Chad Green gave up the home run, but it all landed on Girardi.

Wet weather reminiscence: On a rainy day at Fenway Park in the 1970s, Carl Yastrzemski came into the dugout wearing socks and stirrups, game pants and a long-sleeved warmup jersey. He was smoking a cigarette and looking at the flag in center field. He saw it flapping in an easterly breeze off the ocean he smiled. “No game,” said Yaz, and he returned to the clubhouse and resumed playing hearts with infielder Doug Griffin.

Squibbers: As per the Elias Sports Bureau, Wednesday’s Game 5 matchup between Corey Kluber and CC Sabathia was the fourth time two Cy Young winners hooked up in a winner-take-all matchup. Boston’s Pedro Martinez did it twice — in 2003 against Barry Zito (A’s) and Roger Clemens (Yankees) — and Chris Carpenter (Cardinals) outdueled Roy Halliday (Phils) in 2011. … Mookie Betts’ over-the-shoulder catch against Houston with the season on the brink was the test-by-fire that proves what Pablo Sandoval said two years ago, that Betts is the second coming of Willie Mays. ... Jayson Werth is to the Nationals what Hanley Ramirez is to the Red Sox, both are overpaid, longhaired stiffs. … It’s not always for love of city these guys play the game. Last year’s ALDS losers received about $18,000 per player and the World Series-winning Cubs all got $350,000 per share. When the Bronx Bombers won 10 World Series from 1947 to 1962, Yankee management called it their pay raise. … Former Red Sox third baseman Travis Shaw (31 home runs and 101 RBIs) was voted Brewers MVP by Milwaukee baseball writers. The Sox traded him last offseason for reliever Tyler Thornburg, who missed the entire season with a bad arm. … I’m hoping the next Red Sox manager is Brad Ausmus, but am expecting it will be Alex Cora. … “A cement mixer slider” is what Fox analyst AJ Pierzynski called Justin Verlander’s gopher ball to Andrew Benintendi. … Noting Aroldis Chapman’s sweat-soaked hat after his five-out save on Sunday, Big Papi wiped his brow and proclaimed, “Even I’m sweating!” … Yankee first baseman Greg Bird after his home run beat Cleveland that night, 1-0: “See it and hit it. That’s what my mom tells me all the time.” … Brock Holt had no at-bats against Houston after going 4-for-10 with a home run and double in last year’s playoffs against Cleveland. … Washington infielder Anthony Rendon: “It ain’t over till the fat lady sings or play 27 outs or whatever acronym you want to come up with.” … The fat lady has sung, there’s 27 outs and RIP, Senor Rendon. … Astros versus Nationals would’ve matched two teams that share the same spring training facility at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. … The Yankees and Astros went into last night’s ALCS opener having led the majors in home runs, runs and RBIs. … “I never blame myself when I’m not hitting,” said Yogi Berra. “I just blame the bat, and if it keeps up I change bats.”

Chip Ainsworth is an award-winning columnist who has penned his observations about sports for four decades in the Pioneer Valley. He can be reached by email at sports@recorder.com.