I went to the Sox game today. The last Sox game of 2006. It rained. It poured. The game was supposed to start at 2:05—I sat in the car listening to the radio and talking on my cell (free weekends!) until they finally announced a start time of 5:25, when I wandered over to Fenway. Peter Gammons got a hearty welcome by the crowd as he threw out the first pitch. Then the game got underway, and the no-name rookie (okay he actually does have a name: Davern Hansack) who was pitching for the Sox made it well worth the wait by going 5 innings with 6 strikeouts, just one walk, and no—that’s right, NO—hits. But after the bottom of the fifth, the tarp came out again and about half an hour later the umps called it a game. I stayed until the bitter end, hoping that Davern would get a shot to finish what he started. But no dice.

To make it even weirder, the final score was 9-0, Sox. Eric Hinske, Mark Loretta, and Mike Lowell all hit homers. Trot Nixon, who has anchored Fenway’s right field since 1999 (and has been with the organization for 13 years) but is not expected to be back next year, got several standing ovations and tipped his hat twice. And the Fenway Faithful, hoping to see number 55, booed every ball thrown to David Ortiz…but with Manny not in the lineup, there was no reason to pitch to Papi, who fouled out in his only official at-bat.

As the rain continued to fall, and the last, sodden die-hards filed slowly out of the old ballpark, there was almost no joy in Mudville. It was good to go out with a win—even a surreal, rain-shortened one—but the Great Implosion of 2006 will not be soon forgotten.

Fenway will soon fill up snow instead of fans. But we’ll be back. In 190 days. (Not that we’re counting.)

It's been a privilege, old pal.

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