I Was At Fenway When Two Of The Wildest Trades Happened
For many baseball fans today is a day that is marked on the calendar with the expectation there will be many players traded and teams will be retooled on the fly. Major League Baseball's non-waiver trade deadline is today. While it is fun for the fans, we need to remember that people will be called today and told that they have been traded to a team in a different city, and that it's time to move.
They wouldn't really trade him, right?
The Boston Red Sox have been a key player in trade deadlines of the past as they chased down a title that eluded the franchise for nearly 9 decades. A few years after they broke the curse and won the 2004 World Series, the Red Sox found themselves in a position of strength and weakness. The 2008 team was competing with the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees for first place in the AL East. However, superstar Manny Ramirez had become disgruntled and the club was trying to find a way to trade the man who helped win a World Series.
I paid good money for these tickets
On July 31 of that year, I was in Boston to attend their series against the Oakland A's. A group of friends and I had made a yearly trip to Fenway around the end of July or early August. We had heard the rumors that a trade was possible, but we never thought it would happen until the news broke across the radio on the way into the city. By the time Friday night's game came along Manny was with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the city of Boston was welcoming Jason Bay to the confines of left field at Fenway Park. It was an odd feeling to know that the prized free agent from years earlier was now gone in the blink of an eye.
A Bay, Bay
Jason Bay quickly won the fans of Boston over, delivering a walk-off hit in his first game followed by a huge performance in a victory the next day. At the piano bar on the other side of the Green Monster you could hear fans chanting "...expletive Manny Ramirez”
Knock, knock, it's us. The new guys. All of the new guys.
While the feeling around that weekend was unusual, nothing compared to the trade deadline of 2012. Again, I found myself traveling to Boston with the same group of guys. It was a Thursday and the LA Angels were in town for the final game of their series in Boston, with a rookie named Mike Trout in the outfield. From the time we started our drive from Bangor to Boston, the Red Sox had made a massive move, once again with the Dodgers. Boston had traded Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, and Josh Beckett away, leaving the Red Sox with a pile of minor league players to get through the weekend series. This was a move that nobody saw coming. It felt like half of the team was gone and hopes of making the playoffs were gone in a snap. I was cost the chance to see them play in person one more time, but I was able to see Trout as a rookie. So, it was not a bad trade from my perspective.
The trade deadline will come and go today and your favorite team may look a little different tomorrow. Enjoy the ride.