I had the honor and pleasure of attending a winning performance by the 2023 Red Sox this past week. My first time at Kauffman Field as well, this game was full of the charm and fear induced by this year’s pesky Sox (pun intended).
It first began with some guy fist-bumping me in the security line for my Nick Pivetta jersey, which then led to me meeting my first-ever Over the Monster “co-worker” in real life. Big shoutout to Dean for being so intrigued by Kansas City that he literally decided to travel halfway across the country to attend this series. Although, I’m sure this decision was definitely influenced by the presence of Joe’s Barbeque.
I then sat down in my beautiful outfield upper-deck seats that I purchased for $15 less than 24 hours earlier, which just shows what a life you can lead in Kansas City. (Though I do have a few gripes considering I’ve been able to get much better seats for about $8 at Coors Field before— including the year that they made the Wild Card game!) From this vantage point, it was clear that Boston fans had traveled well, as I’d say the majority of seats that actually were occupied, were occupied by someone donning red.
Lucky for me, I had the absolute pleasure of sitting next to a group of 25-year-old drunk dudes who were already on their third alcoholic slushie by the second inning. They definitely enhanced my experience, as one wearing a Yoshida jersey would randomly stand up and scream “YOOOOOSHIIIIDAAAAAA” a few times per half-inning when Masataka Yoshida was not at all involved in any sort of play or moment.
And then the game actually started. I was blessed to see a Chris Sale/Zack Greinke matchup for the majority of the game, which was the first time I’d seen either of these greats in person. Sale was quick, recording five strikeouts over five smooth innings outside of a struggle to end the bottom of the fifth. He gave up no runs simply in my honor, and set up the Sox well as he left with the score at 3-0.
Greinke kept the Royals in it for a bit, giving up four hits with no strikeouts but managing to prevent a run from scoring until Yoshida’s three-run home run in the top of the fifth. I’m pretty sure he hit that in honor of the guy sitting next to me who was definitely the biggest supporter there. Of course, Yoshida man went crazy and then went on to make some kind of bet with his friend over the mini hot dog race a few innings later. (Yes, mini hot dog race meaning that it was kids dressed up in the hot dog costumes who then ran the shortest race ever seen to man).
After this, Adam Duvall hit an absolute monster shot of a home run that I’m not even positive has landed yet; instead, it entered orbit among the grassy fields and highways that surround the insane area that is both Kauffman and Arrowhead Stadium. And up to this point, I’d experienced only the highs of the 2023 Boston Red Sox— something I hadn’t gotten an ounce of during my trip to Fenway Park this year for the dreaded combination of that Cardinals and Mariners back-to-back.
Of course, Alex Cora decided to do something to ruin this experience, selecting Mauricio Llovera from the bullpen to follow Sale in the sixth. He immediately gave up an RBI to the ancient Salvador Pérez before fooling around and finally deciding he actually didn’t want to give up any more runs in the inning.
Luckily for Boston, Justin Turner exists and continues to contribute to scoring in the late innings, driving in a run in the top of the seventh with a sacrifice fly. My beloved Rafael Devers added to the lead in the ninth, making it 7-1 with an RBI double scoring Enmanuel Valdez. And then, yet again, Cora did his gosh darndest to ruin the afternoon, putting in Kenley Jansen to close out a game in which Boston held onto a six-run lead.
Jansen, predictably, decided that it was a good time to mess around and allowed two base runners before recording a single out. Then with runners on second and third, Dairon Blanco, a thirty-year-old who had seven major league plate appearances before this year, drove in both men with an RBI single.
It was at this point that the friend I dragged along to the game with me turned to me and said, “Seriously, how is this guy your closer?” To be fair, I think the question, “Seriously, why is this guy your closer in a six-run game?” may have been more valid, but I understand the sentiment.
Jansen might have heard her, as he pulled it together and got the save on a fly out by Bobby Witt Jr. An up-and-down day in the oddest baseball stadium I have seen in my life is definitely something I will not soon forget, so I’d like to give a shoutout to MLB for changing the scheduling format so that I can actually see the Red Sox in this section of the country more often than once every five years.