For most of my life, going to a game at Fenway meant sitting in Dad’s seats–the grandstands in section 16. Not exactly the most comfortable place to lay one’s 6’2″ frame, but, hey, it’s Fenway with Dad and you really can’t beat that combination. Last night, I got a new perspective, as my sister and brother-in-law hooked me up with some choice seating in the section 27 box seats, three rows from the field and directly behind the NESN camera pit. As an added bonus, I had my view of Daisuke Matsuzaka partially obscured a few times by the glorious Heidi Watney–who was literally so close I could’ve reached out and touched her, if I was the sort of guy who didn’t care about prison or beatdowns at the hands of Fenway security. See that photo above, esteemed members of the law enforcement community? I laugh at your foolish “restraining orders”!

The game itself was a taut, engaging affair, with nobody pushing any runs across through the first seven-and-a-half innings. Just the sort of game you’d expect to be played on steamy night at Fenway where the sweat was literally pouring off everybody in the stands (and I distinctly watched sweat from the brim of the beer guy’s cap drip into a few of the Bud Lights he poured–an added bonus!). Just when it looked like we couldn’t buy a clutch hit with a sack of gold, Manny–last seen sleepwalking through a ninth-inning pinch hit stint at Yankee Stadium–came through in the bottom of the eighth with a clutch single to drive in The Elf with the lone run of the game. With that stroke of the bat, a brilliant showing by Daisuke, a rare instance of Okajima craftily escaping a men-on-base jam, and The Papel-Bot being vintage Papel-Bot, the Sox snapped their two-game skid and, at least for all of us drunk, sweaty buffoons in the stands at Fenway, erased the memories of that nutpunch of a roadtrip.

My personal favorite moment of the game came in the seventh, when a foul ball flew right down our way. While I often dream about making an heroic, bare-handed jab for such fouls, I actually kinda recoiled with what I’m sure was a schoolgirl-esque yelp as the ball shot toward us. It ended up caroming off the back of the seat of a kid sitting two rows in front of us. He snagged it off the floor, and had the damn thing signed by Ms. Watney herself.

Here you can see what she wrote: “Nice catch!”

Tonight, it’s supposed to be even hotter at the ballpark. I’ll be watching this one at home, awash in conditioned air and far cheaper beer. But, alas, no Heidi standing a couple feet in front of me. Unless, of course, my master plan comes together…

::Cue evil laughter::

Lastly, here’s Pap coming into the game, as the PA system blares “Wild Thing.”