by | Nov 21, 2008 | Detroit Free Press | 0 comments

BOSTON — Aha. I know what’s going on here. Not long after Saturday’s game — when Fenway Park had emptied and the Red Sox had clobbered the Tigers for their 24th straight home victory — I heard the telltale clue: quiet, soft, but definitely there. Giggling.

“We did it again,” the leprechauns chuckled from somewhere inside the stadium, maybe behind the right field bleachers. “We still got it. Heh-heh.”

Here is the big secret. Here is the story. The ghosts from Boston Garden, having been defeated this spring with their beloved Celtics, have moved down the street and taken a summer job: They have stopped with the lay-up and free throws; they have started with the fastball and the RBI.

They are giggling.

“One home run for Dewey,” they said Saturday from somewhere, maybe behind the Red Sox bullpen. “And one for Mike Greenwell and . . . oh, what the heck? Another one for Dewey.”

They are scooping out the magic like ladles full of soup. How else do you explain it? These same Red Sox, who were more of a flop on the road than the Tiny Tim Show, are once again giant killers back in Fenway. They scored more runs in Saturdays 16-4 rout than they scored in five games against Detroit last weekend. Last weekend, Doyle Alexander stymied them. This time: Goodby, Doyle. Last weekend, Jeff Robinson held them scoreless for nine innings.

This time: Goodby, Jeff.

“And a double for Rich Gedman, and a triple for Dewey and . . . what the heck. Another double for Gedman. That’ll be fun.”

What did that little girl say in “Poltergeist?”

They’re baaack.

Would it ever end?

What a pain for Detroit fans. Did you watch Saturday’s game? Did you see that eighth inning? Seven runs on what? A million hits? The Red Sox batted around and began batting around again. The Tigers used Don Heinkel and Paul Gibson and Mike Henneman and the runs would not stop. Long? You could say it was long. NBC was worried about pre-emting “Saturday Night Live.” And this was

a day game.

“And a double for Greenwell and a triple for Dewey,” the ghosts giggled from somewhere, maybe in the nets above the left field wall. “And, let’s see. A double for Spike Owen. There’s something different. They’ll love this one.”

A double for Spike Owen? Twelve total bases for Evans? Todd Benzinger. What about Todd Benzinger? The guy struck out three times and reached base twice anyhow — on wild-pitch third strikes. Since when does that happen? Unless . .
. well, you know.

“We were hitting the ball like I couldn’t believe it,” admitted Boston manager Joe Morgan. “We got it into the alleys time and time again.”

Sure. What do you think? That stuff just happens? Maybe Morgan hasn’t been around long enough to remember Larry Bird and that pass with five seconds left. Maybe he missed Kevin McHale’s three pointer. Havlicek stole the ball! Does that ring a bell, Joe? Havlicek stole the ball?

The alleys. The net. You name it, Boston put it there Saturday. Evans hit his second home run out of the stadium and onto Lansdowne street. It probably hit the Tigers bus and cracked a window.

This was not a game. This was not an accident. Sixteen runs? With the the Tigers hottest pitcher on the mound? Tom Brookens makes an error? Rich Gedman drives in runs? Spike Owen?

I’m telling you. There are little green fingerprints all over this scorecard.

“Tee hee,” comes the sound from somewhere, maybe the light stands out in center field. “Is this fun, or what?” The Celtics are suspects

OK. So they are definitely back. Who knows why? Maybe they got bored. Maybe the Garden is too hot. Maybe as punishment for the letdown with the Celtics they were sent to work the long hot season at Fenway, sort of like a truant kid who has to go to summer school to make up classes.

But isn’t it funny how the Red Sox embarked on this record- setting home win streak in early July — just a week or so after the NBA season ended? Not that I’m superstitious or anything.

“It definately looks good for us,” gushed Greenwell (four hits) after the game was over. “If we keep playing at this level, we’ll be hard to beat. We’re just so relaxed here. We play with confidence. We don’t worry if a team gets a few runs ahead, we always feel like we can come back on them.”

“But what about this stadium?” someone asked. “Why are you so different here?”

“I don’t know,” he said, smiling. “If I did I’d bottle it and take it on the road with us.”

Sure, sure. They can say “I don’t know” all they want. They can credit home cooking and home field and familiar faces. The folks from Detroit know better. We have seen this before. They are out there, somewhere, in the bleachers or in the dugouts or inside the wood of the big green monster. Starting fires. Playing with pixie dust. The leprechauns is wearing Red Sox now.

Ohhhh . . . Isiah?


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Mitch Albom writes about running an orphanage in impoverished Port-au-Prince, Haiti, his kids, their hardships, laughs and challenges, and the life lessons he’s learned there every day.

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