Notice how the fans behind the plate initially react with less enthusiasm after Big Papi’s second swing, even though that ball traveled considerably farther and did not land in a defender’s glove? (Carlos Beltran injured his ribs on that great grab and left the game shortly thereafter.)
In fairness, I can think of at least three reasons why this happened:
- The first swing was in the second inning on a 1–2 count with the bases loaded. (Ortiz had already clocked a dramatic grand slam in the American League Championship Series.)
- The second swing was on a first-pitch fastball from a Cards reliever who had just entered the game with two outs in the seventh inning. Accordingly, some fans’ minds might have been elsewhere. (Last call for alcohol!)
- By the time the seventh-inning stretch got underway, the Sox had a 5–0 lead and there was little doubt in the ballpark which team was going to emerge victorious. And with good reason: According to the Fangraphs, Boston entered the bottom half of the seventh with a 98.4 percent win expectancy.
Game Two gets underway at 8:07 p.m. EDT on FOX.