See the Future Today, at Fenway

August 07, 2009 - 7:42 am

For the fourth year in a row, Sox fans will get the opportunity to watch Boston'€™s minor league teams in action during a doubleheader at Fenway this Saturday featuring some of the best raw talent in the farm system.

Since August 2006, '€œFutures at Fenway'€ has featured two Sox minor league affiliates playing regular-season games against teams from their respective leagues. This year the event will feature the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs against the Bowie Baysox in the first game, and the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox against the Norfolk Tides in the second.

The idea to showcase the minor league affiliates in a major league park came from non-other than Boston Mayor Thomas Menino in an attempt to make affordable baseball games available to the public in Boston.

'€œWe hope that these games and these family-friendly ticket prices will open the doors of Fenway Park on a summer Saturday to thousands of fans from across the city and throughout New England who may not otherwise be able to afford a Red Sox game,'€ the mayor said in 2006. '€œWith Red Sox tickets so tough to come by, this event is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the City of Boston and America'€™s most beloved ballpark for thousands of families and especially the children for whom this opportunity will mean so much.'€

To date, all six Futures games have resulted in wins for the home team (the Red Sox affiliate). What'€™s more perhaps more amazing though, is that four of those wins have come in the last half-inning.

2006

The first game featured the Single-A Lowell Spinners against Oneonta Tigers in which Lowell won 3-1. Spinners'€™ closer Joshua Papelbon (younger brother of, you guessed it, Jonathan Papelbon) came on in the ninth to a roaring ovation from the Boston crowd before ending the game and earning a save.

The second game featured the Triple-A PawSox against the Rochester Red Wings. The teams traded the lead various times throughout the game, before Pawtucket star and Boston-native Carlos Pena belted a two-run shot in the eighth to put the Sox ahead and seal the deal.

2007

Lowell was again featured in game one of the Futures doubleheader in what turned out to be an intense pitching duel between the Spinners and the Hudson Valley Renegades. Hudson Valley scored early in the first, but failed to get another run for the rest of the game. Lowell struggled offensively as well, until the eighth inning when a single from Brett Lewis tied the game and a clutch two-out hit from Jorge Jimenez won the game in the bottom of the ninth.

In the second game, the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs finally got their chance to play at Fenway against the Harrisburg Senators. Unlike the previous game, this one had plenty of offense. With the score 11-9 going into the bottom of the ninth, the Sea Dogs made a dramatic comeback, ultimately winning the game 12-11 on a double down the leftfield line. The two teams combined for 24 hits, 17 walks, and 20 strikeouts.

2008

The first game of the 2008 Futures was like déjà vu. Once again, Lowell faced Hudson Valley at Fenway, and once again the Spinners triumphed in walk-off fashion. After exchanging leads all game, Hudson Valley tied the game in the ninth on a misplayed groundball and the game went to extra innings. In the bottom of the twelfth, Will Middlebrooks'€™ line drive to centerfield just barely missed being caught and the Spinners walked off with a victory.

The second game was seemingly less eventful as the Triple-A PawSox returned to Fenway, this time facing the Charlotte Knights. In a stellar pitching performance from Pawtucket'€™s David Pauley, the PawSox cruised to a 5-2 win with great hitting from Dusty Brown and Jeff Bailey.

For more information on the Futures at Fenway games or to find tickets, visit the Red Sox official site. To watch highlights from past Futures games, click here. For the Red Sox press release, see below:

 

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS FOR 4th ANNUAL FUTURES AT FENWAY PRESENTED BY COMCAST

 BOSTON, MA '€“ The4th Annual Futures at Fenway Presented by Comcast minor league doubleheader will take place on Saturday, August 8, 2009.  The following is the schedule of events for the day and entertainment options for fans and their families.

10:35 a.m. '€“ Ballpark opens to the Public Fans will be able to come into the ballpark one-and-a-half hours before the first game of the doubleheader between the Portland Sea Dogs and the Bowie Baysox (AA-Baltimore) commences at 12:05 p.m.  There will be family-friendly entertainment throughout the Fenway Park concourses.  On Yawkey Way, there will be an inflatable T-Ball and moon bounce setup along with a rock wall, face painter and balloon artist.  There will be a second moon bounce setup at the Gate C. 12:05 p.m.  '€“ First pitch of the game between the Portland Sea Dogs and the Bowie Baysox   There will be numerous in-game entertainment that has been scheduled.  Slugger, the Portland Sea Dogs mascot will be featured in a number of skits that will be appealing to kids and adults alike.  Mascot performances with kids are also scheduled to take place on top of the 1st Base and the 3rd Base dugouts along with other skits where kids will be selected at random from the crowd. 1:30 p.m. '€“ Autograph Session with Pawtucket Red Sox players   There will be a 45 minute autograph session from 1:30 '€“ 2:15 p.m. in the Gate B Big Concourse near the Best Buy Players Club with the players from the Pawtucket Red Sox. 4:00 p.m. '€“ Approximate First pitch of the game between the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Norfolk Tides   Similar to the first game, there will once again be entertainment for fans at the game.  One lucky kid who signs up for a Red Sox Kid Nation membership will be upgraded to a premium seat and another will receive the opportunity to spend one inning inside the Green Monster scoreboard during the game.  There will be a pizza eating contest for adults, a mascot race, two t-shirt tosses to the crowd  and a mascot ball toss for fans as well during the game. 5:00 p.m. - Autograph Session with Portland Sea Dogs players There will be a 45 minute autograph session from 5:00 '€“ 5:45 p.m. in the Gate B Big Concourse near the Best Buy Players Club with the players from the Portland Sea Dogs. Ticket prices will remain the same this year as last year'€™s Futures at Fenway event.  They range from as little as $5 (for Upper Bleachers) to just $30 (for Green Monster Seats, Dugout Seats, the EMC Club and the State Street Pavilion Club).  Tickets can be purchased on www.redsox.com or by calling 1-877-REDSOX9.  Tickets will also be available for purchase at Fenway Park at Gate E beginning at 10:35 am on Saturday.  Fans with disabilities may also call (877) REDSOX-9 to purchase accessible seating (while supplies last). The Red Sox' TTY number for hearing-impaired fans is (617) 226-6644.  Fans will also be able to enjoy selected concession items at discounted prices.