Posted by Neil Paine on March 1, 2011
Note: What follows is the complete text of an email sent to us by B-R reader David Matchett, so all credit for this research goes to him. Enjoy!
I was on a flight this weekend and watched The Town with Ben Affleck. When Ben and Jeremy Renner were scouting Fenway Park for their big heist they were in the upper deck in right field and there was a game going on while they talked. The scene cut to the game and a play was shown. I remembered your Ferris Bueller post from a few weeks ago and it got me thinking about the game that was being played in this movie.
I watched the movie on a 6 x 4 inch screen so I may have missed some details, but here is what I saw:
- It was a night game
- There was a Sox runner on first
- A left handed batter was at the plate for the Sox
- The opposing team had a gray and blue uniform
- The pitcher was right handed
- The first baseman was left handed
- The defense had three infielders to the first base side of second
The game broadcaster made comments about:
- Youkilis being the runner on first
- Snider fielding the hit in right field
- Youkilis making it to third base on the hit
- After the hit the Sox had runners on first and third with no outs in the 4th
I checked IMDb.com and saw that the movie was released on September 17, 2010 so the game obviously had to be before this date.
Which game is this?
Four players named Snider or Snyder have played in the major leagues in the last few years:
- Brad Snyder is an outfielder who debuted with the Cubs in 2010 and has never played a game in Boston.
- Brandon Snyder debuted last year with the Orioles but he is a first baseman who hasn’t played in the outfield and his one game in Fenway was 4 days after the movie's release.
- Chris Snyder has been in the majors since 2004 but he is a catcher and his one game in the outfield was in left field for Arizona in Florida.
- So it has to be Travis Snider, an outfielder with Toronto. Toronto's road uniform is gray and blue so that fits too.
Travis Snider debuted in 2008 so we have three years worth of games from which to pick. He has played a total of 57 games in right field in his career so his game logs can be searched for road games in Boston. We'll come back to this after a few more details to narrow it down further.
The fact that the Jays shifted three infielders to the first base side of second leads me to believe that David Ortiz was batting. We also know that this at bat happened during the 4th inning and Youkilis was on first so we can go through Snider's game logs, see if he played in right field and look at the 4th innings of each of these games.
- 2008 - On September 13 2008 the Jays and Red Sox played a double header in Boston. Snider played left field in the first game and right in the second. Neither Youkilis nor Ortiz batted in the fourth and, Youkilis was batting behind Ortiz in the order that day so this can’t be the game.
- 2009 - Snider played in the May 20th game in Boston but he was in left field that day and Youkilis batted behind Ortiz. Snider was the right fielder in the games played on August 28 to 30. On the 28th Youkilis lead off the 4th with a single and Ortiz followed with another single sending Youkilis to third. This could be it. On the 29th Youkilis was on base twice but never with no outs and Ortiz never followed with a hit. The one time Youkilis was on first base on the 30th Ortiz flied out to left. The Jays played 3 more games in Fenway at the end of September but Snider was in left field for all of them.
- 2010 - The Jays returned to Boston for three games on May 10 to 12 and Snider played right field for all of them. On the 10th Ortiz followed up a Youkilis walk in the 2nd with a single to right field and Youkilis did move to third but there were two outs at the time and it was the wrong inning. Ortiz didn’t play on the 11th and Youkilis was followed in the lineup by Mike Lowell, who bats right. On the 12th JD Drew hit between Youkilis and Ortiz. In the second Ortiz singled to right to move Youkilis from first to third but there was one out at the time. Also, this and this was a day game. The Jays went back to Boston in late August. Snider was the left fielder in the first 2 games and played right in the third but it was a day game and Youkilis didn’t play. The last three games the Jays played in Boston were at the same time The Town was debuting at the Toronto International Film Festival - September 17 to 19 - so none of these can be the game in question.
Of all of the games Travis Snider has played right field in Boston there are three games where David Ortiz singled to right to move Kevin Youkilis from first to third, but the game on August 28, 2009 is the only one where this happened with no outs and in the fourth inning.
Going back to our list of what we know and comparing it to this game:
- It's a night game (The game started at 7:13 PM)
- There is a Sox runner on first (Youkilis, from the broadcast)
- A left handed batter is at the plate for the Sox (Ortiz, based on the fielding alignment)
- The opposing team has a gray and blue uniform (Toronto)
- The pitcher is right handed (Scott Richmond)
- The first baseman is left handed (Lyle Overbay)
- Youkilis making it to third base on the hit (yes)
- After the hit the Sox have runners on first and third with no outs in the 4th (yes)
Unless someone can come up with something that I've missed it seems that the Fenway game shown in The Town was filmed on Friday, August 28, 2009, a 6-5 Red Sox win.
Next question - when did the robbery take place? "The Florist's" plan was to rob Fenway after a weekend Yankee series. The Yankees had been in Boston the previous weekend and didn't return again in 2009.