Nestor at the bat: Fenway alive before the gates open..

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Wow…what a change of pace, being in a place where baseball matters.

I pulled into the Fenway Park area via taxi around 10:45 a.m. Fighting through the people, who were all surrounded by barricades in the streets around Lancaster and Yawkey Way, was hard enough. There were literally 5,000 people creating commerce, just waiting for the gates to open for batting practice.

I secured my press credential around 11 and headed directly for the field, but en route stopped in the Red Sox clubhouse, which is NOT the coziest one in the big leagues. Truth be told: it’s a tiny, cramped space that befits a baseball team in the 1940’s, not anything that resembles this century at all. For any of the players on other teams who switch to the Red Sox, it has to take some getting used to — the idea of being on top of each other 81 times a year.

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It’s not as bad for the visiting team, whose clubhouse is EVEN TINIER! But at least they get in and outta here in three days. The Red Sox players are stuck with the antiquated facilities that Fenway provides.

Once I got to the field, the Orioles players were beginning to stretch for BP.

I headed to Sam Perlozzo’s pre-game chat.

Some notes:

Perlozzo said Scott Williamson would not be activated today. He was concerned about long-relief possibilities for the weekend series and wasn’t sure about Williamson fatigue and/or pitch count coming back from injury. He also said he’s considering a day off for catcher Ramon Hernandez, but that Hernandez insisted he wants to play against the Red Sox, who hold down first place in the AL East.

"He’s only played 12 games, so we’re not wearing him out," Perlozzo said. "But I’d like to get him a day off at some point."

Perlozzo praised Schilling’s ability to recall previous at-bats over the years of being in the big leagues, and said that no one is better prepared than Schilling because of his preparation habits.

"He can remember every pitch he threw in a sequence against a batter six years ago and knows what works and what doesn’t," Perlozzo said. "You just hope he doesn’t have his great stuff today."

Melvin Mora’s name also came up in the pre-game chat, and Perlozzo praised his adjustement to batting in the No. 6 hole, and said that Mora is finally "swinging the bat the way he’s capable of."

I’ll check back with more soon!!

It’s almost time for baseball and a Fenway Frank here in Boston…

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