Monday, July 31, 2006

A night at the Park

I could, and probably will at another time, wax poetic about baseball and sports in general but I'm reserving this post for the magic that is Fenway Park.

I'm a life long Sox fan. Never obsessively so. I don't score the games and remember plays from years past, well, with the exception of Billy Buck's unforgettable move in '86, the on the mound conference between Pedro and Grady, the underhand toss to end the series...those are burned into my head. But I do love those guys, love to watch them play - listen to them talk baseball - love the fan stories - the whole atmosphere. In New England you only have to say "How 'bout them Sox?" and you're likely to get someone who will be happy to commiserate with you. Partly because no matter how well they play you're always waiting for the other shoe to drop. Bats are hitting? Well then, the middle relief pitchers are stinking. (See last night's game, ehem.) It's the way of the Sox. And one good win or Ortiz walkoff homer has us coming down with a case of pennant fevah. It's a roller coaster ride.

Seeing a game at Fenway is a experience reserved for a lucky 35,000 or so. Ticket prices were wild for a time, but seem to have calmed so I thought this would be the year to take the boy. He's nine, likely to remember it, so I clicked up Ebay and bid away.

I'm so glad I did.

Arriving three hours before game time has it's advantages. We waited in line to make a donation to the Boston Food Bank in exchange for some autographed photos and then figured we'd get to take in batting practice. The boy was chomping at the bit to get inside the park. I have to say, I didn't think the boy would get it. I really didn't.

But one other Red Sox moment I'm making sure I never forget? The look on his face as he ran up the concrete ramp in the concourse and turned the corner. His first glimpse at the park, in the perfect afternoon light. It literally stopped him in his tracks.

Jered Weaver, a rookie pitcher for the Angels threw him a ball during batting practice. It doesn't get much better than that. Well, okay, maybe it does. I'm sure if he had a choice it would've been given to him by David Ortiz but really? He's barely put the thing down since.

We hung around the visitor's dugout for awhile, kids hollering for an autograph. No one had any luck but the kids were all talking baseball and comparing stuff - baseball cards and past autograph success. Like little men, more than one of these boys congratulated my guy on his first ball game and wished him good times. Instant comeraderie.

He recommends the Fenway Franks.

Note from me: Do NOT buy them in the grocery store and think you're getting the real deal. Blech.

It was a beautiful night for a game.

The Pesky Pole.

Timlin and Mirabelli in the bullpen. I didn't get a picture of the tomato plants. Yep. Tomato plants in the bullpen. It's Fenway.

Now, I wouldn't want you thinking that everyone there stands in awe. So totally untrue. There are dutiful wives, one that I happened to chat with admitted that she generally FALLS ASLEEP at the games. She had third row seats next to the dugout. I told her there was a cozy spot out in right field for her if she'd like to trade. Her husband laughed, she looked like she might've taken me up on it. Couldn't hurt to offer, right?

There's also alot of beer flowing. More than I, foolishly, expected. There was alot of stumbling and a few almost fights but meh, there's idiots everywhere.

Speaking of idiots...yes, that IS me singing. How can you not? I just don't get it.
Link to idiocy: click here.

The Sox ended up losing, but we didn't even talk about if the score was an afterthought. And really it was.

No comments: