Tag Archives: Boston

Boston Revisited

A friend of mine is visiting for a few days and it’s reintroducing me to the city I live in.

It’s too easy to forget those places you see everyday or those places you used to go to; but once you show a newcomer those things that caused you to fall in love with your home on the first place, it becomes easy to see once again.

I’ve enjoyed traveling to our old haunts and remembering again everything that made Boston, Boston for Emily and me.

I feel a little sad that we’re already planning the day that we leave, but at least I can remember why I’ll be sad.

-D-

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Filed under Day-to-Day: What's Going On, Events, Releases and New Things

Lock Down

Last night, around 1am, I heard a sound. It sounded like a loud bang and, given recent events, I paid attention to it. But then it was quiet and I started to fall back asleep.

And then the second explosion.

And then I noticed the sirens and more sirens and what sounded like gunfire.

While Emily listened to a police scanner, I walked around and made sure the doors were locked, crawled back to bed and went to sleep.

This morning, I woke up to find that the MBTA has shut down completely. The police are advising that the residents in my town, as well as in Cambridge and Watertown, to stay indoors. As I write this, there is more gunfire in the distance and a small army of soldiers, police officers and SUVs just went down my street at a run.

The two bombing suspects, apparently, killed a police officer at MIT, stole a car and then drove the car within a hair’s breadth of where I live before the police caught up with them. The sounds I heard last night; the explosions, gun fire and sirens, were the sounds of the police catching two of the most hated men in Boston.

One of them escaped. The other didn’t.

The manhunt is intense and all encompassing. There are rumors of evacuations. There are constant reminders to stay indoors. I have been answering texts and phone calls since I woke up this morning.

This is…surreal. This blog entry is not so much for you as it is for me. I wanted to nail down what exactly is happening so I don’t walk through today like a ghost, dazed and out of sync with the rest of the world. I need more concrete words and solid sentence structure and less vague feelings of unease and distress. And as melodramatic as that sounds, I feel like I’m a little entitled to melodrama considering the view out of my window this morning.

So here it is: They are going to catch this man. It’s a little dangerous outside, but Emily and I are safe and we are locked down.

Stay safe.

-D-

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Filed under Day-to-Day: What's Going On, Events, Releases and New Things

The Rejuvenation

Lately, I haven’t been feeling that excited about baseball lately. Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Dylan, you’re just depressed after that 18-3 loss to the Rangers. And then the subsequent loss after that. And the loss that preceded that one.” To which I say, “Yeah.”

But that’s not the entire reason. I can’t really watch the games, since I don’t have a TV and I’m usually working when the games are on. So I have to listen to the radio. It’s a good way to enjoy the game, if that’s your only option, but I miss watching it and seeing what’s going on. I feel distanced from the game, which is frustrating since the games play less than a mile from where I work.

So, today, when I found out that Fenway was holding an open house, I ran on down like I was on fire. It’s been a while since my Fenway tour and it’ll be more than a week before I can go to a game. This was a great way to get back into the baseball atmosphere quick and cheap as free.

I’m so glad I went. I met some players (Gary Bell thinks I’m old enough to have an eight year old kid). I got covered in infield dirt. I got to sit in the dugout. I was surrounded by Sox fans. I saw hundreds of jerseys that said Damon and Pedroia and Ramirez and Ortiz and Schilling.  I saw Luis Tiant signing autographs for fans out in the parking lot, even though he could have totally just run for his car and driven off, cackling.

The author pretty close to home plate looking concerned.

On some level, aside from the wins and the losses, baseball makes me happy and today reminded me of that.

Of course, if, tomorrow, the Sox would please paste the Highlanders like they did 100 years ago, I would much appreciate it.

Dylan Charles

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Filed under Sporting: Baseball, Boxing and Sports Not Starting with a B

The Vernacular of Sports

In advance, I would like to apologize for the amount of profanity that you’re about to encounter. It was unavoidable.

When watching baseball, especially when watching a Red Sox game, it becomes clear that a certain language is adopted that one might otherwise not use in a social situation. Certain words become commonplace and are sprinkled throughout a conversation with an exuberance that is not seen outside of conversations with sailors or surly gentleman in more unrefined watering holes.

For instance, today the Red Sox opened their season with a friendly game played against the Detroit Tigers. Over the course of the game, it developed that it was turning into a pitcher’s duel; with Verlander and Lester exchanging volleys with a free-spirited competitiveness that defines baseball.

But as the Red Sox fell behind by first one and then two runs, my fellows and I exchanged a boisterous interchange of wordsmithing:

“Dude! What the fuck! Dude!”

“Goddamn it! God….damn….it.”

Whereupon, the Red Sox then attempted to put away the persistent Tigers with two runs of their own in the top of the ninth. Whereupon, when the Tigers went to bat at the bottom of the ninth, our tensions were, perhaps, higher than they were in previous innings.

“Aceves, you son of a bitch, don’t you fuck this up.”

HE HIT HIM WITH THE FUCKING BALL AND LOADED THE FUCKING BASES! ACEVES! YOU…”

At which point, the air hummed with the most adversarial, adjective-laden, incandescent, invective that we could find at our disposal.

Such is the passion that baseball inspires in its fans; truly a sport for young gentleman and an indicator of our National Character.

Burn in Hell, Aceves.

Dylan Charles

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Filed under Sporting: Baseball, Boxing and Sports Not Starting with a B

The Motion

I got caught up watching a soccer game while I was buying my nightly 24 case of beer and immediately felt at home. After watching the World Cup, I became very familiar with how a soccer game moves. It’s a tidal movement. The players flow from one end of the field, then recede to the other end of the field as the ball changes hands. Or…feet, I guess.

As the game moves from one end to the other, emotions build. There’s the tension as they get closer to the goal. And then it either dwindles, fades away, if they miss and the ball makes it way toward the other side, where the tension begins to mount again. Or there’s an explosion, a release from all that emotional build-up as your team makes it.

Basketball has a similar rhythm, but much more kinetic and frantic. Since the court is a much smaller space than than the soccer field, the energy rollercoasters back and forth. There’s no real build-up, it’s just a constant high run of emotional feeling. If the two teams are relatively evenly matched and the scores stay neck and neck that it.

Baseball is different. It’s a sport of circles, long, slow loops over the top and then a sudden swift swing around the bottom. There’s the steady climb, where there’s no-one on base and it’s the first inning and the pitchers are fresh and no-one reaches base. It’s the wait, that calm, low period where everyone is watching for the moment.

Then there’s a full count and there are two outs. He needs to hit to stay alive or the pitcher needs to fail. There’s a pause in breath.  And then the pitch. Still , the audience waits, perched at the top of the loop, waiting for the moment. He hits it, it goes out to center field and the center fielder has it in his sights and everyone knows he has to catch it, an easy pop fly and he…bobbles it! The crowd lets out a roar, it’s the pent-up breath of 30,000 fans being let out.

It’s the languid stretches followed by the sweet, bursts of looping speed that make it worth watching. It’s those pivoting moments where a thousand earlier pivots come together. It’s a circle, a loop-d-loop of emotional release.

I might be turning into an fan, this, the pivotal moment where two months of book work turn into actual, emotional payoff.

Dylan Charles

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Filed under Sporting: Baseball, Boxing and Sports Not Starting with a B

The Park

One of the most surprising things that I’ve read through-out my spring training, was that, prior to Henry, Werner and Lucchino buying the team, there was a lot of talk about abandoning Fenway and building a new park elsewhere.

To me, even before I started my whole Baseball Project, this was unthinkable. Leave Fenway? But…it’s Fenway! It’s one of those places people think of when you say, “baseball.” It’s been around almost as long as the Red Sox have been around. It’s been the home to Babe Ruth and Ted Williams and that Yaz fellow. You can’t leave Fenway.

Since I’ve never been to a major league ballpark and since the season is still a ways out, I decided to take advantage of the Fenway Park Tours. After all, what better way to get acquainted with a ballpark than when it’s completely empty? When it’s full of screaming fans and vendors and balllplayers and reporters and crew, you don’t really get to appreciate it. You miss out on details that are going to be obscured by the excitement of the game.

But a ballfield without players is such an odd thing to see.

The view from the Green Monster.

The history of Fenway is apparent from the moment you walk through the gate. There are dates everywhere; marking the first series the Red Sox won (1903, which was also the first World Series ever) and the years they won the American League pennant. There are the old bleacher seats that have been there since 1934 and they show it: There’s no leg room. There’s no room between you and your neighbor. And, as our guide pointed out, there are no cupholders.

Everything has a story attached to it. There’s the red seat out behind right field, where Ted Williams’ home run landed, the longest homer hit in Fenway. There’s the Green Monster, where Carlton Fisk’s homerun safely landed after he willed it there.

The Green Monster in all its glory.

Fenway is both one of the oldest and one of the smallest ballparks in the major leagues. It’s crammed into a tiny space, surrounded on all sides. Fenway represents Boston, in the way that Boston embraces its past and the future on the same street corner. History and progress in one square block. To me, a newcomer to the game and its history, it’s unthinkable that they even contemplated building a new park.

I can’t wait to see it in action.

Dylan Charles

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Filed under Sporting: Baseball, Boxing and Sports Not Starting with a B

A Sporting Attempt

Living in Boston means living with sports. In Durham, sports talk was mainly limited to people yelling about college basketball, because that was the biggest game in town. Sure, we had the Durham Bulls, but they don’t inspire the same level of fanaticism as, say, the Patriots, Red Sox, Celtics or Bruins. There are four major sports franchises crammed into this one city and lord, does it show.

I’ve long resisted any attempt to become involved in the sports culture, but more and more, that seems like ignoring a large and integral part of Boston culture. People communicate in sports, it’s what they talk about, how they interact, a reason to go out for the night and watch a game in the bar.

So, in the interest of embedding myself in the culture, I’m going to “follow” a “team”. Since football season is almost over and basketball season has already started, I picked baseball. Plus, I’ll get the thrill of following the under-dog team, just like the Bad News Bears or Rocky. And I’ve always been interested in the mythology behind baseball.

First up, I need to read up on stats and line-ups and…other…stuff. Maybe I should watch Ken Burns’ Baseball in order to truly learn about the sport from the very beginning. The more I think about this whole process, the more I realize that I know next to nothing about baseball. I know it starts in the Spring. Maybe. Maybe that’s just when they start training.

The last time I even watched a baseball game was a Durham Bulls game almost five years ago. I know there are bats and balls and bases and n ine innings, but other than that, I’m as lost as a linebacker in a hockey rink.

Time to get started.

Dylan Charles

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Filed under Sporting: Baseball, Boxing and Sports Not Starting with a B