Tag Archives: Fenway

Game’s Eve

For the first time, tomorrow, I’m going to a Red Sox game.

I’m excited. Really excited. I fell like this is what I’ve been preparing for all this time. This experience.

I’ve read about the history of baseball. I’ve watched documentaries and news clips and autobiographies and biographies and articles. I’ve watched it live and taped and listened to it on the radio. I’ve met (briefly) old players and walked along the infield and even sat in the dugout at Fenway.

And now, just now, I’m going to go to a game.

EEK!

-D-

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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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Bobbled

“A .300 hitter, that rarest of breeds these days, goes through life with the certainty that he will fail at his job seven out of ten times.”

-Ted Williams

As you may be aware, I’ve been immersing myself in baseball in an attempt to fit in more into Boston culture. I’ve read about the successes and failures of teams throughout the decades. I’ve watched clips of Bill Buckner’s error and read about Merkle’s Boner (that’s a term that has not aged well). A friend of mine has warned me about following the Red Sox. He speaks of the collapse last September like other people talk about the exact moment they realized their marriage had failed or when they heard about JFK being¬†assassinated. He told me that it would be hard being a Red Sox fan.

I’ll be honest: I laughed at him. After all, I was well aware of the pain and suffering of the average Sox fan. They’ve bobbled away the World Series. They’ve failed, time and again, when it mattered the most. They’ve lost, even when they’ve had the best men in the league on their team. I know all of this and I thought I could handle any loss or losing streak with the knowledge that baseball, like all things, moves in cycles. Even if they’re not on top this year, there’s always next year. Even if they’re in a slump NOW, there’s always next game. There are 160 games in a season. Losing one game is no big deal, not really.

I was wrong.

I’ve been enraged (See The Vernacular of Sports). I’ve been depressed. I’ve screamed at the radio. I’ve curled into a little ball on the floor and cried softly. Six games in and they’ve won exactly one.

There is, as I think I’ve mentioned before, a big difference between reading about the Red Sox and following them as a fan. And I don’t even have the burned-out, jaded cynical perspective to protect me. I go into each game with the cheerful, freckle-faced innocence of a young babe, assuming that this time it’ll be all right.

And you know what? They WILL be.

They’re in a slump. A small slump. They’ll get it together. It’s (unfortunately) like last year. They just need to get warmed up and then they’re going to unleash Hell.

Go Red Sox!

Dylan Charles

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The First Pitch

Baseball season starts in two days and I’m pretty excited.

I’ve watched some Spring Training games. I’ve watched a few games from last year. I’ve watched (basically) a highlight reel from the 2004 World Series. I’ve read baseball books, baseball articles, baseball magazines. I’ve watched press clippings from Valentine and interviews with the players.

I’ve basically done everything I can to get ready for this season and now it’s almost here.

Pretty soon, they’re going to set everything in motion. The games are going to be real and immediate, as opposed to the old ones from years ago. They’re going to matter in the long run, unlike the Spring Training games.

And I’m excited for it to start and I’m ready.

Baseball!

Dylan Charles

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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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The Obsession

I’ve started to mentally break up The Baseball Project into segments. The first segment is, obviously, Spring Training. For the last few weeks, I’ve read, watched, absorbed and analyzed nothing but baseball. I’ve watched Ken Burns Baseball. I’ve read baseball books about the various players. I’ve read articles about the up-coming season. I’ve even started watching this TV show from the early ’90’s called “Talking Baseball

Every bit of free time I have has become devoted to baseball, in one form or another. When I think about writing something, I always have my baseball on hand, so I have something to play with while I think. I think about going to Fenway constantly, which I can’t believe spellcheck isn’t recognizing right now. I’m trying to calculate how many games I’ll actually be able to attend, once the season starts. And that’s the thing, the scary thing; the season hasn’t even started yet and it’s already started to take over what and how I think.

I’ve had (another) nightmare about Ty Cobb. How many nightmares can a person have about Ty Cobb before that’s deemed an abnormal thing? I’m at two. And he SCARES me. I haven’t even read his biography yet, though it’s on my kitchen table. Waiting. Waiting for me.

On the one hand, I’m worried for my mental health. I have a constant stream of ERAs and WHIP’s and OPS flying through my head. So many numbers and so many names. I have the whole of baseball (almost two century’s worth) and I’m trying to cram it all into my brain in a two month period.

And you want to know the scary thing?

I’m loving it.

Dylan Charles

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