Tag Archives: ted williams

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 Hellion

There are players where it’s almost impossible to see them as anything but legendary: Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig. Even in their flaws, they’re almost more than human; Babe Ruth’s love of excess and Ted Williams’ temper.

There is one player who goes beyond legend though, in every way. Ty Cobb set almost 120 records, plenty of which are still unbroken almost a century later. He was the best at bat. He was the best on base. He was the best in the field. He was ferocious, relentless, fearless, untiring, unwavering and almost unbeatable for the 20 some odd years he played baseball. Even in his twilight years, he was one of the top players.

He was also the most vicious, vile men to play the game. He never stopped fighting the umpires, the other players, the owners, the fans. He beat one fan brutally, despite the fact that the man had no hands. He took on three muggers single-handedly and beat one to death with his pistol. He hated African-Americans. He railed against integration. He beat one black groundskeeper and then, when the man’s wife intervened, he beat her too.

There is no way to measure the amount of contempt and admiration he managed to garner during and after his career. He spiked other players and spiked the umpires. He stole home 35 times, a record that hasn’t even been approached.  He was sneaky and underhanded. He was a master tactician. He would play so hard that he would bleed and then he would play some more.

He was, with no exaggeration or hyperbole, the greatest baseball player to ever play in the major leagues. He was also, once again with no exaggeration or hyperbole, one the worst human beings to ever play the game.

It is my belief that an angel was ejected from Heaven and sent to Hell, but, on the way down, he decided to play some ball.

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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