Posts Tagged ‘fenway park’
I wasn’t in Boston over the weekend, so I wasn’t there to see Neil Diamond sing “Sweet Caroline” live and in person at Fenway Park.
But I was introduced to the tradition during my own first visit to Fenway a year ago this May, and I can’t think of a more fitting way to kick away the dust of fear and horror last week than something as American as having Neil Diamond show up at the ball park to sing “Sweet Caroline”!
If you’ve never experienced it firsthand, basically here’s how it goes: In the middle of the eighth inning, since 2002, “Sweet Caroline” is played over the loudspeakers at Fenway, and the great citizens of Bostons (and Red Sox fans everywhere) do a little audience participation. It’s not quite a “Rocky Horror Picture Show” level of audience participation, but then again, this is baseball and we’re between innings people!
Go find some of the video recaps to see for yourself, but if you did see Diamond out there on the diamond doing it live this weekend, amd if that didn’t send a couple of tears to your eyes, you’d better check to make sure the drones from Tom Cruise’s new movie “Oblivion” (and which I saw this weekeend…two thumbs up!) haven’t taken over.
Of course, I guess if you didn’t want anyone to see you cry you could invest in some of these new techno glasses, Google’s or otherwise.
According to The New York Times, Oakley’s also getting into the act, working to introduce goggles that can display incoming text messages, have embedded GPS, Bluetooth, and video cameras.
Skiers, please, keep your eyes on the slopes at all times!
That goes for you cyclists looking to check your heartbeat in your newfangled high tech cycling glasses every five seconds.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for having performance biometrics, even in real-time, but I think we have to think very carefully about how that information is presented back to athletes, especially those mid-mountain or mid-peloton.
If you’ve ever nearly been run over by someone who was texting while driving, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
I texted while driving for a time. But about the fourth time I nearly rear-ended someone, it dawned on me that texting while driving was a bad idea. Very bad. And this was well before any of those anti-texting public ad campaigns had emerged.
These days, I find myself constantly scanning my rear-view mirror in fear of some other idiot not having come around to a similar conclusion, which is its own kind of dangerous distraction.
So what’s going to happen on the ski mountains across the globe when folks are too busy checking their optimum heart rate to see those trees racing up towards their performance glasses?
There will be an inordinate demand for well trained ski patrol professionals, that’s what!
What a week. I spent most of it either in meetings or on airplanes (save for that happy detour to Fenway Park, which still has a smile on my face).
Speaking of which, it’s April 20, 2012 — the official anniversary of the 100th year of Fenway’s existence. Happy birthday to all my friends in Boston, and to people everywhere who adore Fenway Park — of which I now count myself a happy one.
FYI, for the hardcore Fenway fanatics, Sports Illustrated is offering up a very nice tome about the history of Fenway for $21.00 US. You can find it here.
But boy, what a week otherwise. The jokes about today being 4/20 aside (a point which many marketers are taking advantage of…for example, the Magnolia bio-documentary about Bob Marley, entitled simply “Marley,” is out today…And Austin is unveiling the new Willie Nelson statue today at 4:20 PM this afternoon. Coincidence?)
You can read all about the marketing advantage being taken of on this date from none other than the Wall Street Journal.
No, I was more referring to the bummer news about Dick Clark and Levon Helm. Helm, of course, was the drummer in Bob Dylan’s original backing band, “Levon and the Hawks,” before going on to co-found the band named, appropriately enough, “The Band.”
Helm died of throat cancer earlier this week, and in recent years had been most known for his “Midnight Rambles” at his studio in Woodstock, NY, which earned him three Grammys in recent years. But of course, “The Band” fans remember classics like “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” and “Up On Cripple Creek.”
Bob Dylan had this to say about his old friend and former band-mate on his own website: “He was my bosom buddy friend to the end, one of the last true great spirits of my or any other generation. This is just so sad to talk about. I still can remember the first day I met him and the last day I saw him. We go back pretty far and had been through some trials together. I’m going to miss him, as I’m sure a whole lot of others will too.”
Surely we will.
But we’ll also miss Dick Clark, a radio and TV personality who’s “American Bandstand” helped grow generations of music fans, and helped launch or boost the careers of an endless stream of renowned musicians, ranging from first guest Elvis Presley (who used to sign my mom’s arm during his Louisiana Hayride performances!) to Smokey Robinson to the Talking Heads…the list of musical acts featured on “Bandstand” goes on and on and on.
And never mind us welcoming Dick Clark into our homes, and the subsequent New Year, every New Year’s Rockin’ Eve starting in 1972.
We’ll miss you both terribly, Dick and Levon. May you both continue to find the musical beat in the Great Beyond.
How fitting, then, that the very same week, the friends who brought you some of the great hack attacks of the late 2000s, Anonymous, announce they’re putting together a social music platform, one that pulls up songs streaming from all around the Internet (including from the likes of YouTube), and lets anonymous users put them into playlists and share them — all while intending to shield the service from being shut down by lawsuits.
We’ll wait and see if Anontune makes it past the first “bridge,” but my read on the situation is that this move could revitalize Hilary Rosen’s career (CEO of the RIAA from 1998-2003, Rosen led the organization in its successful efforts to bring down Napster).
Let’s talk baseball.
I mentioned in my post yesterday that I was going to be making my first visit to Boston’s Fenway Park last evening, home of the Boston Red Sox, and a 100 year history of baseball that will be officially and ceremonially recognized later this week.
My own baseball team, the two years running World Series participants (but not champions!) Texas Rangers, showed up in Boston last night to play, and play they did. It was the Great Boston Massacre of 2012.
The Rangers leapt out early with a 2 run homer from Mike Napoli, who sent a shot over an advertising sign for “Volvo” atop the famed “Green Monster” (all 37 feet and 2 inches of it) and out into the streets of Boston. But, it was only a half-inning later before Boston’s Dustin Pedroia answered with a two run homer of his own.
But after that, it was pretty much all Texas, all the time, including a home-run laden top of the eighth that sent a couterie of Boston fans sprinting for the renowned Cask and Flagon sports pub on Landsdowne Street.
And who could blame them, the Texas Rangers’ offense last night was beyond potent. I just wish this Texas offensive line-up had shown up last October in the last two World Series games against the Cardinals!
But as I fessed up on Facebook earlier, I was impressed with the grace and humor with which the Boston fans took their beating. It was an absolutely gorgeous night for baseball, in Boston or anywhere, and the Boston fans who stuck around for the full torture given over by Texas sang along with a rendition of “Sweet Caroline” that seemed more Rocky Horror Picture Show than Norman Rockwell:
“Swee-eeet, Caroline…..BOM BOM BOM….Good times never seemed so gooood!” (So Good! So Good! So Good!)
Somehow, I think Neil Diamond would still approve, and little did I know at the time that this has come to be something of a tradition in Boston, even if unofficial.
What was official and entirely self-evident to me was that Fenway Park is a national treasure and most elegant representative of our national pastime.
Fenway Park is the way baseball is meant to be played, and I’m not sure until you’ve seen a game there firsthand you can comprehend the history and intimacy it and its emblems provide: The Red Seat. The Pesky Pole. The Citgo Sign.
I’ve visited quite a few MLB baseball venues throughout the country (although I’ve not made it to the new Yankee stadium as of yet, but frequented the original several times during my time in New York), but none have I ever walked in and looked around with the kind of awe that I had last evening here in Boston. It’s a kind of waking history for an entire American century.
Ponder this for a moment: The first game at Fenway was played April 20, 2012. According to Wikipedia, then-mayor John F. Fitzgerald, the grandfather of John F. Kennedy, threw out the first pitch. In that game, Boston defeated the New York Highlanders (renamed the Yankees the next year) 7-6 in 11 innings.
Overshadowing this debut, of course, was the sinking of the Titanic just a few days earlier.
But emerging from that week was an age-old rivalry and the beginning of a baseball legacy.
The 1912 Red Sox would go on to win the World Series that year, helped along by the famous “Snodgrass Muff” (A Giant’s outfielder who dropped a routine fly ball — something that Boston’s left fielder did last night, one hundred years later).
A ship could be sunk, but not a stadium. Especially not Fenway.