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.