Fenway Park -- the oldest park in baseball. Home of the Splendid Splinter, Ted Williams, the last man to hit better than .400 for an entire season. Home of the incomparable Carl Yasztremski, the redoubtable Jim Rice, and the briefly incandescent Fred Lynn. Home of the legendary Curse of the Bambino -- a plague said to afflict the Red Sox since they sold a fellah named Babe Ruth to the Yankees. They haven't won a World Series since then -- 1918.
|If you like baseball at all, you want to go to Fenway some day and see the Sox. It's pretty much the cradle of the game -- it's where you go to commune with baseball, be one with the national pasttime. Never fear -- I'll spare you from my really pretentious musings about baseball (I'll leave that to George Will and Ken Burns) but it is my favorite game. Even though it was the last-in-their division Red Sox versus the last-in-their division Oakland A's, it was a huge treat to get tickets to the game, see it go down in Fenway.|
|What makes Fenway special, besides being old? To start with, it's situated in a neighborhood, and it's a part of that neighborhood. It fits in with the other buildings in the area, complementing its surroundings instead of standing out like a giant festering pimple on the tip of Uma Thurman's nose. Coming from the Puget Sound area, where baseball is played on a carpet inside a sardine can placed in the middle of the industrial tideflats, this is a real treat. Is that real grass out there? Does this park really only seat 30-odd thousand instead of 66 thousand? Are those folks really riding the streetcar to the game? There's an intimacy, a pleasant homespun goodness to this park that the modern cookie-cutter domes lack. Sure, the toilets back up and it takes a little more time to get in and out of your seats, but the place has got charm. It's satisfying to be there.|
|It kinda has to be, given the sort of team the Sox have this year. Nonetheless, it turned out to be a good game. We even had great seats, only about twenty rows back, a little bit down the third base line from the bag. Truth be told, it really didn't look like there were that many bad seats in this park. Everything was right on the action -- small foul areas and overhanging second decks took care of this nicely. A fellow from Washington State University (Aaron Sele) was pitching for the Sox, so we had a local angle to root for, too. They even ended up winning, taking the lead for good with a one-run rally in the bottom of the eighth. Heathcliff Slocumb gave the locals cause for concern in the top of the ninth, though, allowing a leadoff double. The second hitter flied out to the deepest part of center field, with Darren Bragg doing his best impression of Willie Mays' legendary over-the-shoulder catch to get the out. The runner on second tagged up and moved to third on the play. It was tense, but Heathcliff managed to wriggle of the hook, striking out the next two batters with a wicked sinker. We headed for the exits, just in time to get Lisa's car out of her office parking lot before it locked its gates at 11:00.|
|The game was great -- a real highlight for me. Of course, the icing on the cake was some highly unsanctioned yet highly entertaining Extreme Hand Gestures. There you see Lisa with the piece de resistance (French for "piece of resistance"), a full-on Extreme Hand Trumpet. Beautiful stuff. For those of you conspiracists out there wondering about a possible tie-in between Rosalie's positively Nixonian pose and our recent stay at the Howard Johnson Premier, right across the street from the Watergate Hotel...well, my lips are sealed. Suffice it to say that Rosalie has some pretty fancy tape-recording gear in her carry-on bag.|
Of course, this story leaves out the Heart Attack on a Plate that I ate for breakfast with Jacek in a Middletown diner, but hey, what can you do? You're going to get plenty more Jacek in the days ahead -- this was probably the only baseball episode you'll get for the entire Odyssey. You Jacek-heads out there will just have to wait. See you next time on the Odyssey!
Total Miles for 7/22 = About 107
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