Tag Archives: Fenway Park

Boys Will Be Boys

Last night, there were two of us. Two grown men, both in our late 40’s, hanging out to watch a game. We watched, and watched, and watched some more. Then more than 4 hours after we started watching the pre-game coverage, an eruption. Continue reading

A Month and the Sox

April 14, 2016 – My Dad was taken home by his Lord and Saviour. There are bunches of my words that you can read if you so wish, regarding my Dad’s death found in the following links. DadThe Man is Gone. A Dad and This BoyI miss him.

May 14, 2016 – We took the twins and their older brothers to Fenway Park to see the Red Sox play. It is the 6-year-old twins’ first trip to the old ballpark in Boston.

Oh the old ballpark, that Ruth, Foxx, and Williams called home.

Oh the old ballpark, that Ruth, Foxx, and Williams called home. (c) 1inawesomewonder

Continue reading

These Sox don’t deserve the likes of Pesky

As if we needed any further proof of the character (lack there of) among this current Red Sox club, this week’s embarrassment takes the cake. This clubs collapse last season was tough to handle but not a shock as information became available. This club got Francona fired, as if he were the one losing the games. Oh, I know, he wasn’t fired. Face the facts, he was fired. No thanks to this collection of elevated, entitled nobody’s. The list of things contributing to the growing dislike of this team during 2012 is too long to list here. Ownership would rather entertain, sell bricks, delve into futbol, and sleepily address the public from behind their smoke and mirrors show, than win baseball games.

Today, I write about the players though. This week, this team essentially blew off one the most likeable, true gentleman, and talented members of the Red Sox organization, ever. Yes, ever. Johnny Pesky broke in to the Majors in 1942 at the age of 22. All he did was set a rookie record, leading the American League in hits with 205. Over the next three seasons he went off to war, serving his country in the Navy during World War II. He returned to the field for Boston and led the American League in hits and at bats in 1946 and 1947. In each of his first six seasons, Pesky finished among the top 8 players in the Major Leagues in runs scored. This during an era where the only guys scoring more runs than him were the likes of Williams, Musial, Ott, Kiner, and DiMaggio. He even finished in the top five in MVP voting twice. He had a lifetime .307 batting average (ranked 138th all-time of players with 3000 or more plate appearances) and an on base percentage of .394 (ranked 79th all-time). Among the storied history of Red Sox baseball, Pesky ranks in the club’s top ten of all-time for at bats, batting average, and on base percentage.

Those are measurable stats that anyone can look up. Pesky, though, may have been better measured by the number of smiles he gave and received. Or maybe it was in the number of years he represented his beloved Red Sox. Maybe it was the number of players he shared his experience with over the years. No matter how you slice it up, Pesky measured up. This roster of Red Sox players don’t come close.

Pesky came up when Major League players walked to the ball park. They actually mingled with the common man. They were common men. They worked jobs to earn a living when the baseball season was done, even the best players did. They weren’t entitled to anything. They were guaranteed nothing. They even went to war defending our freedoms. Freedoms that included playing the greatest sport on earth, our national pastime, baseball. He played when, God forbid, players were paid year by year, based on performance. They signed one year contract after one year contract. They didn’t save their best work for a free agent year because every year could have been their last.

I guess you can’t blame this current roster of Red Sox players for not relating to the descriptions above. You can certainly blame them for not knowing better though. All but four current players blew off Pesky’s funeral this week. They couldn’t give back a couple of hours of their precious time to honor a man who was a better player than most of them, a better man than maybe all of them, and who was more or less a part of Red Sox baseball since he was drafted 72 years ago. Pesky played his rookie year with Williams, Doerr, DiMaggio (Dom), Cronin, and Foxx, among others. I apologize for even mentioning this current Red Sox roster with Mr. Johnny Pesky in this piece. It’s not fair to him.

Embarrassing. Ridiculous. Selfish. Disconnected. Spoiled. Soft. Clueless. Entitled. Disrespectful. These are just a few words that come to mind when I think of these Sox blowing off Pesky’s funeral this week. Fitting as fitting can be, the Sox blew a 6-0 lead, en route to another loss tonight as I wrote this.

I’m happy that I had a chance to meet Johnny Pesky long enough to shake his hand years ago. I still have his autograph upstairs in my closet. I always paid special attention when I heard him talk about today’s ball players, especially when assessing their potential. After all, this man played along side Williams and Foxx. He faced Feller, Sain, Spahn, Lopat, Trucks, Newhouser, and Roberts, among others. He knew the game and he knew talent. Hearing him talk the game was worth listening to. Paying last respects to him at his funeral would seem obvious, especially for those playing for the organization that Pesky proudly represented for nearly 70 years. I mentioned earlier that Pesky and the players of his era were common men. If I’m right, then I’ll take a league full of common men over this group any day of the week. It’s clear to me, these Sox don’t deserve the likes of Pesky. Rest in peace Mr. Pesky.

Early reviews: Sox are a bust and have lost their way

Welcome to the circus that is Fenway Amusement Park and the 2012 performance of the Boston Red Sox Players as conducted by seemingly, mildly interested ownership. Lead Jester in this years performance is Bobby Valentine.

One of my brothers sent me an email today and shared some of his thoughts on the Red Sox so far this season. This spurred some thoughts and my own written reaction. Which is also where this piece stems from. Many of these thoughts have been cultivated over the last several years. Others came throughout the fall of 2011. An autumn that would have fit better in the 86 year drought somewhere than it does in the 21st century.

Gone are the days when Ted Williams would sign his one year contracts based on how much he and the club thought he was worth during the previous season. Gone are the days when players would stand behind the opposing catcher and watch the other teams’ starting pitcher warm up along the foul lines. Gone are the days when the team would actually take infield before a game. Gone is the net and the retrieval of home run balls after a game by a guy walking the wall at 37 feet high. Gone are the 7:07 start times and the afternoon games before that. The Impossible Dream has been replaced with the Implausible Scene that rears its ugly head 81 dates per year. Gone is baseball as the main attraction at 4 Yawkey Way. Gone is the national pastime in its glory as the only passage of time needed for our fathers and theirs, replaced with entertainment as defined by those who measure a quality start by numbers and not by the quality of the start.

Some how the grand old ball park, 100 years old, has become the theme park and main attraction to an audience of millions throughout New England and even around the world. I cherish Fenway Park. I have since I was a kid, and like millions of other kids, I was sold on the old concrete ramps leading to the most beautiful shades of green I had ever seen. I didn’t need seats on the Monster, or a pavilion in right, or seats behind glass, or even seats that faced home plate. The greatest players in the history of the game played on that field, in front of that wall, and before those seats, empty or not. I knew Ruth, Young, Foxx, and Williams, among others, had even called this park home. That’s the beauty of it. That park was where those ball players played. That’s all that was needed. Just like it would have been at any of those other classic ball parks, if they were still around.

So far in 2012 there has already been too much mediocrity, or less, and worse yet, it seems to be acceptable. Bobby Valentine could have managed several games better this year. He could also have taken opportunities to show who is the boss in the clubhouse. Oh wait, no, he couldn’t have, because he’s not the boss. He’s just another member of the entitled fraternity of Red Sox personnel who think someone actually owes them something. The boss is the collective ownership. Just ask Boston’s GM. Insert puppet here. Ownership needs to look in the mirror regarding their ball club and worry less about the ball park. With injuries, no sense of urgency on anything, and average acquisitions this is what we get. An above average offensive ball club held back by its pitching and lack of fortitude. Even when Adrian Gonzalez finishes with great numbers again, he won’t be enough to over come countless blown 3-run leads and constantly playing from behind. Right now fans want his behind because he’s not off to a Josh Hamilton start this season.

I could go on but I probably won’t. Beckett looked like a golfer trying his hand at pitching on the mound tonight. Couldn’t have been better timing for him to show us all what he’s made of. Not much. I know every year can’t be 2007, but since the title year where’s the hunger, the drive? Actually, humorously, I guess we learned where the hunger was last autumn. He’s 50-33 with a 4.08 ERA since the 2007 title and getting worse. That’s a nice .602 win percentage but by comparison Matsuzaka has a .654 win percentage over the same time frame.

Anyways, the Sox fired the best manager in team history, and seemingly took forever to find the right guy for the job to replace Francona. Now, mind you, the right guy for the job in this case, may just be a guy fitting interesting criteria: Big name, check. New England guy, check. Sells some tickets, check. Vain enough to think it’s all about him, check. Expendable enough to be a rental manager caught in a bad lease, check. Francona may have lost control of the wheel last season, but he may have been driving a vehicle with a bunch of bad tires, and less his fault than originally thought. This season will likely show us all just how bad it could have really been.

Either way, after the Bruins early exit from the Stanley Cup playoffs, Fenway turning 100 years old, and various forms of early season adversity, the spotlight has been shining holes through the club in month number one of the season. The season is long, and we’ve seen that just about anything can happen. There are 131 more chances for our hometown team to redeem themselves this season. In the meantime there’s the College World Series, The Olympics, and the Little League World Series to help restore our National Pastime and then some.

The Red Sox are my life-long favorite team. Even if this season turns around for Boston, there’s several pictures in my mind that I’d rather see at 4 Yawkey Way. I’d love to see Yaz pinwheeling the bat as he settles in to face another pitch. I’d love to see Tiant delivering pitches from every conceivable angle and watch his pitch count approach 200 (talk about your quality starts). I could use a couple of episodes showing “The Steamer” taking a rake to innocent beach balls. I would love to see Lonborg pitching with the heart of a lion when nobody else believed. How about some effort, like that of Fred Lynn using every fiber of his body to make another catch that wasn’t supposed to be made. I could use some time spent in the center field bleachers during the 1978 season when “Jim Ed” would come out and hit balls into the bleachers to the kids before batting practice. Ya, he was awesome. 406 total bases in 1978 and my evenings were good or bad based on how Rice played that night. How about “Dewey” lining himself up in right field to unload his cannon to the appropriate base, time after time? Give me the buzz around the old ball park on any night that Pedro pitched. I’d even take Manny being Manny, rifling a walk-off single through Mariano’s legs on Memorial Day Weekend. Maybe I could use the grit of Lansford. Let me see the old bullpen cart bringing relievers to the mound. Are there any kids in the mix like number 26, who played first base and went 6-for-9 in a double-header against the Indians, a year after Lansford won the batting title? Give me Marty Barrett with a 13 pitch at-bat, or Carbo in the clutch. I’d take Morgan Magic and Benzinger wrapping one around the Pesky Pole. I’d take the Boston Red Sox playing baseball in the old Fenway Park.

Hey ownership, these Sox are a bust! It’s not about the ball park, it’s about the pastime, the game, the players that make the plays and send New England off to sweet summer dreams night after night. The ball park in essence is the fly on the wall that witnesses all the greatness and thus becomes the place for fathers to congregate and pass on the histories as they know it. It’s seats should be so fortunate to be filled with subtle story lines being shared game after game. Stories that live on forever from one generation of wide-eyed youngsters to the next. Instead, for many, it has become a once a year, or maybe once in a lifetime visit to an amusement park that’s so busy with entertainment that’s not the game, that the beautiful symmetry of the game is often lost to the likes of lights, gadgets, bells and whistles.

My favorite ball fields any where are not my favorites because of the amenities they offer. Rather, it’s the beauty of those rarest diamonds, where the colors run into one another at the perfect angle as if the hand of an angel reached down and arranged these things just so. There are fields that are carved into nature where the ball field ends right where the wild begins. These fields don’t have fancy lights and scoreboards, but they do have immeasurable history and countless memories where our pastime was contended by players who didn’t know better than just playing for the love of the game. These fields in some cases have long since passed ‘state of the art’ and have transformed into glorious cathedrals containing priceless pictures of yesteryear hanging in every corner, perceived by thousands from just as many angles.

I probably won’t get to Fenway this year, but if I do, I am sure someone will have to hear more stories of mine as my memory plays back images to me while I look around the old yard. Until then, I would just as soon sit on the front porch and listen to the game on the radio so I can paint my own pictures of the memories being created.

Sox-Go-Round

I am not sure this piece needs to be any longer than the title. I just wanted to share a few thoughts as a life long Red Sox fan who knows a lot less about them than many of you. First, as the list of accomplishments were read, listed, or discussed as Terry Francona was shunned from the organization, it was apparent to me that this guy won in Boston despite the ownership group. Francona and Bill Carrigan are the only two managers in franchise history to win two World Series titles. Carrigan had a 20-year-old kid named Babe Ruth hurling for him in 1915. Ruth was 41-20 on the mound over those two seasons. Francona won more games as manager of the Red Sox than anyone else with the exception of Joe Cronin. In this age of instant gratification, and what have you done for me lately, Terry did a pretty good job considering he didn’t pick the players and personalities that were brought to Boston. Now Francona might need to buy a ticket to get into Pink Hat Park at Fenway Amusement Central. I will get to this later.

Second, Theo Epstein now heads to the North Side of Chicago with hopes of reversing another curse, or six (the goat, the black cat, ball through Durham’s legs, Buckner’s batting glove, the dropped fly ball, Steve Bartman). Sorry Cubs fans, but my family and I already had to deal with 86 years of this stuff. Even with the signings that completely back fired while Theo was here, his resume is still impressive. I also wonder how many of these acquisitions were handed down to him from ownership and how many were him performing as a good GM, or as a bad GM. It’s hard to tell from where I sit.

Third, David Ortiz talks of the drama in Boston when asked about his future. Think about this for a minute, Ortiz was Mr. Clutch in Boston’s Championship runs in 2004 and 2007. Over those two post seasons he only hit .386 with 8 HR’s, 29 RBI’s, 27 Walks, 29 Runs scored, in 28 Games played. He was our Mr. October, the guy who could do no wrong. The player that would be welcome here forever, right? (That’s what we thought about Francona too) He’s still a fan favorite in Boston, but given that he’s a free agent DH, who hits left-handed, and just lost his biggest advocate in Boston, where do you think he will end up? Oh and did I mention that the Yankees were in the bottom half of almost every single offensive category for DH’s? True. By the way, Boston and Mr. Ortiz were ranked first in many of those same offensive categories. Just some food for thought.

Fourth, I love Fenway Park. But I am thinking I love the Fenway Park that was introduced to me when I was a kid, not the one entering its 100th season next spring. I can still remember walking up the ramp towards the light of day, emerging from the cool, concrete depths, the hard, cold hand railings, and rising up above the field. As I neared the ramp top, I could see the net come into sight, then the Green Monster, and it was all green. I saw the green, green grass, the greenest grass I had ever seen. The brown infield dirt with the infielders whipping the ball around the horn like a blur. Back then they still took infield before the games like the rest of America still does all the way through college ball. The playing field was pristine, the rest of the park was not. Why should it be? Smokey Joe Wood, Tris Speaker, Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, Lefty Grove, Joe Cronin, Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr, Yaz, Luis Tiant, Carlton Fisk, Fred Lynn, Jim Rice, Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens, Nomar, Pedro Martinez, Manny, and thousands others all played on that field. The greatest collection of baseball talent ever assembled came together for an impromptu meet and greet with the greatest hitter who ever lived on that field before the 1999 All-Star Game. It’s an old ball park and I am glad it’s still there, but it’s been through a lot. I mean, Ted Williams actually hunted pigeons in that old ball yard. I wish all the old ballparks were still around even if the Major League teams weren’t in them. Countless memories are attached to those old ballparks. And sometimes it’s okay for something old to look old, as long as it is here and still functions.

Fifth, I have no problem with the idea of pink hats at Fenway, or anywhere else, for that matter. I know many people who were wearing pink Sox hats long before the term was coined, and these folks are as die-hard Sox fans as I am, if not more so. We shouldn’t always paint with such a broad brush, because there’s beauty in the detail of individuality. There’s also beauty in the simplicity of something designed just right. Something that stands the test of time and becomes an icon for those who have interacted with it. That something is Fenway Park, not the monstrosity it has become. The Sox sell out every game as they draw from all over New England. Many of these sellouts consist of a family who makes a pilgrimage from not only New England, but from around the world just to see Fenway. Many of these people can afford to come see a game there just once, or once a season.

Sixth, Fenway was a destination for most of us without seats and suites all over the place. We went to the park to see the home team play in their sanitary home whites and those unforgettable red numerals on the back. We came to see the ball slam off the monster and how an opposing left fielder would play it. We came to see our generation’s ace on the mound and we didn’t need a radar gun to know how overpowering he was. We came to see a ball rattle around in the door on the left field line, or a ball hug the base of the wall and roll forever in the right field corner. We came to see speed and courage run a ball down in the triangle. We came to see our favorite players, our baseball heroes play a kids game on the pristine playing surface sunken between massive green walls. Knowing full well who had come before them and sensing how those heroes past looked on that same green sanctuary. We came to hear the unmistakable sound of the bat meeting the ball. We came to sing one song that we all knew, our National Anthem. We came to hear the umpire yell, “Play Ball !” Because after all it was baseball that brought us in.

I know that managers, owners, coaches, and players come and go. I also know that the Red Sox fan base, as large as it is, can be a tough group to answer to. Good organizations are good because they have good people in key positions throughout their structure, not because analytic’s generated in a bubble overlooking reality, spit out a player’s name to go and get. The Red Sox just lost two good people in my opinion. Best wishes to the new manager and GM as they stake their livelihood on spreadsheets and computers. People make the world go ’round, and good players win ballgames, but good people who can play well together win championships. I am not ready to say Terry and Theo were the problem yet. I may never say it. Because I love the Red Sox and when they resemble an actual team again I will be here watching and cheering. I just wonder how many fans will lose their grip over the cold winter, and fall off the Sox-Go-Round.