The New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks played in the Super Bowl. I like Tom Brady, but I don’t like the Patriots. I like the Seahawks less. The Pats won. While I don’t like the Pats, and with baseball season to start in a couple months, I love the Red Sox. Along with the Los Angeles Dodgers, I grew up with those two being my favourite teams. I loved the history of both teams. Growing up, I loved their players, from the Red Sox especially Ted Williams, Fred Lynn, Carl Yastremski and Carlton Fisk. As an adult, I eventually became a Chicago Cubs fan.
I went to my first and only game at Fenway Park last year in September, but that wasn’t the first time I was there. On 29 August 2007, I lived my Field of Dreams. In Boston, I took a tour of historic Fenway Park. Built in 1912 in the heart of the Fenway district in Boston on Brookline and (what is now) Yawkey Way, Fenway stands for all that is good about the game. Our tour took us everywhere. There is not a bad seat in the house, even the original, cramped, blue wooden seats (which would be the ones I would sit last year) possessed a certain charm and forced a common bond with neighbor watching the game on either side. They were the original seats when the stadium was first built, a reminder of how big the average person in the country has grown. From the upper deck seats with a majestic view along the first base line to the rooftop right-field seats behind Pesky’s Pole where Dwight Evans made so many highlight reel catches to the most expensive seats along the EMC and State Street Pavillion to the most sought after seats in baseball above the Green Monster. Throughout the tour, our guide’s speech was peppered with history from their first game in which they won in the 11th inning against the New York Highlanders (later known as the New York Yankees) to Williams 502 ft jack that knocked out a Yankees fan (who in the hospital converted to the Red Sox begging the newspaper headlines the next day “Williams Homerun Knocks Some Sense to Former Yankees Fan!”) to the sale of Babe Ruth and 12 other players transforming the Bosox from a dynasty that had won five of the first fifteen World Series to the worst team in baseball for a decade to Fisk’s Pole in left (the site of the most famous homerun in Red Sox history) to the retired numbers of Bobby Doerr, Joe Cronin, Carl Yastremski, Ted Williams and Jackie Robinson, which brings me to the real reason for this note…
Standing atop the Green Monster under the sweltering August heat facing the merciless sun, sweating profusely through my shirt, the tour guide had just finished describing Fisk’s impossible shot and moved into the list of retired jerseys. When she said “…the man known as Teddy Ballgame, the Splendid Splinter, the Kid – the Greatest Left-Handed Hitter in the History of Baseball – Ted Williams,” chills went down my spine. I had to bite my lip cos I thought I might cry.
This is what he did in his last at-bat as a major leaguer: “When he came to bat in the eighth inning, Fenway erupted. Everybody wanted a dream ending, and Williams provided it. He hit a home run, and ran the bases like he’d done 520 times before – head down and fast. After touching home plate, he went straight to the dugout.”
God, I love baseball.
Go Adventure. Go Travel. Go Live.
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