More History, More Oysters and More Baseball

Trip Start Apr 02, 2011
Trip End Sep 29, 2011

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Where I stayed
Dan and Kathy Cotter's House

Flag of United States  , Massachusetts
Friday, April 29, 2011

The morning broke sunny and warm...63 at 8:00 am and 75 by noon. Went to Dan's business, Suburban Focus Group in Dedham (pronounced Dead-um) for a tour. He sets up focus groups for companies nationwide in a rather unassuming, but state-of-the-art facility. Very cool. This is one of his three jobs which include work for the New England Newspaper and Press Association and teaching at a local college...the man has about no free time!
But he is/was and always will be one of the hardest working people I know. We had a light breakfast and I headed for historic Lexington and Concord.

Very cool place. Into the Visitor's Center and watched a 25 minute movie on what happened. History lesson here: April of 1775. The Red Coats occupied the city of Boston, and they knew the colonists were stockpiling cannon, muskets and war materials in Concord, about 15 miles outside Boston. One evening, 700 of them were on the move to destroy the weapons in Concord. Paul Revere saw two lanterns in the Old North Church which meant the British were coming by "sea." Actually, it meant they were crossing the Charles River and heading for Concord via the northern route as opposed to coming the longer land (southern) route. He alerted the colonists that "The Regulars are Coming!" (Not "The British are the colonists were British too!) At daybreak the British encountered some 70 colonists on Lexington Green where the first colonists died in the American Revolution. On to Concord where their advance was halted by colonists, now 500 in number and they harassed them during their retreat all the way back to Boston. In the end 375 Red Coats died and 95 colonists. The start of the American Revolutionary War.

Back in Boston. More oysters and chowder at the Union Oyster House...very good! Walked up to Bunker Hill (or was it actually Breeds Hill...historian's disagree), through Fanueil Hall and then a cold one back at The Bell and Hand Tavern. My friend bartender, Meri wasn't there, but lots of other nice folks and staff were.

Headed to Fenway Park. What does Fenway mean you ask? Well, fen is British for swamp, and way means the area near the swamp, hence the name Fenway Park. It's a park built near a swampy area.

Parked half a block away for $30. Not bad.

Asked an usher about same day tickets and he said it was around the corner and in a line where they start selling them at 5:30....hmmmm. Never encountered this before. But about 4:15 I got in line (5th) to purchase my same day ticket. Several scalpers walked by wanting to sell tickets, but I decided to take my chances on the ticket booth. About 5:40 pm they opened up and I talked to a nice lady who sold me a ticket she said, I would really like. And she was right.

First time on the trip I've sat in the upper deck. But the upper deck in Fenway is like the loge (forward section of the upper deck) in most other ballparks. I was right down the right field line...almost equal with the foul pole. Now the right field foul pole is not like the foul pole in any other ballpark. It's actually nicknamed "Peksy's Pole" for former Sox second baseman Johnny Pesky who sent a bloop fly ball into the stands only 295 feet, but listed as 302 feet into the stands for a Sox win 1948. That, and this giant left field wall called the "Green Monster" and an area 420 feet away from the plate in dead center field called "The Triangle" make up some interesting dimensions of Fenway Park. The view from my seat of the entire Fenway Park was amazing.

It's a beautiful old time ballpark that they have modernized extremely well. They still have the narrow hallways for fans like Wrigley, but they have opened up a great new "food court" in the right field area. I had the small nachos and a Diet Coke, which I paid for the rest of the game with heartburn.

They also have put two beautiful electronic screens in center field which display crisp pictures and replays. Very nicely done. As I have said, Wrigley should do this, and this is proof they can do it without detracting from the ambience of the park.

One thing I noticed, they don't do all the between-inning promotions (which hat is the ball under? playing trivia games with the fans. guess the attendance). They chose to play music and show baseball clips...some of the Sox, but others as well. Some vintage shots of former Sox. Some baseball bloopers. Lots of pictures of the fans in attendance. Very nicely done. I prefer that over the "Pepsi Trivia Challenge" or whatever in most ballparks. And they sang what as become their anthem in the 8th inning...Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond, but mute the music during the "Dun, Dun, Dun" and "So Good, So Good, So Good." Very nice tradition. Suffice to say, I very much enjoyed this ballpark.

It was 70 degrees at game time, but the wind out of the North was very chilly...glad I brought my hooded sweatshirt.

Sat next to a family from NY. They were up there looking at colleges for their son. Looking at Northeastern University. He's an attorney in Westchester County. I asked what type of law he specialized in and he said, "mostly insurance litigation." I hoped he wouldn't ask, but he did...."What did you do before you retired, Dave? I told him I worked for State Farm, and cringed. He said, "That's my insurance company, so I don't litigate against them!" We both laughed.

Red Sox had a two-run lead in the 7th when former White Sox Bobby Jenks came in and gave up two runs. The crown "booed" him unmercifully. They are pretty unforgiving that BoSox crowd. Sox lost 4-3 and my great winning streak for the home teams has dwindled and I am now 5-3 with a two-game losing streak. We'll see if we can change that Sunday in Philly.

Saw a very deserving kid for my traditional baseball and as he left with Mom and Dad in the 8th, I asked him the usual question, "Hey kid, did you catch a ball tonight?" To my amazement, he said excitedly, "Yes!" I thought fast and asked, "Would you like another one?" He said, almost as excitedly, "Yes!" So I flipped it to him. Mom and Dad were very appreciative too. I said to them, "It's about the kids." I love that little tradition I've started.

After the game I made it "home" to Dan and Cathy's. What wonderful people.

Tomorrow it's breakfast with the Cotters and on my way to Philly!

Boston was a wonderful stop on my baseball odyssey!
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