Did you know that Boston has a nature center? I didn’t until I moved to Jamaica Plain and saw that it was fairly close to our house as the crow flies. Despite this knowledge it’s taken me a year and a half to finally make the 1.5-mile walk to Mass Audubon’s Boston Nature Center and Wildlife Sanctuary located on what once was the grounds of the Boston State Hospital in Mattapan. Peter, Susan, and I walked over on a lovely Memorial Day passing through several cemeteries – Forest Hills, St. Michael’s, and Mt. Hope – which were appropriately bustling with visitors. There are also several garden shops along the way which I expect have a symbiotic relationship with cemetary visitation.
The Boston Nature Center itself is quite lovely. We took the Snail Trail and the Fox Trail which led us through the woods, along a creek, over a boardwalk, and past a wide wetland marsh. Sadly Peter was not in the mood to walk nor to be carried, nor anything much else that day so our visit was abbreviated. Still I’m glad we finally made it out. Now I can check something off my Mission: Boston list and more importantly I know another great green space within walking distance of Jamaica Plain.
On Sunday I attended my second Mets game of the month, this time a road game here at home in Boston. It feels a bit odd to don my blue & orange hat for a trip to Fenway since I will root for the Red Sox against any other opponent. Yet I’ve done it many times dating back to the Mets first interleague appearance in Boston back in 1998 and the games are among some of the most interesting I’ve ever seen.
Here are some highlights:
June 5, 1998 – Mets 9, Red Sox 2: Arguably Pedro Martinez’s worst game in his best season in that he allowed home runs to four Mets. Martinez beaned the Mets new catcher Mike Piazza early on forcing him from the game but Piazza’s replacement Albert Castillo hit one of the home runs and scored two runs in the game. Odd.
June 6, 1998 – Mets 1, Red Sox 0: The next day I didn’t have a ticket but walked up to Fenway and got one from a firefighter for $10. You’ll never hear of anyone getting same day tickets anywhere near that price today. Tim Wakefield pitched his heart out allowing only one hit, and lost. Brian McRae walked, stole second, advanced to third on a ground out, and then scored on a balk. And that was it! Crazy.
July 13, 2000 – Mets 3, Red Sox 4: Things looked good for the Mets at first as Bobby Jones of all people was able to keep pace with Pedro. Later on odd things happened with Carl Everett and Dennis Cook (which would come to ahead two days later with a complete Everett meltdown). A Melvin Mora error and some late-inning heroics by Brian Daubach off Armando Benitez gave the win the Red Sox. Exciting game nonetheless.
June 27, 2006 – Mets 4, Red Sox 9: After a six year absence the Mets returned to Fenway on a day that was also the first time Pedro Martinez returned to Boston as a Met (and received a warm welcome when he pitched the next evening). In a nice touch, the fans and players saluted the 1986 AL Champion Red Sox on the 20th anniversary of the year they lost the World Series to you-know-who. There were a ton of home runs in this game, three for the Mets, but the Red Sox would score more runs by far.
June 29, 2006 – Mets 2, Red Sox 4: Curt Schilling pretty much shut down the Mets this evening. This is the only occassion when I’ve encountered rude fans at Fenway as a trashy-looking woman and her teenage son shouted insults and threw peanuts at Mets fans in my sections (although for some reason they left me alone). This game sewed up a sweep for the Sox and at the time it looked like they were bound for the postseason and the Mets were fading, but in the end it was the the Mets who reached the playoffs that season.
Sunday’s game was interesting as well partly because a thunderstorm pelted the field with rain and hail in first inning. Fans ooh-ed and aah-ed as lighting struck buildings in nearby Back Bay. I sat in the family section in left field near the Green Monster, safely ensconced under the roof. So I had a good dry view of the heroic grounds crew as they rushed to get the already sodden field covered with a tarp. It was also amusing to watch the people in the front rows evacuate their seats. On the scoreboard they showed a video of a couple of guys lip-syncing Milli Vanilli’s “Blame it on the Rain” and dancing with the Wally the Green Monster in a rain slicker. Turns out the “two guys” are Red Sox pitchers Jonathon Papelbon and Manny Delcarmen which further proves that I can never recognize athletes when not in uniform. Anyhow, it’s pretty funny and you can watch it below:
When play resumed, things looked good for the Mets as they took a lead into the fifth inning and seemed in control of the game. And then the Red Sox batters made mincemeat of the Mets bullpen – especially Brian Stokes – and just kept hitting and hitting and hitting. Oh well, it turned out to be a lovely day and while some blokes lamely tried to heckle Gary Sheffield, I sat among some friendly fans. Which is good because we’re all squished together in that special Fenway way.
I’ve been visiting Fenway Park pretty much every year since 1997, and it just gets bigger – more seats, more concourse, more concessions, and more ads (which add some nice color) – but the seats are still narrow as can be. All the changes have been for the better improving what was already one of the best ballparks in baseball (although at least the Mets have something comparable now). I look forward to going back for a game when I can root for the Sox.