My son Peter and I took in our first Red Sox game of the season on April 7th versus the Texas Rangers. While the 2013 champions have struggled early on, we were treated to a thrilling 5-1 victory. Yes, it was April baseball, as both teams had a passed ball and an error, and probably deserved some more errors. But a win’s a win. As an extra bonus, we received a David Ortiz bobblehead upon entering. And since Peter is now a member of Kid Nation, we were allowed to enter the ballpark early and watch the Red Sox batting practice from the Green Monster seats, which was pretty awesome.
For the third time in ten years, the Red Sox are the World Series Champions. I’ve watched the Red Sox play in four World Series in my lifetime, and although I rooted for the opposing team in 1986, I’ve been firmly behind the Red Sox in the most recent three. The 2004 World Series saw the end of the drought of 86 years without a championship (despite coming close several times) and the 2007 team proved that it was not a fluke. The 2013 championship seems all the more special because it proves the resilience of the team coming back from a losing season in 2012 and a bad finish the year before that.
I particularly enjoyed this season because my 6 y.o. son Peter is a big baseball fan and devoted to the Red Sox. We attended five game this season – four at Fenway and one at Yankee Stadium – and the Red Sox won them all (Peter’s lifetime record is a remarkable 9-1). We also listened to games as Peter drifted off to sleep each night, so I’ve found myself following the team and getting to know the players much better than I have in many years. The World Series victory came the day before Halloween when Peter dressed as his favorite player, Stephen Drew, and two days before his 6th birthday.
On Saturday, I took Peter to see the Red Sox Rolling Rally in the morning and then we had his birthday party in the afternoon, perhaps the best day of his life. The Duck Boat Parade was a joyous occasion, and it was great to see so many happy people filling the streets of Boston to celebrate just six months after the atrocities on Patriots Day. While we watched from Tremont Street opposite Boston Common, there was a moving tribute to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing on Boyslton Street.
Below are my pictures of the parade. It was a fun day, and I hope we get to do it again.
Title: 30 for 30: Four Days in October Release Date: 5 October 2010 Director: Gary Waskman Production Co: Major League Baseball Productions Country: USA Language: English Genre: Documentary | Sports | Baseball Rating: ****
The ESPN documentary documents the last four games (played over four consecutive days) of the 2004 American League Championship Series between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees, from the Red Sox point of view. There’s nothing radical about it from a filmmaking perspective, merely clips of tv and radio footage from the games interspersed with interviews with Red Sox players and some celebrity fans. I watched it mainly so my 5-year-old son could learn some Red Sox history, and it quickly became his favorite movie. It was also a nice nostalgia trip to see memorable Red Sox comeback and all the little aspects I’d forgotten (doubly so to watch it without the feeling of twisted intestines that I had back in 2004)
My son Peter and I were fortunate enough to take in two Boston Red Sox games in the same week. The first was a home game at Fenway Park versus the White Sox. For the second game, we ventured into enemy territory to see Red Sox take on the Yankees at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.
I’ve been to Fenway Park dozens of times in the 15 years I’ve lived in Boston and my son and I have been using 4-game Sox packs the past two seasons. I don’t have much to add to what I’ve written before other than to say that Fenway Park is a great place to see a ballgame, the improvements in fan amenities the past decade have really improved the experience, and I love going to games with my son.
This was our first visit to the third iteration of Yankee Stadium. Growing up in Connecticut, I attended several Yankees games in the 1976-2008 version of Yankee Stadium as a child as well as one college football game between Boston University and Grambling State. I made my last visit to Yankee Stadium II in 2006. Despite the history that came with the building due to the Yankees many successes, I never thought it lived up to its reputation as a great ballpark. It was kind of gloomy and felt like a 60’s/70’s concrete doughnut squashed in an urban shell.
I’m happy to report that Yankee Stadium III is an improvement on its predecessor. We took the D train to 161 St, and exited right outside Gate 6. There were several lines open so we swiftly made our way inside. We entered a long concourse with a high ceiling that felt like an airport terminal or railway station. While the Stadium has escaped corporate naming, the corporate presence was strong here (and throughout the ballpark) with large neon signs for the Hard Rock Cafe and other amenities. There was also a large screen and news ticker showing Yankees highlights on repeat and reminiscent of Times Square. The whole feeling was definitely to remind you that you were in the land of the Yankees now and playing with the big boys.
To access our seats on the Grandstand Level, we had to walk up a long, looping concrete ramp. This was one of the least appealing parts of the stadium. At least the ramps at Shea Stadium were exposed to fresh air and sunshine with views of the Manhattan skyline. The Yankees museum could be entered from this ramp but the line was quite long so we didn’t take it in. The concourse on the Grandstand/Terrace level was much nicer with lots of sunlight and views of the field and lined with the usual concessions and souvenir shops. The only one we availed ourselves to was Carvel for an ice cream cone (Peter passed on getting the ice cream in the helmet).
Our seats offered a commanding view of the field with only the left field corner obscured by the seat deck in front of us. (This would become relevant in the game when Ichiro made a catch against the wall of a drive by David Ortiz). The centerfield scoreboard is big and informative. There is a secondary scoreboard behind homeplate but I was surprised that there was only advertising along the baseline. The out-of-town scoreboard was not visible from our location. The corporate feel was strong during the game with lots of advertisements on all the scoreboards. Strikeouts by Yankees pitchers were sponsored by an appliance store and walks by Yankees batters were brought to you by a brand of whisky.
Our seating area was well-populated with Red Sox fans giving us a feeling of safety in numbers. The rivalry among fans was good-natured on this day. Several times Red Sox fans started chanting “Lets Go Red Sox!” only to get booed by Yankees fans. Then one guy would chant “Lets Go Yankees!” and no one else would join in. The top of the stadium is encircled by pennant flags for every team in Major League Baseball arranged by division in the order of the standings. Appropriately, we sat directly beneath the flag that read “BOSTON”.
The game was enjoyable, with the teams duking out to a 13-9 finale in favor of the Red Sox. Boston took a big lead early and then New York chipped away at that lead to make the game more competitive. Definitely not a pitcher’s duel, or a short game, but a fun one. We left after the game and it was actually pretty easy to get to the subway, and then board a “baseball special” train which has a poetic ring to it, like something out of a W.P. Kinsella story.
Yankee Stadium proved to be an adequate place to see a game. Like Citi Field, it is somewhat corporatized and soulless, and a city like New York should do much better for its ballparks. They don’t compare well with ballparks in San Francisco, Baltimore, or San Diego that incorporate aspects of their cities and surroundings into the stadium. It seems like they got the idea to copy the retro-ballpark style without doing anything to make it uniquely New York. Perhaps they just need to be lived-in a bit longer and will accrue some charm with age?
Over Memorial Day Weekend, I enjoyed a two-city, two-team, two-day baseball double header. On Sunday, I traveled down to New York to see R.A. Dickey and the Mets take on the San Diego Padres in the good company of some of my Mets fan friends. The next day, my son Peter & I went to Fenway Park for the Red Sox victory over the Detroit Tigers.