Category Archives: Fenway Park

Still KC, after all these years

Old friends, and all that stuff. Mainly because everything else I can think to rant about is my health, or politics, so lets avoid those for once…

The first time Kate, and I met up in Boston, I got to fulfil one of my baseball dreams, a visit to the legendary Fenway Park, to watch a game. What you have to allow for, is that when I buy a baseball ticket for myself, its at the budget end of the range. Not the bleachers, even before my back went, but nothing very stylish either, usually an ‘up in the gods’ job. So, not really knowing Kate all that well before the trip, I was assuming much of the same.

Yes, wrong, one of the much nicer seats, and a restaurant available, where the staff cared for our needs before the game, oh wow. The next time we planned to go to the baseball together, I was therefore suspecting more of the same. Let me add, this wasnt in Boston, this was in Kansas City, but yes, the Red Sox were the opposition, so yes, there might have been some friendly rivalry between the 2 of us. Yes, and nice viewing seats too. Oh, and they got better! Kate has some health issues that make mine now look less of a concern, and though the seats were great, she couldnt get comfortable. So she asked nicely, and we quickly got moved to more suitable seats, and had attentive staff caring for us for the rest of the afternoon! It was the year the Royals lost in the World Series, but they got their reward a year later!

So far, thats the only game we’ve been together at, where there has been a friendly rivalry between us. We do tend to have a friendly tease when Kansas State (my team to follow) play Oklahoma State (her university) each year, but nothing too serious, all the same.

Now it looks like we are going to get an extra ‘tease’ next weekend in the NFL, as the Kansas City Chiefs (won last night) are set to host her New England Patriots  (35-7 up, as I write) in the AFC Championship. No, I wont actually see the game, as it will start at 11.40 pm next Sunday, UK time, and thats way too late for me. I’ll have to settle for catching the highlights the next day, I guess? But I bet Kate watches it, as it will be early evening for her, and yeah, its the Patriots!

Of course my added amusement is, we could yet have a Jean Harlow Superbowl, lol, though I’m sure Kate wont want that to happen. Yes, KC, where she was born, against the Hollywood team, the Los Angeles Rams!

One of these days, Kate and I will get to another sports game together. When, and where, to be advised, lol!

OK, the video tonight has no relevance to the blog! I know, shocking stuff. But fine, in some of my short mind control story pieces, I use Clara Johnson, and get her turned temporarily into a robot. So imagine my amusement when I found a musical number, where she’s wearing a metal outfit…

They are the champions, my friend

But no, you’re not getting the Queen video, though you probably should do! Yes, honest, the last Red Sox posting for the year, and if I can remember how to do it, I’ll change the blog back to something more ‘normal’ in a few days time!

Those who care about Baseball will probably already know who won the World Series, but for the few who dont, it was Boston! 🙂 It was a great series, which Boston won 4-2 in the end, with several outstanding performances, including the incredible David Ortiz, the only man now to have been involved in the 3 series won by Boston this century. He wasnt the only hero, just one of the biggest ones, but anyway…

Given that elsewhere, my friend Kate pretty much talked about the series, I decided my tribute would be what Fenway has meant to me over the last 25 years. So, with my permission, I’m going to re-post it here

Back in September 1988, I arrived in the US for the first time, lets just not mention how many times I’ve been there since, but its a few! :laugh:

Sheila and I flew into Boston, from London, collected the hire car we were having for the next 2 weeks, and headed into Boston, and our pre booked hotel, the only one that was pre booked for the trip. No, I have no idea which one it was, but it was somewhere near the bar that Cheers was based on, dont even know which area of town that was.
That night, after our meal, we started out on a walk before going back to the hotel, and ended up at (I believe?) the John Hancock Tower, which had one of these viewing levels, many floors above the ground. That night, in the (relatively?) near distance, I saw a sports stadium all lit up, so I looked at the display to see what it was. Yes, you’ve guessed it, it was Fenway Park!
Didnt mean a thing to me at the time, the only US sport I’d been infected by at that point was the NFL, due to its coverage over here on TV. But yes, that was the first mark that Fenway Park left on my life…but not the last.

Then when I was over for a while in 2003, I switched on a hotel TV, and discovered Baseball. For some reason I will never know, I got hooked, I assume its the fact it came across as a sort of cricket alternative (hitting the ball a long way with a bat), with so many tactical facets that grabbed me. As I was in Seattle at the time, I took  the Mariners as my team, even though strictly, my first ever baseball team were on the opposite coast. If I’d only known better…

On one of the sports forums I went on, there was a discussion on which US stadiums you should visit. When it came to Baseball, two principally got mentioned, Wrigley Field…and Fenway Park, though I was told getting tickets for the latter was quite a challenge.

A few years later, I went to Wrigley Field, and yes, they were right, it was an amazing place to see Baseball live. An evening game at San Francisco was something quite special too, among my collection of stadia visited over the years. ironically, I’ve never been to a game at Seattle yet, but anyway…I would have done, but for a massive delay by American Airlines, but hopefully one day…

Lets go back now to 2011. For some reason best known to herself, Kate was quite keen to team up with me, when I was visiting Boston in September. James was too, and arranged my accommodation place, far better than many hotels in hindsight, but anyway…and yes, for one marvellous day, teamed up with both of us. Kate covered it brilliantly on the Forum, though I suspect its very buried by now.
One delight Kate had lined up for me, a game at Fenway Park. I think pre trip she told me I was going to see the stadium, but I assumed on a tour. Oh no, not only was this a seat at a game, it was in one of the nice areas, not one of the cheaper seats I tended to sit in. The stadium was incredible, an amazing experience, and visiting a nice in stadium restaurant, and then sitting in a nice seat, it was an amazing day, an afternoon game against Baltimore (the one stadium I havent been to, that James says I should visit)

Yes, they lost, it was one of those dark days of the September 2011 collapse, that cost Francona his job, and Boston their play off place. But it was early enough in September, that we didnt know that! Then came the Valentine disaster of 2012, lets just leave it at that.

I rated Farrell as a manager, and thought the Red Sox would be far better this year, but seriously, if you’d told me this would happen, I probably still would have laughed. But its been a joy for me, all season long.

Little did I know, when I saw Fenway Park for the first time, 25 years ago, that it would lead to this. But its been a great journey, and thanks, Kate, for taking me to that amazing stadium.

And that is why, despite being a Mariners fan, Fenway Park, and the Red Sox will always hold a special place in my heart.

Boston Strong! :-*

As I say, back then, if you’d told me that 25 years on, I would have seen a game live at Fenway Park, and celebrated their 3rd World Title in 10 years, I would have laughed at you. But now… I leave you with one of the highlight moments from the series, from the MVP, known as Big Papi, or more correctly, David Ortiz

More than a feeling!

Yes, I know it could all still go wrong from here, but seriously, if you’d told me that 1 win back at Fenway from the last 2 games of the World Series would be enough for the title, I would have taken your offer, happily.

Dont get me wrong, it wont be easy, because as this incredible series has proved, nothing is straightforward. We’ve had a win (for Boston) on an attempt to steal a base, and we’ve had a win for St Louis on an obstruction ruling, a pretty rare event. There have also been 1 or 2 ‘normal’ games, but lets not worry about them!

Oh, and in game 6, St Louis have a pitcher that gives up as many runs as Trans Pennine Express trains run on time, in other words, not very often! But hopefully, one good hit, and 🙂 If not, we can try again in Game 7, I guess?

No game tonight, both teams are heading back to Boston today, and start off again tomorrow night, when I suspect Fenway Park will be crowded, and loud! I only wish I could be there, but might be for the best I’m not, I dread to think what the tickets cost! But yes, all the same, I’d love to see it live on TV at least. Unfortunately, my shifts this week make that an impossibility, given the games start after midnight our time, and I have to be up early the next day!

But in my dreams, I’ll be imagining Big Papi hitting that winning home run…I hope!

The video, well, the group have the right name at least. The song, the clue is in the usual place lol!

A change of look

Yes, I’ve decided to give the old blog a makeover, at least for the length of the World Series, and maybe, should the right team win it, a few days longer too! Yes, of course I am, go Cardinals…not! 😛

In a sense, its even more special for Boston this year, given the bombings at the marathon and everything, that something special should happen for the city. And yes, it would be pretty special if the Red Sox won the World Series this year. Because in a sense, of all the New England/Boston teams, the one closest to that horrific day were the baseball team.

They had played earlier that afternoon, and just as they were readying themselves to fly out of town for their next matches, a loud noise was heard at the stadium. Yes, those horrific bombs going off, rather taking the shine off another successful Red Sox day earlier. And yes, like the Cardinals, in the National League, they had 97 of them this season, an American League best. Its only the 3rd time since 1995 that the best team from the season in each league have met in the World Series, a stunning fact.

So, about 4 hours from writing this, the World Series will start in Fenway Park, and hopefully the only explosions will be fireworks celebrating a Boston victory. Yes, I’m biased, so sue me! 😛 Hopefully history will repeat itself, because when they broke ‘the curse’ back in 2004, they beat the Cardinals too!

As someone who loves her sports history as much as her sport, its great to see 2 senior clubs there, the Red Sox have been in Boston since the start in 1901, the Cardinals (under a few guises) have been in St Louis since 1882! And of course Fenway Park has been around for over a century itself! The St Louis stadium is a modern one, but as a friend would remind me, Boston doesnt have a view of the Arch!

And yes, my choice might be favoured by my dear friend Kate, who is a proper passionate Red Sox fan, who I’ve just tagged along with for the ride. Her cute little dog, named Fenway (surprise!) might be a little less biased, given the folk who look after him while Kate is away at work, are Cardinal fans. Therefore his chances of getting fed treats will only rely on which house is the one celebrating the win. All he will be hoping for is a 7 match series!

The video too, is a very special one. A few days after the bombing, the Red Sox came back to Boston for their first home matches. There is a 7th innings tradition in the stadium nowadays, the singing of Sweet Caroline. Kate isnt a fan, but anyway… Totally unexpected, totally at his own expense, who should turn up at the stadium, and offer to lead the singing that day, but the man himself, Neil Diamond! This is the performance. It is live, the double sound is due to the tape the Red Sox use normally, when he isnt there, which was the only music format available, given the visit was so unexpected

Boston Brave, and Boston victory…I hope.

Born on the 4th of July

No, not me, nor the film, this is about a certain country across the Atlantic from me. Yes, the USA is 236 years old today, in terms of independence from the UK at least. Seems kind of ironic now, given the relative size, and strengths of both countries, isnt it? Alright, I’ll resist the old 51st state joke…just! 😉 And yes, I’m hoping that all my American readers are having a wonderful day today.

Its interesting to consider, if my Irish ancestors had gone left, instead of right just over 100 years ago, well I might be celebrating today as well! But thats history, nothing I could control, so…I’m here in England instead! Could it have been Kansas? Well I doubt it very much, but you can never tell lol!

No, I’ve never been in the US for todays celebrations, or for Thanksgiving, but maybe sometime in the future I will. Snag is, while working, July isnt a good time to be taking holidays as far as work is concerned. And November is a little late in the year, unless you choose your destination carefully lol! Besides which, I see these as family celebrations, so I would feel like I was butting in to some degree if I did. I know one wonderful man who will say otherwise if he sees that comment though.

I’m not certain if summer has finally arrived, temperatures are finally heading into the high 60’s, and its even stopped raining, though probably not for long, this summer! Forecast for the weekend would certainly suggest it wont last long!

The music, what could be more apt than this today? Brought to you from the icon that is Fenway Park, on the day it turned 100. Just enjoy…

The pleasures of baseball

Though I’m sure many of my European readers will be thinking what pleasure is there in a game of ’rounders’ lol! Dont get me wrong, I dont entirely understand the game (to put it mildly), but love the atmosphere of the games, and hey, its fun! Also the fans dont have to be segregated, unlike our wonderful soccer fans in most of the world!

One of the things I really love are the stadia. No, not the modern iniquities like Philadelphia, or the indoor dome of Minneapolis (no longer used) but the delights of Wrigley Field (Cubs), AT&T Park (Giants) and now I can add Fenway Park (Red Sox) to that list.

AT&T is new, even more so compared to the other 2, but it doesnt have the feel of a modern behemoth. It also has the major advantage (for night games at least) of having the sun setting over the bay while watching the game. Fenway and Wrigley are just the opposite. They may have been greatly modernised, but both stadiums still have that unique feel of having been built a long time ago. And they were, both fast approaching their 100th Anniversaries. Also fairly uniquely for sports stadia nowadays, they are both very much part of their city. Part of their problem actually, is the ability to expand to take modern sized crowds.

But I love these places, there is real soul in these places, not just somewhere for fans to sit and watch a game, as is so often the case nowadays, and I love that. I know, time has to move on, but all the same…But as AT&T has proved, you can build a modern stadium with heart, just wish a few more designers realised that!

And I leave you with the ultimate baseball song, recorded even before Fenway, and Wrigley were built!