Thursday, July 10, 2008

Father - Son Day

There is a reason baseball is the national pastime. Nothing brings fathers and sons together more consistently than rooting for their home teams and cheering an absolute drubbing fueled by the son’s favorite players.

Above is the view from our front row balcony seats. The view was great and even though it was mid 90s and humid, the breeze and my son’s newly purchased, official Red Sox fan/spray bottle kept things tolerable.

The flag on the Green Monster was in tribute to America’s armed forces. Yesterday was ‘Seats for Soldiers’ day when season ticket holders donated their tickets for members of our military. Just an added bonus for a kid that loves playing soldiers and pretending to shoot anything that moves. He’s not troubled, he’s a boy.

I’ve also learned that the 7-8 year old range is a perfect time to start bringing your kids to ball games. Up until this year he would start asking when we were leaving around the fourth inning. Yesterday the Sox were up 12-5 in the seventh inning and I asked if he wanted to get going. ‘No way! I want to stay until the end!’

Good enough. At the end of the seventh a lot of people in the lower sections were leaving. I point down and say ‘Want to get close to the field?’ Did he ever! We left our seats and got right next to the field for the final outs of the game. Then hung out a bit while everyone filed out.

All in all he enjoyed his birthday gift tremendously.

A few notes from the day.

- I’ve said it before and will say it again, it’s well past time for a new ballpark in Boston. I really don’t care where it’s built at this point (although the water front would be great). The seats at Fenway are awkward and uncomfortable and nearly all face away from home plate. Either renovate the existing park with 21st century seating or build something new. Enough is enough.

- I decided to take the subway in to the game for two reasons: First, if we drove we would be driving home not only through game traffic, but rush hour traffic, as well. Thanks anyway. Second, I was planning on imbibing some barley and hops but was quickly put off on this plan of action when I asked how much a beer would cost. ‘$7.50,’ was the answer.

Me: ‘7.50??!! As in seven dollars?’

Vendor: ‘Yes, sir.’

Me: ‘How much for a bottled water?’

Vendor: ‘Three fifty’

Me: ‘I’ll take three’

Seven dollars and fifty cents for a watered down, draft beer that probably wasn’t even that cold. Un-fucking-believable! As a huge fan of beer, I find this a crime against humanity.

- One thing I forgot about taking the subway. There is some strange phenomenon involved with the tunnels underground that make them the hottest places on earth. During the summer months most underground places are cooler. Not so with the subway tunnels which tend to be 20-30 degrees warmer. No idea why this is. Maybe there really is a Hell and it releases heat through subway stations.

This became horrifically apparent when we headed down into the depths of Kenmore Station only to encounter an obscenely long line and felt the heat blasting out of the hole. I looked at my son and said ‘C’mon, we’ll walk to the next station’. I guess I should expect such things when I leave one of the nation’s oldest ballpark and attempt to ride the nation’s oldest public transit system.

Fortunately, the walk was leisurely and beautiful and he even remembered ‘Dad, doesn’t one of your work friends live around here?’ when we got close to the Hynes stop. Kid has a mind like a steel trap. Nothing like me, at all.

- We had no less than six foul balls hit in our direction. The Twins have an inordinate number of left handed batters which made our seats along the third base line a good spot for snagging souvenirs. At one point three balls were hit towards us in a 10 minute span (including one that came within 5 feet of us before falling to the crowd below) prompting my son to put on his glove and proclaim ‘I’m getting ready for the next one!’

- Best laugh of the day: The PA announces ‘Now batting for the Minnesota Twins…Joe Mauer’. My son: ‘Joe MAMA? There’s actually a guy named Joe Mama?’

- Second best laugh of the day: Around the fifth inning my son asks ‘Dad, how come Don and Jerry haven’t said anything?’ I then explain that only people watching on TV hear them, to which he responded, ‘Well that stinks’. Yes. Yes it does.

- The game itself was certainly entertaining. Besides the Sox putting up 18 runs – so many I wasn’t sure the game was ever going to end – we were treated to the following:

1: Two flubbed fly balls to right field when the sun was high. On both plays it was obvious neither player could see the ball with the sun where it was. Blinding is the only appropriate word.

2: Not one, but two controversial plays. The first being a near home run by Manny that should have been ruled a ground rule double because some imbecile fan reached over and touched the ball. If it had been ruled a ground rule, then Youkilis would not have scored. The umps consulted and decided it was a standard double.

The second being a diving catch by the Twins center fielder that was initially ruled a catch. After another consultation it was decided it was a trap. What’s interesting about this is if it was ruled a catch, it would have turned into a triple play since the Red Sox players all kept running on the play. Instead two runs scored and it was first and third with nobody out.

3: Both my son and I waving good bye to the Twins manager after he lost it on the reversed catch call during the play above. My son particularly thought this was great. Watching the tirade he said ‘I’ll bet he’s saying some bad words right now’.

4: Manny being Manny during a pitching change. When Beckett came out in the sixth, Manny disappeared into the Green Monster. When Javier Lopez was ready, he walked around the mound, looked out to left and noticed Manny wasn’t there. He stood, staring until Manny popped out and ran to his spot. The crowd cheered Manny’s reappearance like he had just hit a home run.

5: We got to see Manny throw someone out at third base, too. On a single the Twins runner on first decided he could make third. Even as Manny picked the ball up I said to my son, ‘He’s got him’. Indeed, perfect throw and the tag was waiting for the sliding runner.

6: Getting to witness not one, but two home runs clear the Green Monster. You can’t truly appreciate how far those balls travel until you see it in person.

- As my son noted when we first sat down in our seats, what the hell happened to the Coke bottles that were attached to the Green Monster light poles? Did they fall off? Were they removed for some obscure reason?

- Getting to watch a guy named Boof pitch in person. ‘Boof? His name is Boof?’ eight year old asked.

- To top everything off, my son wore his new Jacoby Ellsbury shirt and Ellsbury gets a career high four hits and came within 5 feet of a home run. He feels personally responsible.

As he should.

Today’s distraction: As a tribute to the 23 hits raining down on the Minnesota Twins, it’s the House of Falling Furniture in San Francisco.


son pere said...

Ah, yes! This entry brings back memories of me and French going to Fenway when he was a tad. That was back in the days when you didn't have to take out a second mortgage to get tickets, hot dogs, drinks, etc. at a ballgame. I felt your pain when you discovered the price of a beer at Fenway.

Anyway, I'm really glad that the Sox put on a great show for your 7-year old. It makes the whole world seem right when that happens, especially through the eyes of a youngster. Doesn't get any better.

New Master Card commercial: Tickets to Fenway, $120; beer, $7.50; hot dogs, $7.00; seeing your hometown team thrash the opponents, priceless!


Hammen said...

You had more luck than I, sir. When I went to a couple of games at Fenway vs. the Twins, in '06, the Sox got killed two nights in a row, and we got poured on one of the nights. Congrats on an awesome game to see in person.

BeachBum said...

I was actually concerned about the predicted thunderstorms yesterday, but we got home just as they hit. Otherwise we would have been soaked, too.

One of the things that my son said to me over the weekend: 'Dad, when we go to the game, make sure you bring A LOT of money so we can buy stuff'.

son pere said...

You've gotta love kids and their unbridled honesty! French used to think that anytime dad needed money, all he had to do was go to the bank thingie (ATM) and get it! Little did he realize (then) that you HAD TO HAVE SOMETHING IN THE BANK before you could withdraw it! Now he knows better, or does he? Since he left for college some 11 years ago, I felt like I had the letters "A-T-M" emblazoned on my forehead!

But, yeah, anytime we went to a game together, we ALWAYS had to stop into TWINS across the street from the park to "buy stuff".

To Hammen: remember, "you win some, you lose some, and some get rained out!". Be happy that you were able to get the tickets.

Hammen said...

Right; I have been lucky with weather, I've never been in attendance for a sporting event that got rained out, even though many times there would be like a 75% chance of rain.

BeachBum said...

Wow, this rain out thing just bum rushed a memory of mine. My buddy and me once had tickets to a Red Sox game we were convinced was going to be rained out. So, instead of going, we went up to Stowe, Vermont to be roadies for a day long concert (long story).

Anyway, we drive up through periodic rain and when we get there head straight for the bar (drinking age was still 18 in VT at the time). We order a beer, look up at the television set where everyone on the Red Sox are congratulating Roger Clemens.

Recovering from the shock of the game actually being played, we ask the bartender what happened and he says 'Clemens set the strikeout record'.

That's right. We missed Clemens' first 20K game to go to Vermont and drink.