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Mind chum 15 A sports history lesson
Posted to Open Discussion Forum on 8/6/2017 25 Replies

Well good day to you all.Todays chum is inspired by my visit to a ball game. But not just any ball game,A Boston Red sox ball game.And not in any ball park, but in Bostons very own Fenway park.

I am going to give you all a brief history lesson as well as a desription of my sensory overload of visiting this shrine,this ballpark, which is now one of the grand old dames of ballparks and is on the national register for historic places. For myself this is a very magical place.There is something special about this old park.

I did not attend my first major league game until I was an adult.My father had an aversion to the city of Boston,like he would catch something contagious. I came to be a Boston Red Sox fan as a small boy.The Dream team of the 1967 Red Sox, and they were on a streak.

Carl Yasztremski,Rico Petrocelli,Jim Lonborg,as well as Mike Ryan,who was a relative of the owner of the Chrysler dealer that was next to my house,he often made frequent visits. To get a head pat or an autograph by one of my "Hometown" team players? Well when your nine years old,that is as good as it gets.

Now the 1967 team was not with out any hardships. During a game outfielder Tony Conigliaro got seriously hurt by a wild pitch.He suffers a fractured eye socket and after this his career is effectively over. Attempts by him to make a comeback never succeeded, and his untimely death due to a heart attack at age 45 ended what should have been a brilliant career.

The Sox win the AL East championships and the pennant but lose the world series. I will not get to see my dream of a championship team until they win the world series in 2004. And on a personal note, I was so very happy for Cubs fans when they won The world series last year. Knowing first hand what a drought feels like,I was rooting for the Cubs,and I am glad that they won it.

My wife Lisa,works for a great company.She works for Performance Food group.A large commercial food distribution company.Part of the benefits to her working there,are organized trips. One of those trips was to last evenings Red Sox game.

The day started off rainy and gloomy.With a very close eye kept on the weather channel we decided to chance it.The bus left her work at a little after one o clock.We arrived in Boston around three. Now i had not been to a Red Sox game in years. A lot at Fenway has changed ,yet a lot has remained the same.And this is a good thing,let me explain myself a bit further.

For those of you that are not from the Boston area you may think that we as fans are nutty,and that maybe, but maybe there is something to this.After a short walk to the ballpark, Red Sox nation was on,and in full display.Team shirts,and hats are proudly worn, There is just something about being a member of this unofficial "Nation".I was in heaven and smiling broadly.

From the sights of this old ballpark decorated with the banners of past wins and championships. Fenway is an old ballpark.Built in 1912,this adds to its mystique and charm. The sounds of the hawkers selling programs getyerprogramsheyahonlyonedollah, onedollahfreebaseballcahds free stickahs.The dropped letter "R" we know we are officially home.To bring it home even further the announcer lets the crowd know that Yawkey way will be closing and entry into the "Pahk" will start at 5:45.My smile broadens more,i had not realized how much i have missed the Boston speak.

The aromas of sausages,hot dogs,popcorn,all waft through the air,and boy do they smell wonderful.We both realize we are hungry and stop to grab a bite to eat at the Cask and Flagon a landmark restaurant located next to this venerable old ball park.

A bit of history for those of you not from Boston Or New England. The name Fenway originated from the "Fens"Section of Boston. Years ago this was all tidal marshland.A dam constructed in the 1820's effectively stopped the tidal flow of water turning the basin into an infernal pool of nasty smelly goo. Enter the Boston and Roxbury mills corporation,they realize that there is an issue and begin filling in the area.The Boston water power company is formed to sell of water rights to the newly constructed mills,and as the BRMC is dissolved ,the shares are sold publicly.A railroad, the Boston And Providence builds a bridge in 1835 ,which effectively closes off any further tidal flow to this area.

In the year 1849, the Boston department of health demands that something be done with the pool of now stagnant water.Originally known as Shawmut peninsular when the filling in is done Boston's land area is doubled in size. Frederick Law Olhmstead is consulted and hired ,he is the Architect that designs New York cities central park.

He creates an area with a public garden and Brownstones are constructed on this new land mass.What was once a smelly, stagnant pool of water, now becomes one of Bostons newest and most desirable areas to live.The area now known as the Backbay is interesting with it's turn of century buildings,this old ballpark just fits right in.

Attempts have been made to tear down this old park, but we New Englanders are resistant to change.Especially to something as dear to the majority of us as Fenway Park.The plan for a new park was foiled.Once we were finally inside and seated ,we were witness to all of the pregame rituals by the grounds crew.Meticulous preparations of the infield dirt.As well as the placements of the bags,Crew are busy touching up the painted lines, if your a fan of this game,it is all a visual feast for the eyes.And I am absorbing this all like dry sponge thrown in to a bucket of water.

Announcements are made,and the last round of improvements on the field are quickly wrapped up. Upgrades made to this old park since our last outing here, has been money well spent, the seats are a considerable improvement ,as well as to the sound system and the new jumbo tron screens.We also get to witness the first use of the instant replay rule for a controversial call by the umpire at second base.

A special unit of the Vermont state police are on hand for today's game, as today is Vermont Day. They are the color guard present for the singing of our countries national anthem,sung superbly by a very beautiful 14 year old girl. When she is done singing, the attendance of 36,599 fans let's her know that she has done a very commendable job of singing it.

Other ballpark traditions abound,the hawkers selling beer,pretzels ,crackerjack,peanuts,hot dogs ice cream ,lemonade ,it is a constant.The beach balls make an appearance, as well as the "Wave".Fenway is a small park, it is an intimate park.And i love attending a ball game here.

With all of its little quirky features from the "Green monster"built into the left field wall. this funky corner of Fenway has been responsible for more strange ball hops,Yaz could play that wall like no ones business,he owned It. And at 37 feet tall it houses one of the major leagues last manually operated score boards.The legendary Ted Williams has an honorary seat that is painted red.Located high in the right field bleachers.This is in place to commemorate the first ball to be hit 500 feet. a record that i believe still stands.

The official address of Fenway park is at 4 Yawkey Way ,this street renamed in honor of Tom Yawkey,he was the son of a wealthy industrialist .He purchased the Red Sox franchise in 1933 and began the difficult job of getting quality players to turn the Sox around.He continued in the ownership role for another forty four years.After his death his wife Jean continued to hold court until 1990.

This generation of owners seem to have the best interests of this wonderful old ballpark at hand.We left the park after the Sox beat Chicago 4 to 1.And with the songs of Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" and the Shandells 1966 hit "Dirty water" still going through our heads we walked back to the bus. Walking down " David Ortiz Way", This is one of Bostons newest streets in honor of one of this games living legends,David has done the game proud.And gives hope for the next new generation of fans.We stroll past the illuminated retired numbers of some Boston's greatest players,Yasztremski,Pesky,Williams,Bogg's,Ortiz,Martinez,Fis k and number forty two, in commemoration in blue for Jackie Robinson.

All in all it was a great time at the old ball game.The night ended with a light breeze blowing.And the weather cleared off, giving rise to a beautiful, almost full moon, the Neon signs,ablaze with vivid colors,the buildings of Boston's skyline silhouetted outside the park,and the temperature was in the low seventies,just a perfect day out.

I hope i have not bored you with this edition of "Chum" but history is history i just needed to get this on the page while it was still fresh in my mind.i hope that you all have enjoyed my visit to this venerable old ball park and until next time,thanks for reading, Bruce.

Bruce from Massachusetts

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