Another season is almost in the books. Another summer has been swept away by rain and cooler weather. I am already thinking about April and where I can travel next year. The Midwest seems to be sending out its siren call. Montana has been a lure that I just haven't taken the bait for. There will be the annual trip to Birmingham for Rickwood's fundraiser. I need to spend more time at McCoy, which I have been saying for several years......and so it goes...is it April yet?
I doubt that the home team will get very far into the playoffs. Of course, I have been wrong before and they certainly did come back against the Spankees in the 2004 series. After going to my last regular season game the other night, I still have at least one playoff game left. As October sets in, Bart Giamatti comes to mind. "It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone."
In all of my running around, if I have met a sweeter and more gentle man, it escapes me. They are going to retire Johnny Pesky's number on Saturday and it is a fitting tribute to him, a man who has spent his life as a player and then ambassador of the game. He spends endless time talking to and signing autographs for kids. This is one of my benchmarks of a players true character. You go, Johnny...
Rickwood Field. I literally stumbled onto learning about this magic place on the internet. Shame on me for not learning about it earlier than I did. When I was in contention for the job that I have now (actually, I was the only candidate) my future boss called to talk and asked where I was. When I replied, on a ball field in Birmingham, AL..he said....be serious....I hope he knows better by now. Call me during April to October and there lies a good possibility that I am on dirt and it is hot. Call me after I am dead and you may get at least the hot part correct. I have made 13 trips to Memphis and, I dunno, 9 or 10 to B'ham. To be called "The Official Photographer of the Oldest Ballpark in the Country" is one of the few things I am proud of in this here life.
Sorry I didn't have time to imbibe at the Time Out. Looks like the kind of place where flies go to die.....Next time I am in Greensboro, NC, I will pony up to the bar, have me a frosty and eat Slim Jims and a few rancid hard boiled eggs. I'll tell a few lies, tell a few bad jokes and probably get dragged outside and beaten. Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina.....
Greenville. As plastic a city and ballpark as I have been to in the South. It is even more plastic than the Fisher Cats Stadium in Manchester, NH, which I thought was an all time low. Players run out and duck through the arches. I actually felt a twinge of sympathy for "Spaz, " the mascot. Summer jobs being what they are, I guess even wearing a jester's hat and running around a ballpark is preferable to a lot of things, such as actually working at Mickey D's.
Yes, the Sox break the Indians consecutive sellout streak tonight. I think the Sox sold out forever a long time ago but as I am on the Monster, sipping the eternal Diet Coke....I doff my cap to gentleman like the one in the photo who have made the Red Sox what they are today. This soul even has a website explaining how he puts his makeup on....By the way, at Wrigley, in Chicago, the announcer still asks gentlemen to doff their caps before the Anthem.
In varying degrees and for different reasons, we all scream for the Red Sox. At a game yesterday, I noticed how unified the crowd was - as if a giant wand was being waved above the crowd of (if you guessed 37,461, you're wrong!) fans,making them move as if synchronized. It was endearing in its own way. A dunderhead like myself, who will go to his grave never having done the wave, can sit back and tell stories while everyone else is on their feet for a 3-2 count in the first innings. God Bless being able to afford getting into Fenway. It might be the last refuge of the upper middle class. What struck me about the gentility of the Fenway crowd happenned near the end of the game. Behind me sat a pontificator. He was telling his young daughter every detail and nuance of the game being played. This was fine. He was loud. This was not. Toward the end of the game, she said, "Daddy, I can't see." His terms of endearment reply? "Thats ok, I can."