Tuesday, April 11, 2006

An Hommage to Fenway

Nothing resonates through New England as Opening Day at Fenway Park. The first home game of the Red Sox is as sure a sign spring has arrived in New England as the crocuses blooming. Fenway Park, our own little band box originally opening in 1912 the same week the Titanic sank with seats too small, too many posts obstructing our view, way too little parking, standing puddles after a rain delay and facilities clearly built in 1912. Yet, no greater monument to the first church of baseball exists today. The only park that even comes close anymore is sited in Chicago where the Cubs annually endure another year of frustration. If by some miracle the Sox and Cubs ever meet in the World Series, more innings will be played in that series than has ever been played in history and at the last out, the world will end. Revelations will have nothing on this experience.

Yet, Fenway is our band box, it's our house of memories, it's our linkage between the many generations of fans. It's my memories of sitting with my grandfather bemoaning whatever the most current plight of some Red Sox player who was not performing up to the exhalted expectations placed upon him by the Boston media writers. It's where Ted Williams roamed left field knowing every bump and dent in the Green Monster to play the caroms, it's Mel Parnell pitching brilliantly and losing another 2-1 game, it's Carl Yastremski alone dragging the team to the Series in 1967, it's Luis Tiant in 1975 looking every fan in the park in the eye before delivering another pitch, it's Dick Stuart hitting two home runs but allowing three runs in on errors (they didn't call him Dr. Stoneglove for nothing), it's year after year after year of wonderful and haunting memories. Too many games I've watched between my fingers chanting whatever mantra I thought could lead them to victory.

Yes, today is Opening Day the rebirth of another baseball year and the rebirth of the memories of my youth. Nothing is ever wrong on Opening Day; the grass is greener, the sky is bluer, the hopes never more optimistic. Let the reality begin.


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