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Friday, July 08, 2005

Catching up with Baseball

I have not written about baseball here in a while and I wanted to get down my recent trip to Fenway to see the Sox play the Jays before it becomes totally irrelivant.

On Sun July 3rd I went to the the Red Sox play the Toronto Blue Jays at Fenway. It was a 2:00 game so I headed out around 10:00 AM to pick up my friend and drive in to Boston. As we were cruising down Storrow Drive, getting close to Fenway, my friend had me get off at an unfamiliar exit. Assuming he knew where he was going, I followed his directions.

It turned out he did not know where he was going and we wound up taking a lovely tour around Boston.

We checked drove by the Prudential center and various other spots, evenutally finding our way down Newbury street and Beacon street, making our way back to Fenway. Driving in Boston is always an adventure for me since I almost always get lost. Whatever the situation is that caused me to lose my way, I never get angry over it because I just assume that if I'm driving into Boston, I'm going to get lost. I just consider getting lost as part of the whole experience of driving into Boston. I always find my way to where I want to be eventually and thankfully it was a Sunday so the traffic was light. 

We got to the ballpark around 12:00. With the game starting at 2, we had plenty of time to do some stuff around Fenway so we pahked the caahh and headed over to the park. The weather was awesome for a baseball game, warm and sunny with very low humidity.

My friend needed a new Sox cap so the first place we went was the Souvenir Store to get him a lid. While we were in there looking around I seriously considered getting my kids a Johnny Damon t-shirt. Johnny is their favorite player. My daughter loves to hit rubber balls and whiffleballs off of a tee and say, "Home RUN! Just like Johnny right Dad?"

"Even BETTER!" I always say.

I checked out the Johnny D t-shirts and they were 20 bucks a peice. As much as I wanted to get my kids some shirts, the thought of paying 40 bucks (plus tax) for a couple t-shirts was just too much. "I'll see if they've got some cheaper at Bob's," I told myself.

Once my freind procured the proper headgear, we were on our way.

"So where do you want to go?" he asked.

"Lets go to the Baseball Tavern, I've always heard that it's a cool place."

My freind had never heard of it so we made our way over.

The Baseball Tavern is on the othe side of Yawkey Way, and normally you would just walk through Yawkey way and go another block down and you'd be there. But, you can't walk down Yawkey Way anymore, because it's now considered part of Fenway, so you have to go around the whole ballpark to get to the other side (not that this is a big deal).

So we walked down past the Cask where all the street vendors hang nowadays, made sure to note the location of the Sausage King for the return trip, took a right, walked past Ted Williams' statue and the players parking area, checked out all the playahs cahhszz, wondered who's HUMVEE was who's and who's BMW was who's, and eventually got over to the other side of Yawkey way. As expected, just down the road was the Baseball Tavern and we made our way over.

The Baseball Tavern is a pretty cool place and I liked it a lot. When you walk in, there is a large open area with barstools and small round tables to hang out at. Unlike other bars, its got nice big windows in the front of the building so it's well lit with nice natural sunlight. It's not all dark and dim in there. At the back of the building is a grill where you can order some tasty treats and off to the right is the bar. There's lots of TVs and cool sports paraphenalia up on the walls and they've got an outdoor area in the front of the building where you can hang out as well. In short, it's a very nice sports bar.

Because The Baseball Tavern is kind of an out of the way place, it's not crowded at all. You can actually walk right in without standing in line, head up to the bar and not have to push and shove to get there. I liked that. Being packed in at Boston Beer Works or The Cask can be fun when that's what you're in the mood for, but sometimes it's it's nice to just chill out and not be jammed in like a sardine and not have to shout in somebody's ear to have a conversation. At The Baseball Tavern you can actually sit and relax, talk about the game and see what's going on on the TV's. They've got a great bar menu and, (I really liked this part,) it's $3.00 for a draft beer. And I'm not talking crappy bud-light draft. $3.00 for a quality, brownish-colored, IPA draft. I was impressed by this, considering that the beer at Boston Beer works is like 8 bucks a cup. NICE.

My friend, who is more of a Rico-Suave kind of guy, said liked it in there too but he did not seem as impressed with the place as I was. He is more into the crowded scene but said that he thought the Baseball Tavern was a good place to have as an alternative spot to go when you don't feel like being jammed in together and paying $10.00 for a beer.

We hung out for a while and had a few beers and talked about the game and The Sox in general. Since I had a J.D. shooter along with a couple beers, I managed to get a small buzz and then we headed back to go into the ballpark. We took the long way back around the park so we could hit The Sausage King.

I told the guy at the Sausage King, who was wearing a big red crown on his head, that I needed "2 with peppers and onions".

"14" he said.

I had $13.00 handy and went to dig through my pockets and find my wallet.

"Close enough for government work," The King told me.

We headed into Fenway and found our seats, which were in the grandstand behind homeplate. The game was a close one with both Arroyo and Holiday pitching well. In the 2nd inning I went up to get dogs and beers and of course, while I was in line, this is when all the action started and I heard all kinds of yelling and chearing and groaning.

"Either something really good or very bad is happening," I said to myself.

Toronto scored a couple of runs but I missed all the action, dang it. It turned out that The Jays held that lead for the entire game.

As if the Sox being behind the whole game was not bad enough, we were sitting next to some Bluejays fans who went out of their way to be extra vocal about it. I don't have a problem with folks cheering for their team, but after a while I was like, "Yay. Good for you. I see you're happy that your team's beating my team and I can see the damn scoreboard. I don't need you screaming about it directly into my ear for emphasis."

I set my rally cap into position, inside out and backwards, and started to try and will some runs in for The Sox. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be. They came close, loading the bases in the bottom of the 9th and I was all primed up for a potential game winning home run with Johnny Damon at the plate with the bases loaded and 2 outs. Unfortunately, Johnny popped up and the game ended with the Jays winning, 5-2.

After the game we headed over to check out this new bar that is near Fenway called Game ON. We did not even get a beer in there. It was a little bit too upscale for us. If you want a martini, I guess that's the place to go, but we were not in the mood for that kind of place so we headed over to The Cask N Flagon for a beer before we headed home.

Even though the Sox did not win, it was a great day to go to Fenway and be at a ball game. That was probably my last trip to Fenway this season, (unless I can get tickets for a late August or early Sept game).


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