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Trip To Fenway Park

This past Friday, I took a trip up to Boston to see the Red Sox play at Fenway Park.

I'd been there once before, years ago. On a sunny Saturday afternoon in 1987, we saw a young Roger Clemens completely overwhelm the Texas Rangers in a 2-0 victory. So, it had been a very long time.

Friday was a rainy and cold for this time of year. We weren't sure we would see a game. After a one hour delay, they played.

Fenway Park is an absolute gem. It opened in 1912, just five days after the sinking of the Titanic. You unfortunately have a modern electronic screen flashing stats and selling product, but you also have a scoreboard that is updated by hand, and other little quirks

Baseball is a game where half the fun is dredging up memories of great deeds done past. Even memories of things you never saw. When in Fenway, I think of Ted Williams and Babe Ruth playing on the same field, and of Bucky Dent and Yaztremski, all the great players, and the great moments for all those many years.

But baseball is cannibalizing its past. Almost all the old stadiums are gone. There are exactly three stadiums still in use where Babe Ruth once played--Fenway Park, Wrigley Field and Yankee Stadium. And Steinbrenner plans to demolish Yankee Stadium in the next few years. The new place will be swell, but it won't be Yankee Stadium, no matter how many amenities it has.

A few years ago, the Red Sox announced that they would build a new stadium. There was a fan revolt. The plans are permanently shelved. Fenway, and the red seat, and the Citgo sign, will outlive the House that Ruth Built.

The imminent destruction of Yankee Stadium makes Fenway ( and Wrigley Field ) even more precious to the real baseball fan.

So, anyway, I'm at this game in Fenway, surrounded by this army of Red Sox fans, loving the Green Monster and the history of the place. It was an entertaining game, with the usual mental blunder by the gifted but brainless Manny Ramirez and a crazy bottom of the tenth when the Oakland As had five infielders against Edgar Renteria and the game decided by a hit batsman with the bases loaded. The batsman, the aforementioned Ramirez is so bloody stupid that he thought that the pitcher was throwing at him intentionally. You saw a flash of anger. Yeah Manny, the pitcher was trying to hit you with the bases loaded and the winning run on third.

But, any-way. Fenway's a great place.

Fundraising and charity work have always been a big part of the Red Sox. For 52 years, they and their players have supported the Jimmy Fund for sick children. The scoreboard urged contributions for " the victims of the genocide in Darfur " . ( At what other sports venue would there be an appeal for this cause? Expressed this truthfully ? ) There was an appeal a fund for the animals displaced by Katrina, also urging people to adopt them. The Sox handed a $500,000 check for Hurricane Katrina relief before the game, and there was a sign urging contributions painted onto the Green Monster.

And during a delay, they played a version of " City of New Orleans ", the Arlo Guthrie song, performed by someone else. It sounded wonderful.

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