Archives for category: Red Sox

I recognize that I will not fully appreciate this until later, but I’ll do my best now.

A Saturday morning, legs crossed, one foot pressed against the boards. On the other side of the wood and glass, hockey players circled the rink—tall, bulky, padded black-and-goldfish on skates. They largely focused on their drills, motivated by short blasts of a whistle. But they snuck occasional looks, grins, stick-on-glass taps to the 100 or so of us on hand. I saw my favorite guys. The new guys. The boys, 18 or 19 years old, fighting for what amounts to a roster spot two seasons from now.

The buzz I’d expected to sense during my trip to Fort Myers back in March was finally here—six months late, different sport, right at home in Boston. This is what training camp is supposed to feel like: Players are competing for their spots, proving their worth, while diehards show up with their smuggled-in bagels to sit around, talk shop with fellow junkies, and get sneak previews of lines and pairings from vantage points significantly closer than anything they’ll experience during game play.

I made my way around the rink to take in the view from the other side, feeling my late morning stretch into an early afternoon. My later plans were much more flexible than the Bruins’ schedule, and I was reluctant to leave without seeing my favorite player skate in the second session. No stress in the preseason.

Two subway lines later, I navigated a collegiate crowd I’d spent the past month avoiding. Harvard Square wasn’t as congested as I’d feared it would be. That said, it would still be a few weeks before I’d return with any sense of regularity. But Harvard’s running shop was the easiest to visit on the way home and Mark Stuart had led to a time crunch. I was in and out in seven minutes: running socks, the sports beans that would give me a carbohydrate boost during long runs, and a couple other odds and ends I would never have imagined needing even a year ago.

Two hours later, the socks were on and the beans were tucked into the back pouch of my hydration belt, along with my cell phone, keys, transit pass, credit card, license, and health insurance card.

(Once you’ve cleared at least two hours in your schedule for running purposes, you ought to be prepared for anything.)

The route felt shorter this time. Perhaps it was that I felt stronger this time. I suspected that it was a combination of the two. Regardless, the doubt about whether I would be able to reach the twenty mile milestone had come and gone, replaced with focus and the flood of endorphins that kept my feet moving in time to the Ryan Adams song playing on my iPod. It was my first genuine runner’s high of the season. And it propelled me through Somerville, Cambridge, and Boston.

For twenty miles.

After the endorphin high faded and the muscle stiffness set in—albeit not nearly as badly as I’d anticipated—I sat on my couch, toasting the day with a glass of pumpkin beer and vanilla vodka while discussing how much fun was going to be had picking apples the next day …

… after getting out of work at Fenway Park.

Again, I recognize that I will not fully appreciate this until later. That said, I’m certainly doing my best right now.

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I have to imagine that, at least for a moment, every baseball fan had a shared thought when news broke of George Steinbrenner’s death.

Wait a minute … That man was mortal?

This morning, I had the priviledge of running in the inaugural Run to Home Base 9K, which began and ended at Fenway Park.

Not only was I able to help raise money for a good cause…

Not only did I get to feel the adrenaline rush that comes with taking to the roads with a couple thousand fellow running enthusiasts…

Not only did I get to feel like a superhero, zooming off of Lansdowne to pass security and make a beeline through the concourse and onto a sun-drenched field…

The Red Sox were so appreciative of my efforts that they put my bib number up on the outside of the ballpark. In huge red numbers, no less.

As you can see, I was touched by this gesture.

(In case you’re keeping track, that’s the second in the Fisk series. I never claimed not to be a dork.)

The Run to Home Base 9K is less than a month away, and I’m excited to set out on a run that will take me from Boston to Cambridge and back again, ending at Fenway Park’s home plate. But in order to get there on May 23, I need some help.

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to meet some of the veterans involved with the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program, and I have to say that doing so has been one of my personal Fenway highlights. I’m running the 9K in honor of those veterans, as well as in honor of family and friends who have served so bravely over the years.

I tell you this to ask for your support. I have pledged to raise $1000 for the Home Base Program and I want to not only meet that goal, but exceed it. I would greatly appreciate any help you can give to help me do so. As a thank you for your support, I will be raffling off a pair of tickets to a Red Sox game at Fenway Park this year. For every $20 donation to my run, you will earn an entry into the raffle. Every additional $20 will get you an additional entry! By supporting such a good cause, you’ll have a chance to cheer on the Sox at Fenway this summer!

Please visit my fundraising page at http://www.runtohomebase.org/runtohomebase/VictoriaWelch and spread the word. Know someone who would like to help the cause – or someone who’d like a chance to win the tickets? Please let them know about my efforts!

Every little bit helps and I appreciate anything you can do to help my efforts. Here’s to a great cause and what’s going to be a great day at Fenway on May 23.

It can be pretty bizarre to be at Fenway for a game that I never actually see. Beneath the center field bleachers, I sell tickets for the tour I will lead after the last out—a tour that brings people onto the field and to the Green Monster door.

“So here’s the deal, how it works,” I say. “The guys get the job done and, after we celebrate our win, we’ll all meet up here and I’ll get you out to see what Jacoby looks at most nights.”

The guys get the job done. Sure, the running joke going into last night was a bitter one—“What do the Red Sox and Bruins have in common? Both teams have one win at Fenway this year.”—but I like to be optimistic. And then I like to listen to the roar of the crowd from my spot in the Big Concourse to gauge whether the guys are going to back up my bold statement. I don’t see the action take place in front of me, like the other 38,000 people at Fenway, but I can hear the crowd and I can turn to look at the small televisions behind me.

Last night, Darnell McDonald had my back. In the eighth and then again in the ninth, I jumped up and down and high fived because the new guy was slamming the baseball around Fenway, lighting the spark the Red Sox have been looking for. The roar of the crowd was deafening before everyone streamed out of the stands and through the concourse—cheering, hugging, chanting, and dancing.

Earlier in the evening, I’d told a young boy that the Sox were just going to have to get the job done for him, given that it was his birthday and his first trip to Fenway. McDonald made sure that they did. And at the end of a thrilling game, just before I took him out onto the field, he had that warm and giddy smile that comes with realizing that Fenway really can be the single greatest place in the world when you’re there for the right moment.

The first “Sweet Caroline” singalong of the 2010 Fenway Park Red Sox season – that I am aware of, anyway – came at about 1:50 pm today.

I stood on top of the Green Monster with my patrons – my little tour ducklings – and I told them about the 1975 World Series and the Fisk home run. I heard the track playing through the PA and saw the giddy grins spreading across so many faces…

One always breaks for the Diamond at Fenway Park.

That’s why it happened to be that, several hours before the Red Sox and Yankees took to the field, folks wearing pinstipes and Sox caps joined voices during a spectacular spring afternoon.

“SO GOOD, SO GOOD, SO GOOD!”

Good omen, my friends. Happy Opening Night.

Coming soon, news and updates. But coming even sooner…

The calm before the storm.

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Taken with my BlackBerry on Saturday,
the day before Opening Night of Fenway’s 98th season.