Ah Fenway . . . and Boston
Never been to Boston? Go; it’s a real treat for every stripe of American or the America-curious. There is history to be seen every four or five steps. And the food? Scary good; not trying to plug anyone but have to say, the ciopinno at Neptune’s Oyster House in the North End is the only version we’ve found that rivals the great Tadich Grill in San Francisco. But this ain’t Yelp so let’s get on with the real deal. Fenway.
The Red Sox Baseball Club boasts that it is “America’s Most Beloved Ballpark;” that’s probably an enormous pile of marketing hooey or the result of a badly worded poll but Fenway is still nonetheless a damn nice house. It is easily second only to Wrigley in my mind. And it’s been improved since my last visit (see “It’s Fenway and That Ain’t So Bad”). It was yet another sell out even though my hapless, young team was the visiting squad. With the widened concourses and additional amenities though, we were easily able to retrieve and release our beers. Of course, as fans of the road club, we make our beer and bathroom runs at different times than that vast majority of the folks in the stadium. Bonus!
Being from Texas, Boston’s reduced temperatures and absence of humidity were enough for a high five on Yawkey Way. Yet we were engulfed by an embarrassment of riches from the baseball gods; a generous rainstorm the day before tamped down an already mild New England summer. Sunshine gently beamed down and embraced us as we took our awesome seats just above the Astros dugout (thanks again Tim). So, we had that going for us; which is nice.
As I was in my retro-Astros baseball gear, it was comforting to see some orange stars dotting the boisterous crowd. Not sure whether it was because of his potential or some local connection but George Springer jerseys/shirts were prominent among those of us in orange. One fan was even geared up with a Red Sox cap and a Springer t-shirt (what the hayul?). Springer was mobbed after BP. There were the repulsive, back-packed e-bayers looking to make a buck off the budding superstar’s signature to be sure; however it appeared that most of the fans just wanted an autograph or a photo just for themselves. The majority that crowded around the young player were in Red Sox hats and shirts. I hope it is a sign of the greatness to come and of which I have expressly spoken. (See “Is Springer Morphing Into Beltranwell?”). As a Houston fan, it was a pleasure to see the warm reception for Springer in a real deal baseball town.
The Astros exhibited very real, if raw talent. They took an early lead with respectable offense including Matt Dominguez’s shot over the Green Monster. Aggressive and exciting defensive plays by my very young Astros were also on display. Starting pitcher Allen Webster had good stuff for six innings. Then he made some mistakes; he and the team got down and didn’t get back up. They collapsed like a five dollar lawn chair. The Sox took advantage and the Astros could not recapture the momentum. A seven run sixth was the fat lady doing her thing well before “Sweet Caroline” spilled out of the PA system.
It was groovy to see new Houston fire-baller Mike Foltynewicz; I’m going to call him “Scrabble” even though the Cards already took that nickname because I think it is cool and I will never be able to consistently pronounce the kid’s name. Anyway, he beared down with impressive Billy Wagner heat and attitude yet failed to hold the game together; it came apart at the seams.
The Stros went down like the Hindenburg but that’s alright because it’s baseball, man. There’s always another game and it’s a process for rebuilding teams like the Astros. It’s about young talent maturing and learning how to keep it together and prevent the joy from leaving Mudville. Let us not forget that the following night, my mighty, mighty Stros won in ten innings and again displayed flashes of brilliance. Despite the loss Thursday night, what I saw on the field has the makings of a stout Houston Astros Baseball Club that will coalesce, get nasty and win games.
Hat tip to the great City of Boston; we’ll be back.