Horns and Tails
BOSTON,MA; APRIL 16, 2005: The strange thing about morgues is that every now and then, the body in the drawer starts kicking.
This is the imagery running through my mind as I pack Fenway–my labrador/beagle mix–into the car and prepare to depart northern NJ en route to Boston. I’ve got two tickets for the day’s game against the Devil Rays. I’ll pick up my friend Pete in Westport, CT and later unload the pup at a family member’s home in Sturbridge, MA. From there, it will be just an hour’s drive to Fenway Park. The Fenway Park that I had last seen on the day of Game 3 of the 2004 ALCS.
The trip marks a return to Fenway Park for Pete as well, though the circumstances are substantially different. As a life-long Mets fan, he finds little reason in his adult life to travel 3 hours to Boston for a baseball game. However, he fondly remembered his last trip to Fenway as a child, more than 20 years ago. Plus, we had arranged a tee time the following day in Massachusetts. So Fenway Park it was.
The previous night, I inquired about the game’s start time, as the time was not printed on my tickets. Instead, the non-committal “TBD” appeared in the place where the time should have been. This is one of the few disadvantages of having early-printed season tickets. “I think it’s 1 p.m.” someone said. I quickly translated that statement to mean “1 p.m.” Mistake.
We parked at the Prudential Center and traversed the half-mile or so to the ballpark. Upon arrival, the scene was not what we expected. Beer trucks loaded kegs into the stadium. A few dozen people strolled down Lansdowne Street. The street vendors were invisible. Uh Oh. It was pretty clear that we were working on bad logistics. Shortly thereafter, we determined that the game was slated for a 7 p.m. start. Suddenly, we had six hours to kill. A good problem. Particularly if you’re fond of touring pubs in the middle of the day. And we are.
So off we went, in search of Newbury Street. We got off the line so quickly, in fact, that I nearly walked past the 2004 Championship banner on Yawkey Way without looking up. But for the middle-aged woman striking a pose under the banner–and her camera-clutching husband nearby–I might have missed a great moment. Looking up at the banner, all of the misery of ALCS Game 3 rushed back. Late in that game, I left my seat near left field and sauntered out to the Yawkey Way concession area for my last Fenway beer of the season. It had been a memorable year personally, as the YH hats became known nationally after several key Sox players put them on. Perhaps, I thought at the time, a desire for a happy ending was a bit gluttonous. Maybe it was time to accept Fenway Park for what it truly was at that moment: a morgue.
Back in the present, I stared up at the 2004 banner. In what felt like an out-of-body experience, I replayed the “last beer” ritual in my mind. The beer was consumed in the area just under the place where the new banner was now hanging. Let’s be honest: it took us all a while to hear the kicking inside the drawers. Certainly, the noise was not discernible during Game Three. But somewhere between the end of Game Four and the final pitch of Game Seven, we realized that something rare was happening. A magical Sox season was going to survive after all, days after its obituary had been written in the New York tabloids and wired to the rest of the world.
HORNS & TAILS
They Hate ’em in St. Louis, too! The Cardinals did their part to keep the Yanks in a tailspin this weekend, possibly inspired by the words of St. Louis columnist Kathleen Nelson. Nelson wrote a very insightful column on Friday (6/10/05) titled “10 Reasons to Hate the Yankees”. A key stat revealed in the piece: the Yankees have just six world championships since 1962, while the Boston Celtics have 11 since that time. Pretty good perspective, given that most of the punks who yap about NY’s 26 rings are younger than 43 years. NY tops Boston in the sports department? Not in their lifetime. Nelson also compares the Cardinals’ Stan Musial and the Yanks’ Joe DiMaggio (Stan is better).
YANKEESHATER.COM IN THE MEDIA: Our caps creep into Stephen King’s most-recent book, Faithful; David Ortiz cooks in his kitchen with his authentic YankeesHater.com headgear as the NESN cameras roll; and an ESPN-based Hater includes us in his anti-Yankees book, The Devil Wears Pinstripes. Read further (below)for more details.
YANKEES-HATIN’ AT ESPN: ESPN Page 2 columnist Jim Caple, a noted YH’er, unleashed his new book this week. The new book, titled The Devil Wears Pinstripes, tells it the way we like to hear it: truthfully. Excerpt: “What I find most interesting in the hate mail I receive is that the vast majority of Yankees fans simply cannot fathom the possibility that anyone could hate their team unless he or she also roots for the Red Sox…The thing is, though, people hate the Yankees everywhere…Brazilian researchers recently discovered an Indian tribe in so remote a part of the Amazon that these natives had never been exposed to western society. Although I cannot absolutely, positively voucher for this, I believe that the only words they were able to understand were “Jeter sucks.” If you’re on this website, you’ll love Caple’s book. You can order it at Amazon.com.