Wicked Smhat

Wednesday, June 30, 2010–Red Sox 4, Rays 9

In the summer of 2010, I embarked on my first international adventure, a trip that was part Shakespeare class and part “holiday” in London. That trip is a long and not alltogether happy story in itself, so I will not be writing about it here. However, it was what got me out to the east coast, because there are no Albuquerque-to-London flights. I knew I’d have to go somewhere else to “hop the pond.” Like, say, somewhere with a Major League ballpark… The way things worked out, I wound up crossing four ballparks off the list. I decided to leave from New York, but figured I didn’t have to go straight there. So, with my dad tagging along for the first leg of the trip, I went to Boston.

We walked from our guest house near the T station to the park two hours before the game. 8 blocks away, we saw the first t-shirt vendors. Four blocks away and we could hear the buzz. We walked around the stadium before going in, and were amazed by the atmosphere. It’s like a four-block-long carnival, with street vendors and live music and packed with people–and all this for a Wednesday night! Dad’s old college friends who put us up (and put up with us) our first night in Boston mailed us a newspaper clipping about people who buy tickets to games to take part in the festival, and don’t stick around for the game.

There is a seat in the right field bleachers that is painted red. This is where the longest home run ever hit at Fenway Park (502′) landed. We were six rows behind the red seat. So the action on the field was, in my dad’s words, “Far out, man.” Daisuke Matsuzaka was the starter for the Sox, opposing Matt Garza for the Rays. The game was off to an inauspicious start for the home team, Dice-k walked the bases loaded and got bailed out on a nice catch of a line drive by Mike Cameron. He was not able to work around a lead-off walk in the 4th, giving up a 2-run double to Kelly Shoppach and three runs in the inning. Meanwhile, Garza cruised through the first 7, and by the time the Sox figured him out in the 8th, the Rays had built their lead to 9-1.

The game was close until the top of the eighth, and the fans were in it to the point the ballpark seemed to be a single entity, experiencing the game. Then Jason Bartlett hit a three-run bomb and all the Bostonites (or is it “Bostonians”?) remembered they had to get to work tomorrow, leaving the ballpark nearly empty. Everyone we talked to who stayed behind were tourists, like us, come to see Fenway.

Possibly the biggest non-ballpark thrill was getting to pilot a DWCK on the Charles River. These are amphibious vehicles that drive tourists around some of “Bah-stan’s” land attractions such as the bar across the street from the cemetery where Samuel Adams was buried, “The only place in the world where you can drink a cold Sam Adams while looking at a cold Sam Adams,” before crossing over to Cambridge (where our tourguide instructed us in the proper pronunciation of the population, “wicked smaht”) and driving into the Charles River.

From there, he turned the wheel over to anybody on board who wanted to “Drive a Duck,” and after a 5-year-old and a 70-year-old each had a turn, I decided to go for it. (I’ll be honest, they were giving out stickers, and I wanted one to go on top of my laptop.) After telling our guide where I was from and wherefore I was in Boston, Dad outed me and said it was off to Yankee Stadium next, information that was soon relayed through the PA to the rest of my shipmates. I was hearing about it until we were back on dry land. Thanks a lot, dad.

Here’s the scorecard.