I’ve always liked Baseball, there’s something pure about it.
Of course it’s mired in controversy with the issue of performance enhancing drugs and if you want to look for something negative in anything you will find it, but I still like it.
I just finished watching the film “Field of dreams” and that film spoke to me, in fact, it freaked me out.
I’ve never seen the film before, so why now? Coincidence. Perhaps but perhaps not.
I’m currently at a crossroads in my life. I’ve always dreamed of living in America and there’s always been a connection, a past that unites me with the country.
Watching Kevin Costner aka Ray Kinsella as he drove around in the VW van that I’ve always dreamed of owning, picking up a writer – the passion I have always wanted to follow and seeing no one else get what he was trying to achieve apart from a select few, I felt a kinship. I’ve even also been blessed to find a girl in my life who puts up with my nonsensical flights of fancy.
Don’t worry I’m not going to buy a farm in Iowa – although if you want to hire me to work in America, we can talk – this is purely a metaphor all be it a scarily accurate one.
My gran passed recently, I thought back to so much of the time we spent together but one moment came to mind today.
When I told her of my love of American sports she just smiled knowingly and said “it doesn’t surprise me, it’s in your blood.”
No one really quite got me like my gran.
When I asked her what she meant, she explained that she had worked at Goodison – the stadium of Everton, our home town rivals – and that she had watched the American soldiers play when they came over during the war. She explained to me how much she loved watching the game and that’s why she wasn’t surprised I’d picked up the bug.
I never really loved baseball until last year though. Why last year? Because I got to see what Baseball really is and it’s magic.
A friend of mine who had a link to the Red Sox (thanks James) arranged for myself and another friend (she live’s in Connecticut and is more like the sister I never had, love you Naomi) to go to a Red Sox game.
I’d dreamed of visiting a ballpark and Wrigley and Fenway were top of the list.
As I say, I follow a lot of North American sports and I’ve been lucky enough to also go to see Jets v Patriots at Metlife and while it was amazing to see Tom Brady and something I certainly didn’t take for granted, it wasn’t in the same stratosphere when you compare the two as a whole.
As I walked down Yawkee way, I didn’t get it. It looked pretty modern and a bit forced for my liking. I mean it’s cool and that’s how they do things and fair play to them but it wasn’t what I was expecting but then I got to Fenway and as soon as I was inside, I got it.
I didn’t even have to get to my seat and I got it. You could feel the history of the place, all I could imagine was people from the 1900’s onwards who had been where I was and how much it meant to them, it was a privilege.
I didn’t want to take my seat, I wanted to walk around the entire ballpark and soak it all in. Obviously that wasn’t an option so I took in a few of the odes to the past on the walls, got myself a “Fenway Frank” and a “soda” and then made my way to my seat just left of home plate.
Fenway Park is a site to behold. I get that it needed to be renovated but man, how I wish I could have been there “back in the day” without all the comforts, if only just once.
I could look past the electronic scoreboard (although at times it was useful) and imagine what it would have been like to be a part of this stunning testament to a bygone age.
I heard the calls for beer and dogs and other assorted fayre, I know some people don’t like this but those smells and shouts actually added to the experience for me. Before anyone had even stepped up to the plate, I was in love with this experience.
Then it happened, the first home run I had ever seen live.
Edwin Encarnacion back at Fenway park – 2 outs, 0-2 count with a runner at second – crushed the ball to left field way back and over the green monster it flew for a 2 run homer. A stunned silence.
The reply came in the fourth inning when JD Martinez managed a base hit to right on a 1-2 count and the “Sawx” were on the board.
The Red Sox tied it in the fourth as with no one on base Xander Bogaerts facing an 0-1 count created an almost carbon copy of Encarnacion’s shot in the first and sent the ball way back over the monster.
I won’t give you the play by play, it wasn’t close and ended 10-4 Red Sox in the end with Matt Barnes picking up the win and Carrasco the loss.
I took in the seventh inning stretch but we had to leave soon after as my friend had other commitments, we both wanted to stay but sometimes life gets in the way and I was so grateful that she had taken the time out to be with me on what was such a special day in my life. Even the journey there and back using my “Charlie” ticket and seeing all the fans travelling to the game, it just filled me with joy.
The score didn’t matter, I mean it was good to have those around you happy, none more so than my friend, but what mattered to me was that I was a part of something that thousands upon thousands before me had been part of.
Generations upon generations had known that feeling of excitement of going to their first ball game. The sights, the sounds, the smells, there’s truly nothing quite like it.
For me it’s more than a sport, it’s a living breathing entity a beating heart of America, it might not have the speed of hockey, the popularity of American Football or the worldwide appeal of “soccer” but it’s something I loved, I love and will love forever more.
Happy opening day 2019.
Feel free to take me out to the ball game, any time you want.