Friday, October 03, 2008

Planes, trains, automobiles and baseball: Chapter 1

Looking back on what I have started calling "Baseball Odyssey 2008," I now realize that it was a once-in-a-lifetime gig, and that I didn't take enough pictures (I took over 700, yet still that ended up not being enough). I had a great time going places I've never been and eating/drinking things I've never consumed/imbibed, but there's one thing that I can't quite reckon with: Why didn't we just stay in upstate NY? There's plenty of homes for sale...

Anyway. Just as an overview, it went like this: Tusday morning we left D/FW International Airport for Boston. After two days in Boston we left via Amtrak headed to NYC. After three days in NYC we headed to Albany via Amtrak, rented a car at Albany International Airport and drove to Cooperstown, NY. After three and a half days in Cooperstown, we drove back to Albany and departed from Albany Int. to Chicago O'Hare for a (woefully unavoidable) three-hour layover, and then departed Chicago for D/FW.

Now, We left for Boston from D/FW on Tuesday Sept. 9, the fucking day before Hurricane Ike decided to wipe Galveston off the Texas Gulf Coast and shortly after Hurricane Gustav gave Baton Rouge, La., a run for its money. So, needless to say, there was a lot of stormy weather on the coast. Also, with stormy weather comes bumpy flights. Did I mention that Dave doesn't fly all to well. He took a Xanax before we took off, but I still have some slight bruises on my thigh from where he was gripping my leg like it was the only thing keeping him in the plane.

So we land in Boston, ditch our stuff at the hotel after a rather hot and unpleasant subway ride, hop on another subway headed toward the government district area thingy (near city hall) only to find the warm, sunny weather we encountered upon landing in Boston had all the sudden turned into this:


Seriously, in this picture the rain is actually coming down sideways. So, I think to myself, "Self, you've got a new bag on and nothing to keep you dry other than the fleece jacket you just happened to grab before leaving the hotel. You're wearing clogs and long pants, too. You're going to be soaked. Why not wait it out a bit, hm?"

So we waited, at least until I couldn't stand the hunger any longer and the rain at least wasn't nearly so horizontal. We made a mad dash for the Union Oyster House, huddled in a booth and had the best clam chowder I've ever tasted, some oysters on the half shell, and we split some kind of fish casserole that was pretty tasty.

While we're both filling up on good food and the freshest Sam Adams I've ever had, we asked the waitress if the rain is going to clear in time for the Red Sox/Rays game. She said, "Oh yeah, of cowahse. This is nahthin'!" If I've learned anything from my travels, it's trust the locals. I'll be damned if it didn't clear up just before game time. There was a little sprinkling during one of the middle innings, just before the seventh-inning stretch, too, but it was nothing since we were sitting under the covered portion of the grandstands, which happens to be one of the best places to watch the Sox play.


Here, you see the beginnings of my vacation sock. I pretty much took it everywhere, and had it almost finished by the time we touched down back in Dallas. Is it shameful that it took me almost a full week to finish one sock? Maybe, but I don't care. Every time I put on these socks (once they're done, of course) I'm going to be reminded that one of them has been on a journey with me. Pretty cool!

So, our first night in Boston was pretty great, with the exception of the fact that the Sox lost and that it rained. It was Fenway Park, really, that puts you in a good mood no matter what the game's outcome. That ballpark seems alive. Or perhaps it's the fans that make it seem that way. Whether a favorable call, a base hit, as run on a sac fly or the amazing homerun that Jason Bay hit off of the Green Monster while we were there, the people around you, these complete strangers, are there to cheer and to celebrate and to watch this great game with you. From the press box to the box seats, Sox fans make Fenway Park breathe. They give it a voice of its own. It's like nothing I've ever seen.


Next Post, Day two in Boston...


MattJ said...

Sounds like an awesome trip! I think you even make the baseball sound bearable! :p

Now that the pre-election election is over, and the post pre-election election shenanigans are all but over, how are you enjoying the pre-election play-off debates?

It's all gone a bit mental what with McCain recruiting the Ayrian Motherhood as a running mate! What do you think will happen during the main event?

Is it wrong that I am more interested in AMerican politics that UK politics?

Olivia said...

Hey you finally got around to chronicling your trip. You did a lot in just a week, I keep feeling like it was longer because of all the jetting about you did.

I wonder, is Boston going to lose Fenway Park as the NYers have lost both Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium this summer?

And how did you like riding Amtrak? I'd love to do it one day.

Jo said...

Matt: Oh No! I so do not want to talk politics here! Seriously! I've heard about as much politics and economic policy as I can stand for a decade. (But, I'm not fond of Sarah Palin, but I was shocked that she didn't fall on her face during the debate on Thursday, and I have to give her props for that, considering how inexperienced she is.)

Liv: It was a long type of trip, when you count the miles we covered and the modes of transportation we used. I'll write more about Amtrak in future posts. I think I'm going to have to break the trip up into three or four chapters!

Anonymous said...

vacation sock!! you are way more motivated than i am! i cant even manage to knit while watching tv! lol

Anonymous said...

psst... you just got an award!

and you need an update asap!

MattJ said...

I am slowly coming round you know? Absolutely everything about baseball is appealing to me, with the exception of the sport itself lol!