Monday, April 6, 2009

Opening Day

At last, today is opening day for the Red Sox (and most of baseball, for that matter). For the next six months, hardly a day will go by without a baseball game on.

I know this has nothing to do with being a caregiver, but I have been waiting since last October for today, so thought it worth a mention.

I'm not quite sure why I'm an avid baseball fan (also very interested in professional football). As a kid, we didn't participate much in organized sports in school nor watch/attend sporting events of any kind. Family activities usually centered around all the work outside that needed doing, such as working my father's huge garden or planting Christmas trees or forest maintenance (you get the picture).

Like all of New England (I suspect), I did pay attention to the Red Sox in the post-season of 1967 when they lost the World Series in 7. I can remember us stopping class (I was in the 7th grade) to listen to parts of the game on the transistor radio one of the boys in class had brought in. So, I learned early how much the Red Sox can crush your spirit! :-)

The next time I really paid any attention to professional sports was in 1981 when the Celtics ended up winning the championship. Somehow, I came upon the epic series against the 76ers that preceded the finals (as I recall) and I got hooked. Watched the Celtics religiously all through the Bird/McHale/Parish/Johnson/Ainge era. Especially loved the seasons where Bill Walton played with them. Guess I was a fair-weather fan as I stopped watching them when the team really started to stink.

Had always been aware of the Red Sox. Went to my first game at Fenway in 1967. Went to college a few blocks from Fenway Park but only went to one game during my college years and didn't watch the World Series in 1975 that occurred during that time. Got back into them in 1986 in the run up to the World Series, so suffered enormously with all other Red Sox fans when the ball rolled between Bill Buckner's feet and they gave away the Series. I blame that game not on him though. Instead, I blame Roger Clemens, Calvin Schiraldi and the manager (what was Buckner doing in the game at that point? They needed some defense).

In 2004, we decided to try out some of the handicapped-accessible seating at Fenway and discovered the pleasures of sunny Sunday afternoons at the ball park. We try to go a few times a year, though tickets are very expensive. And, due to the heat, we only go early or late in the season. There is a lot of seating around the park for wheelchair users, some of it great. In 2004, we sat in the monster seats (sub-optimal for wheelchairs, oh well), in the front row on the first base side next to the ball boy (these are the ultimate wheelchair seats IMO), and some terrible seats down by the Pesky pole where visbility is continuously obscured by those walking to and fro and whenever folks stand up. Since then, we've also tried the right field roof box, where you can get a table that seats 5 with waitress service, and also high up in the grandstand along the first base side, where you can buy more than only the wheelchair + companion tickets. For opening day 2005, when they gave out the World Series rings, we had seats in the front row of the bleachers, just behind the two bullpens. The great thing about all these seats is that, except for Yankees games, you pretty much have availability all throughout the season.

All in all, I am really looking forward to this year's baseball season. At 2pm today, we get underway.

Play Ball!

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