Thursday, September 04, 2008

Peanuts and Crackerjacks

WELL yesterday it actually happened... I got in to see the Red Sox play. It was an absolutely sweltering day and we were stuck out in the early afternoon sun in the bleachers. It was a good view, though, and we were treated to an exciting game which the Sox won 5-4 against the Orioles after coming from 4-0 down to steal it in the last inning.
First, though, we went to the Cask N Flagon, a bar claiming to be the second best in all of Baseball (only second?) and had a couple of beers and the biggest plate of nachos you've ever seen, complete with Guacamole and chilli. Terrific and real value for money. Our waiter, too, was a star in the way he served everybody's needs quickly and with a smile on his face even though the bar was rammed full. It was a superb atmosphere and after the nachos we went on to the new Bleachers Bar right by our entrance, where we got our first look at the ground. You could see the players warming up through a window and the ground was already starting to fill. This was, according to the stats, the 455th consecutive time that Fenway has sold out, tying the baseball record.
For the baseball enthusiasts out there, the game didn't start according to plan with a run being taken off pitcher Matzuazaka's first inning. The score remained 1-0 and we went out to tour around at the bottom of the second. The hot dog stalls and other food outlets make the mouth water but having already had nachos we resisted going for some Fenway Franks and settled for ice cream. There was also a big area for smoking out on the street behind home plate.
Oh, souvenirs. I bought a new baseball cap with Fenway 1901 on it and a Dustin Pedroia t shirt as the little genius is the man of the moment and Boston fans are almost demanding that he be made MVP.
He proved himself again in this game when the Sox were down 4-0, smashing the only homer of the game over the green monster. It sparked a recovery which took us to the final inning where two bunts, one by Coco Crisp and the other by Jacoby Ellsbury got Alex Cora home for the winning run.
In the eighth inning the Boston crowd erupting into singing Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond which, for some reason, is their song. It's not quite Good Night Irene but it will do for now. We also enjoyed the Seventh inning stretch and the singing of Take Me Out to the Ballpark, which I have learnt is the third most sung song in America after the Star Spangled Banner and Happy Birthday. Jeez, don't these Yanks have anything better to sing?

Last night we took a T train over to MIT and walked back down Massachusetts Avenue, popping into the Middle East bar, where they had a live belly dancer and live bands upstairs. We then walked back over the bridge and followed Commonwealth Avenue down to Kenmore Square (we always seem to end up here) and found a good boozer called Cornwalls which was serving late and had tables with ashtrays outside (it was just like being outside the Yard, but warmer and less wet!).
On our way home we found a local bar, I think it was called Beacon Street Tavern, and walked in to hear The Clash blaring out. I settled down at the bar with a Bloody Mary while Wren enjoyed a Vodka and Coke and, to my pleasure, they played the entire London Calling. I had to ask the barman if he was a Clash fan. "Not particularly, I was just in the mood."
How could I resist?
"Do you know I met Joe Strummer once?" I proudly announced. "It was in a bar in Stoke on Trent..."
"Yeah, that must have been cool," he said disinterestedly.
Oh, well, I tried.

Big thanks to the Bevan Boy for getting me onto the Stereophonics guest list for Friday's gig at the Paradise. Last night's mammoth walk was in order to find the club, only to learn that it was about 10 minutes from our hotel. Cheers, mate, much appreciated.

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