The message hit me kinda funny when I first got it: “Nase, it’s McKenna. Give me a call back. It’s an emergency. Call my office number if I don’t answer my phone.”
Initially, I got that little bit of trepidation in my gut, especially since I had randomly missed a phone call from another friend that I never hear from. Did something go wrong? Did something happen? As it turned out, exactly the opposite. The emergency was to ask me whether I was free Sunday night for a date with three friends two rows behind the New York Yankees dugout
as they took on Daisuke Matsusaka and the Boston Red Sox. Needless to say, my light schedule cleared quite quickly.
If you’re a Red Sox fan, I certainly don’t need to recount every detail of the experience since you already can figure it out. I will hit on a few points though, including some celebs I met later on. (See, that’s what they call a hook in the writing biz. Bore through the crap to get to the good stuff.)
*Why do the Arab cashier ladies at the Sullivan Square parking lot never seem to want to talk, not even to acknowledge that you gave them money?
*The T going into Fenway? Awesome. The T going out? Horrendous. Would it kill them to run one more train on the Orange Line?
*There isn’t a better feeling that walking down, down, down and more down to your seats for a Red Sox game. I’ve never been so close to a Sox game in my life, sitting just two rows behind the Yankees dugout. The best way to describe it is that it’s so high-def. Players go from being guys you see on TV on SportsCenter every night to actually being real, just a few short feet away from you. You could see the crispness of the uniforms, the precision-crafted effortless movements of men that have come as close to perfection of a craft as humanly possible, the purpleness of A-Rod’s lips…
*Remember Dice’s K’s first start at the Fens when a big deal was made about all of the flashbulbs going off? Well, it happened again as he battled the Yanks for the first time ever and honestly, TV doesn’t do it justice.
*Did I mention we were two rows away from the field?
*While the Yankees will always be evil in a very Soxian sense of the word, it’s interesting to note that a little guy in the first row was given two balls during the game by the dreaded Evil Empire. However, the kid didn’t look overjoyed by the fact this happened. I chalk it up more to the fact he was a Sox fan than that he was a child of affluence. Either way, I stole his Twizzlers.
*I’ve read a ton about baseball over the years, but I’ve never read a piece on when players are trained to stare right into the dugout after coming on the field. I mean, even when they glance up, it’s not like they’re actually looking at anything. I need to hear more on this.
*It was almost intimidating to be close to the Yankees that I struggled to come up with any good barbs other than to yell ‘Purple Lips’ to A-Rod. You might laugh, but seriously, it’s tough. Except for Miguel Cairo. I hate that f***in’ guy.
*I can sum up experiencing the back-to-back-to-back-to-back home runs in one single word: surreal.
*The Japanese influence surrounding Fenway is undeniable. There is Japanese lettering everywhere, program hawkers include Japanese headbands (like this one, proudly displayed by CK) with sales and there were random Japanesers (is that a word? It is now.) handing out translation cards. Nothing says Fenway like yelling out, “Auto tore, Daisuke!”
*If you had asked me two months ago if having Jonathan Papelbon leave the rotation and go back to the closer’s role was a mistake, I would say it was a mistake. After Sunday when he retired the heart of the Yankees’ order with little to no effort, I can honestly say I was an idiot.
*If I was a baseball player, I can’t figure out why anyone would NOT want to play for the Sox. Being so close to the onfield action gave me a unique perspective of exactly what these guys truly experience. With a full house, it’s like you’re in a giant cube where everyone is right on top of you observing your every move and quirk. As someone that has been a Red Sox fan for over 20 years, I can honestly say that after Sunday night, I feel I understand a little more about what’s it’s like to play at Fenway. I can see why guys that play there for the first time are in awe.
*Finally, the celebs! As myself and the three amigos parted ways, I headed into the T station to prepare for the inevitably long wait for the Orange line. I got on and waited for a few minutes when a couple boarded that I recognized. The gentleman, dressed with a certain youthful image in mind, had Slash-like hair and the lady that accompanied him sported dark red hair and equally trendy threads. He looked at the train chart and then turned to me, asking if I knew if the T went near the water (as in the Seaport). I mentioned I was from New Hampshire, so I probably wasn’t any good to ask. She then asked where I was from and I said, “Manchester.” She said, “I’m from Concord.”
I then asked, “Aren’t you Annie Duke, the poker player?” I turned to the man, “..and didn’t I see you on The Shield a few weeks ago?” I was talking with actor Joe Reitman (recently a porn shop owner on the season premiere of The Shield) and pro poker player Annie Duke, well-known as one of the top personalities in the game. We chatted for a few minutes and then, I let them be a couple. Surprisingly, they weren’t really noticed by others and I felt like I didn’t want to burden them with a conversation, despite the fact others have said I should have asked them about poker and other items. To me, I had my brush, said hello and let them go upon their business. I have my story and that’s what is important to me.
Just a few minutes afterward, one of my friends from Manchester randomly boarded the train and after the initial shock of the randomness, we had a good conversation. You never know who you’re going to find using public transportation.
In short, the entire night was one of the best nights ever. Thanks, Chris.
thanks for reading,