Saturday, September 22, 2007

Fenway fun

Went to Boston last weekend to visit Fenway Park. The evil Yankees were in town, so it felt like the full meal deal--historic ballpark, historic rivalry, and so on. It was quite fun, actually, or as much fun as going to a new city by yourself can be. (Yes, flew solo on this one.)

Got in quite late Friday, so just checked into my hotel and called it a (very long) day. The next morning, rode the subway (or the "T," I guess they call it) to Government Station, a stop on the Freedom Trail. I didn't walk the entire Trail, simply visited Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market. It was raining and I was a bit tired, so I didn't do anything more ambitious than that. (It also seemed quite touristy and so not as intriguing as I'd supposed.)

I was starting to worry that the game would be rained out or delayed at this point. I got a to-go order of some kind of Greek phyllo/spinach/feta pie thing for lunch and caught the T back to Fenway. The ballpark opened two hours before game time, and skies were still cloudy by then but no rain was falling. The road that runs along the third base side of the park, Yawkey Way, is fenced off as one giant party on game day, with food, beverages, entertainment, etc. Feasting on a Fenway Frank and a Sam Adams Octoberfest draft, I wandered around for awhile, taking pictures, before finally heading to my seat about 20 minutes before first pitch.

Sitting there for a while, I watched all the various vendor guys--selling cotton candy, cokes and water, peanuts, pretzels, hotdogs, hot chocolate, and even clam chowder--before it slowly dawned on me.

There were no beer guys.

That's when I finally realized that all beer sold at Fenway is draft. This is obviously a good thing, since draft is often better, but at the same time it represented a wee problem.

Like I would have to walk all the way back down to the main level to get another beer.

I did make the trek once, but found myself too lazy to go again. So, Fenway, my liver thanks you.

The Red Sox ended up kicking the Yankees' butts that day, 10-1. Perhaps because of that, all in attendance seemed to be well-behaved, no shouting matches, fights, etc. The weather cleared off and was simply beautiful, and in fact almost a bit chilly for someone used to temps in the 90's. Took the T to the airport the next day, settled in on my plane with a good Michael Crichton novel, and drove home after an uneventful flight into Houston, tired but with lots of great pictures and memories.

Monday, September 03, 2007


Attention, Astros fans. As you may have noticed last week, the Astros now have a new manager. Oh, and GM too. Drayton McLane decided that the club needed new "direction" and "enthusiasm." Or something.

So, Purpura and Garner are out. I was glad to see Purpura go, I always though he was in over his head but somehow didn't seem to have enough sense to realize it. Or maybe, he realized it, but had too much pride to ask for help. Garner, on the other hand, got a bit of a raw deal in my opinion. The manager can only do so much, and the players have to do the rest, and they haven't been doing it. Whatever "it" is. Meh.

Anyway, I did also sort of think that Garner had been phoning it in for a while. I don't know if he had something going on in his personal life, or if he just saw the writing on the wall. Or perhaps he just grew weary of trying to motivate this group of players, who knows.

The new manager--unfortunately burdened with a label--is Cecil Cooper. And the label I'm talking about is "interim." (You thought I was going to go to the race card, didn't you?) On the one hand I can see, at this point in the season, not making any firm commitments to a new manager and to use the remaining games to familiarize the club with the style of the potential new hire. On the other hand, Coop has been put into a difficult situation. The Astros have just not played like a good team this year, and I doubt he can really change that in a month. But say they pull off one of their crazy runs again--will Coop get the credit, or will the owner simply say that he expected the turnaround anyway?

I personally am very excited that Cecil Cooper is the new manager, and I hope he gets to keep the job. There are two reasons for this: first of all, he is reputedly a very good baseball guy, and secondly, I think he's hot. Yes, as a fan I'm grasping at straws here, but I want to have SOMETHING over the other NL Central clubs. I mean, Tracy's okay I guess, haven't really seen Mackanin, but compared with Piniella, Yost, and La Genius, Coop is George Clooney (hope he's not insulted by the comparison! [Coop, I mean]).

Enough of that. In other news, additional changes are deemed necessary. I have decided to pick a different favorite player this year. Having studied my history with this particular designation, I think a change is appropriate. Let me elaborate. In 2005, my favorite player was Morgan Ensberg. He subsequently flamed out and is no longer with the club. In 2006, my favorite player was Mike Lamb. He has been informed that he will remain in a bench role, despite having shown that he should be a starter, and so will be gone next year to free agency. My favorite player this year was Adam Everett. He freakin' breaks his leg and may not be back before the season is over. So, in light of these developments, by new favorite player is: Chris Burke.

Good luck, dude. You're gonna need it (heheheheheh!).