I found out that the Sox have seven all-stars in the Monday morning Boston Globe,
which I had to drive six miles to buy. And I heard Manny Ramirez tie
the game in the 8th inning with a home run on Tuesday night via a
small, black transistor radio, the AM station maddeningly fading in and
out during the most crucial pitches of the game.
vacation deep in the woods of Northern New England in a non-winterized
cabin that has a section 25 sign hanging from the rafters
(commemorating my family’s favorite standing-room-only location).
Without Internet, cell phone, or TV access, following the
Red Sox is a whole different ball game up here. Down in Boston, it’s
all about NESN and your
couch. You watch the pre-game show, you watch
the game with Remy and Orsillo, and you fall asleep either during or
right after the post-game show. The sports sections in the morning
papers are read more out of habit than anything else, and few new
nuggets show up there that weren’t shared by Tom Caron, Eck, Lou
Merloni, or Kathryn Tappen on Sportsdesk after the game.
But up here
in the woods, following the Sox is all about two things: 1) Getting
good reception on your radio (and having a backup station that carries
the Sox in case your #1 choice fades out), and 2) Driving to the
nearest gas station soon after waking up in the morning to buy the
Boston papers, and hoping they’ve been delivered to the gas station
before you get there, and then hoping that the late scores made it into the local editions.
When I’m in a
remote place like this, it seems like a miracle when I can find the
game on the radio. There’s something about hearing the familiar voice
of Joe Castiglione crackling over the airwaves that gives me goosebumps
and plasters a big old smile on my face. And I get the feeling that Joe
KNOWS he’s broadcasting all the way up here to my distant location, that
he KNOWS how important his responsibility is: to bring the pictures of
the game to life for all of us fans who are stranded miles and miles
from Fenway Park (or even from a town with a stop light).
And reading The Boston Globe and The Boston Herald
sports sections takes on a whole new meaning when I’m up here. Driving
to the nearest gas station at dawn to buy the newspapers
is as much a
part of my morning routine as a cup of coffee. It’s pure joy when I see
the pile of crisp Globes and Heralds sitting there next
to the counter as I walk in the gas station convenience store’s door.
The cash register lady charges me a buck-fifty for the pair, and I’m
grateful that she has no idea she could charge me twenty bucks. Sitting
in my car in front of the gas station reading about the Red Sox, and
the box scores of other games, is truly one of the day’s highlights.
I do love
this “information era,” where news comes at us moments after it has
occurred and we can follow every baseball game simultaneously on Baseball Tonight,
ESPN.com, or MLBtv. I mean, I REALLY love the information era. But for
this Boston baseball fan, there’s a singular pleasure that comes from
getting away from TV and the Internet (and the chattering
argumentativeness of our sports radio talk shows) and being a baseball
fan in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by trees at the end of a
mile-long dirt road.
I guess it forces me to become an even more active
fan. Listening to the games on the radio requires more attention and
involvement that watching the TV. Every three minutes, the radio voice
of Castiglione or O’Brien or Arnold rises in excitement and we all yell
Shhhhhhhhh! and lean our heads towards the radio, holding our
breath, “seeing” the game in our heads and hanging on the announcer’s
every word. Likewise, gleaning information and analysis from the
NESN pre-game and post-game shows – or from the newspaper sitting on your
front step — is passive compared to the deliberate act of driving six miles to the newspaper store and the active process of reading Masserotti’s and Shaughnessy’s and Ryan’s columns – I mean, really reading and savoring them, in the same way one would savor a hot meal cooked over a campfire after hiking 20 miles in the rain.
like I came all the way up to this cabin in the woods to enjoy the
sublime experience of following the Red Sox in the “old school” way.
did I post this blog article if I’m disconnected in the north woods?
The public library across the street from the local gas station has
wireless Internet access…. as I write this, it’s nighttime and the
library is closed… I’m parked on the street in front of the library,
listening to the Diamondbacks-Nationals game on the radio, heading into
the 11th inning…. it’s an off-night for the Red Sox, and the A.M.
signal from D.C. is strong ….)
To download the songs, “I’m A Member of Red Sox Nation” and “Opening Day” for free, please visit my other blog, Crawdaddy Cove.