With a few days to calm down after the Red Sox weekend debacle against the New York Yankees, I’ve been able to consume a ton of content surrounding the 100 year anniversary of Fenway Park. Being a Massachusetts native now living in NYC, I have to make an effort to find everything great about the Red Sox. The NYC newspapers openly mock my team, so I can’t take a trip to the store to grab a 30 page spread about how awesome Fenway is.
For a large part, I rely on the Sons of Sam Horn. They’ve become my home away from home for the better part of 5 years. I visited the site for years before then, but it wasn’t until I moved away from Boston that I relied heavily on it to feed my needs.
There are a few members who have amazing photography skills, and some attended the events leading up to the 100 year event. This thread has some great photos and stories about players of years gone by. Perhaps my favorite story involves Harley Hisner.
85 year old Harley Hisner attended the 100 year anniversary of Fenway Park. He made exactly 1 appearance in the major leagues. He started the last game of the 1951 season for the Red Sox against the Yankees. Though he took the L on the day, he faced a lineup of 5 future Hall of Famers and struck out Mickey Mantle twice! He also had a hit in 2 ABs to secure a career .500 batting average.
This guy may have never even been to Fenway Park. He never played there, as the last game was away in New York. He might be the player with the most interesting playing time that made the trip to Fenway. A quick look at the official list of players that returned shows guys like Ed Phillips, John Lickert(Moonlight Graham-esque), and perhaps most famous for being the obscure ‘other’ Martinez on the 2004 Red Sox, Anastacio Martinez.
Overall, I think the Red Sox did a great job with the event. Millar and Pedro’s return made me think about the impossibly awesome era of 2003-2007. I’ve heard from people that the current crop of players aren’t as likeable as the Pedro/Millar/early Pedroia/Beckett group. I think it has some to do with the players, but I think it has more to do with the improbable becoming the possible, the reality, the actuality.
The 2003 team was classic Red Sox, folding at the end. The 2004 team changed everything, and I think that ‘everything’ includes the feeling of dread. This team’s monkey is off its back, for better or worse. Part of that ‘worse’ part is the expectations of being awesome, with characters who back up their attitudes.
That being said, I think the 2012 team has plenty of characters that can be well liked. They just need a chance to show it. Count me as one of the believers in the team that utterly shat the bed this weekend. If they don’t turn it around, hopefully it’ll be hilariously awful. Either way, I’ll be watching.