Yesterday a friend of mine said this of the game of baseball, “It seems that baseball passion is not really baseball at all. It is passed from parent to child as an expression of the relationship with your father…..” Well, that set me to thinking and when it is all said and done that nails it right on the proverbial head! And it nails it with gusto!
I thought of my first Opening Day at Fenway Park and that came in 1966. I was 13 years old and I went to the game with this guy.
He’s my big brother and he didn’t look like this then. He was 18 years old and he had just volunteered for the draft and would soon be off to serve his country.
Frank Robinson, Baltimore Orioles 1966 Triple Crown winner and MVP.
That day we watched this guy’s first American League at bat and he was plunked by this guy.
Earl Wilson the Red Sox Opening Day pitcher in 1966.
Who just happens to be one of my all time favorite Red Sox, but that’s another story for another day. The Red Sox lost that day on a 13th inning balk and today that doesn’t matter a lick. What matters is I went to my first Opening Day at Fenway and I went with my big brother.
Living in Florida since 1986 has precluded me from attending Opening Day for a while and the last time I did it was 2004. I went with my big brother. The pre-game celebration included a remembrance of Tony Conigliaro’s Fenway Park debut 40 years earlier.
The 19-year-old kid, who was a Bostonian, homered in his first Fenway Park at bat.
We watched the Red Sox lose to Toronto that day but that didn’t matter a lick. What matters is that I went to Opening Day at Fenway and I went with my big brother.
My big brother and I became Red Sox season ticket holders in 1971. Through the 70s we went to a number of Fenway Openers together. We went to the 1975 playoffs and we shared the 1975 World Series sitting side by side.
The years passed and life took us down our separate paths. He kept his tickets and yesterday as Fenway Park kicked off her 100th birthday celebration, my big brother attended his 40th Fenway Park Opening Day. He has missed but one since 1971, a rain-soaked event which he passed on to his youngest son. For forty years my big brother has been present when Fenway unveiled her season!
He was there yesterday,
When Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield threw out the first pitch.
When Johnny Pesky was lovingly helped on to the field.
When the Red Sox and Rays lined the field to welcome Fenway Park’s 100th birthday season.
When the “Green Mountain Boys” stopped by in their F-16s.
My big brother went to his 40th Opening Day at Fenway and he watched the Red Sox pummel the Tampa Bay Rays 12-2. But that didn’t matter a lick. What matters is;
He went to Opening Day at Fenway with his youngest son.
So my friend Brian hit it right on the proverbial head and he hit it with gusto, but I might add, it father’s and sons and it’s brothers too.
My big brother went to his 40th Opening Day at Fenway yesterday and his Dad would be proud, he’d be proud that he took his little brother to so many of them and prouder still that on this particularly special opener, he took his son!
And so it is at this time in Fenway Park history, the 100th birthday opener, April 13th 2012.