Saturday, September 10, 2011
In my mind the arguable beginning of the life's work that has become Baseball Byways was a game at Fenway Park on September 9, 2001. Rob and I and our wives all lived in Brooklyn then, but we met in Boston and then drove back home together just in time for a lovely and uneventful autumn.
It doesn't take much to see that my memories are a little off. In actuality, the Sox played in the Bronx on September 9; the game we saw was on September 6, in which the Cleveland Indians built up a five-run lead over the first seven innings and hung on to win 6–4. We sat in the right-field corner, right up against the alley that separates the grandstand from the bleachers.
The Indians were on their way to an AL Central championship and a five-game exit from the playoffs at the hands of the Seattle Mariners. This was during what was has come to seem like a golden era in Indians history, with Kenny Lofton, Jim Thome, and new Hall of Famer and T-shirt thief Roberto Alomar in the lineup, along with the still active Omar Vizquel, who was a spritely 34 at the time. The Red Sox, in contrast, were mired in the Jose Offerman era, fielding such luminaries as Trot Nixon, Shea Hillenbrand, and mixed-martial-arts practitioner Izzy Alcantara.
That game counts as the birth of Baseball Byways partly because it was first time Rob and I saw a game outside of New York together, but more significantly because it was on this trip that Rob said, "You know, if you planned it right, you could see five baseball games in a weekend trip from New York: a Friday-night game and a Saturday day game in Connecticut, a Sunday-afternoon game in Boston, and maybe the PawSox on the way home."
"Hmm," I said.
Rob continued, "Or you could go south, into New Jersey and down to Philadelphia or even Baltimore!"
"OK, Rob," said his future ex-wife.
"No, no, I like this idea," I said. "Let's think about it for next year."