Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Renegades-Spinners at Fenway Park - Part 1 (Pregame)

(Sean Ford and Rob Adams - photo by Harold)

OK, let's get it out of the way. Here's the deal: I'm a baseball fan. No, I'm a Baseball Historian (the caps make it look more official). I'm a Yankees fan, for sure, but I'm a baseball fan (and Historian) first and foremost. While, by nature, I don't like the Red Sox, I appreciate their fans and history and most of all, their ballpark.

With all of that being said, I will go almost anywhere to call a game (just ask my WGCH colleagues about the places we've worked), and will do just about anything to get a game on the air (note to Ricky - remember the game at Hopkins...or Riverdale?). If I'm asked to call a game at Shea Stadium (God forbid), then I'll do it. Are we clear now?

OK...onto Fenway Park.

I picked up my good buddy Harold, who would be serving as my "producer" for the two-day excursion into New England and we set off on our three-hour drive to The Hub (aka Boston). In fact, we made such great time that, even with some traffic near Bristol Connecticut, a bathroom break, and walking the wrong way after parking, we were still at Fenway Park around 9:30 - just a mere 3:30 after leaving Lake Carmel.

Sean Ford met us at the Absolut Club (a special area for certain guests) and we set off to the booth with media credentials around our necks (don't you love it when a plan comes together?). After a few stumbles figuring out which booth was ours (Booth E) and hooking up the equipment, we were ready to broadcast the game between our own Hudson Valley Renegades and the Lowell Spinners. It was game one of "Futures at Fenway", an abolutely brilliant idea that should be embraced by other teams.

Then Harold got to see first-hand the magic of the media credential, as we asked how to get to the field, walked down thourhg the stands, and with a little "ready?" to him, opened the gate and stepped out onto the same turf that Babe Ruth won a World Series on in 1918. It had the same magic as the first time I stepped onto the field at Yankee Stadium in 2003. Yet before we could have fun, I had work to do. I met with Gades manager Joe Alvarez and interviewed him in the visitors' dugout.

Now, just pause for a moment here. I had never interviewed Joe, yet here I was. Talking with him. In the dugout. At Fenway Park. The same dugout that the Yankees use.

We're talking crazy stuff.

After our chat with Joe (who is just a world-class guy), we paused for a moment to take it all in. Was this for real? Were we really allowed to go into the Green Monster?
Yes, we were.

We walked everywhere. Through the Monster (where I found the 55 plate that is used on the scoreboard and had my picture take with it), around the warning track, past the Pesky Pole, back to the dugouts, up to the Monster Seats and Pavilion before working our way through the closed-off areas (behind the ropes) to the press box.

Remarkable, wild stuff.

We had lunch ($5 for unlimited hot dogs, Caesar salad, drinks and other goodies) and settled in for the call of the game. It seemed unreal to me that I was about call a game from Fenway Park, but the countdown was on.

We'll do this in a couple of parts. Up next...the game.

No comments: