7.31.2009

the boston report

jos1 scoreboard


We had a great little trip to Boston, marred only by the outcome of the baseball games. The Red Sox split a series with the Oakland A's, winning two games and losing two. Did they have to lose the two games we saw?

The first loss - the Joy of Sox gathering game - was particularly brutal, as the Sox were ahead and should have had the game well in hand, but our once-great closer blew the lead. The Sox lost 9-8 in 11 innings.

The second game was no picnic either. On the first pitch of the game, an Oakland hitter smashed a home run, and it was downhill from there. By the time the Sox came up to bat, they were already down 5-0. They clawed their way back, but too little, too late, and ended up losing 8-6.

Our first time at Fenway in four years, and who knows when the next time will be, and we see two losses. That's baseball for ya.

Other than that... It was amazingly wonderful and wonderfully amazing to meet in person good friends who we've known online through Joy of Sox, and for all of us to attend a game together. Allan and I had some surprises for the group - a commemorative program we made, and a Joy of Sox crossword puzzle made by another gamethreader, plus the group's name on the scoreboard (above).

Many of us gathered at a pub before the game, then some of us also went out after the game. We were all really happy. I hope it's the first of many games we attend together.

We also did a little walking and exploring in Boston, which we haven't done for a decade or so. From our hotel near Fenway Park, we walked down to the Charles River, across to the Cambridge side, down along the river, then back over to Beacon Hill, through Back Bay, and back to the hotel.

Time was, I would have brought along a guide of some sort, and checked out various architecture and landmarks along the way, something I like to do in whatever city we're in. But either I've been too busy or I've gotten lazy, as I'm much less inclined to do that kind of planning anymore. This may be a fallout of the constant information overload of the internet age: when we take a walk, I don't want mental stimulation, I want mental relaxation.

On the Cambridge side, however, I noticed we were passing MIT, and suddenly remembered there is a Frank Gehry building on the MIT campus, long on my list of things to see. We wandered onto the campus with no idea where to go, and the building practically appeared in front of us. I was all kinds of pleased with myself. It's the Stata Center: some online pics here, here, here and here. There also seems to be an abundance of public art on the MIT campus: in a few minutes, we passed sculptures by Henry Moore, Alexander Calder and Louise Nevelson.

The only reason this walk was pleasant - or even bearable - was its proximity to the river. It was very hot and humid, and as soon as we ventured a bit inland on the Boston side, we were collapsing. After resting a bit on Boston Common - the oldest park in the US, and one of the oldest settled places in North America - we continued on. We stopped at the Boston Public Library just to take a peek in and grab some air conditioning, but stumbled on an exhibit of old area maps, and spent a while with that. Old maps rock.

On the way back towards the hotel, we stumbled on something even more welcome: a lovely bistro, nearly empty, with very cold air conditioning. A cold glass of Reisling, chilled asparagus soup and rosemary-garlic frites, and I was much better. Back at the hotel, we needed showers and a nap before the game.

On our drive home, we learned David Ortiz's name is on "the steroid list" and the Toronto city workers won their battle, pending approval by the Toronto city council. It's also a big day for baseball fans: trade deadline day. I'm still catching up. See you later.

20 comments:

L-girl said...

Many thanks to Amy and JohnGoldfine for the Boston tips! Your advice was perfect and gave us a great day.

L-girl said...

JohnGF, the only thing we missed on that walk you suggested was the drink at the Ritz. We were just too sweaty and disheveled. Next time!

John F said...

I've been meaning to ask you this for a while: how did you become a Sox fan? I understand from reading your blog that you were a lifelong New Yorker before moving to TO. What attracted you to the Sox over the Mets or the Yankees?

L-girl said...

John F, that's an excellent question. But you're missing a key piece of information: I was a rabid Yankees fan for most of my life, from when I got into baseball as a teenager in 1975 until 2003.

For more than 18 years of our relationship, my partner and I were on opposite sides of the greatest rivalry in US sports - and both serious, diehard fans.

In the summer of 2003, I experienced a strange conversion. Some would say exorcism, or perhaps enlightenment. Or fall from grace, depending on your perspective.

I fell out of love with the Yankees, and I'm on my second marriage, to the Red Sox.

More details - likely way more than you would ever want - here. Linked on the sidebar as "important addendum".

Amy said...

That is quite a walk! Especially on a hot and humid day. I am glad you got to see the Gehry building at MIT. You sure know it when you see it. (BTW, a close friend of my father from architecture school designed many of the other buildings at MIT.)

Perhaps you were not in planning mode because you did so much planning and organizing for JOS1. You did a great job, and all of us are so grateful for all you did!

L-girl said...

Thanks Amy! You're right, that could be why. I was all planned out! :)

It didn't seem like that long a walk to me, but the heat and humidity just destroyed us. While we were resting on the Common, drinking water, I felt like I was verging on collapse from heat exhaustion. The bistro was just the thing!

But I'm glad it seems like a good long walk. With my various physical issues, I'm sometimes afraid I can't do things like that anymore. So it's good to know I can.

L-girl said...

"I am glad you got to see the Gehry building at MIT. You sure know it when you see it."

That's for sure. I know some people feel he's been repeating himself and has become a cliche, but I really love his work.

I'm so happy I remembered it as we were passing - and not the next day while we were driving home.

Amy said...

From your description, I bet you walked between 8-10 miles overall. For me, that's a long walk, especially on Beacon Hill!

Any idea what bistro you went to? We are always looking for good places to eat!

L-girl said...

Really, that long? I wouldn't have thought so. Cool!

We actually didn't walk around Beacon Hill at all, just down Charles St. We've both been there before and didn't have much desire - collapsing from the heat as we were! :)

The bistro was Sel de la Terre, the Boylston Street location. The food and atmosphere were both very good.

The map exhibit in the BPL was really nice, too. We both love old maps. I have a funny map-related story, but best saved for our next gamethread. Let's see if either you or I can remember!

Amy said...

Thanks for the name of the bistro. I wonder if Maddy knows it. I will check it out.

Well, maybe it was more like 6-7 miles without the Beacon Hill walk. But still... a long walk for a H&H day. Google now has a pedometer app that I love to use to measure my walks and bike rides: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/

I love maps also (as my use of the above app indicates)---old, new, satellite, road, historical, internet, trail, etc. Hence, my sadness at being replaced by a GPS!

L-girl said...

Oh yes, I shouldn't say I love old maps - I just love maps. If you're like me, you can stare at them endlessly, soaking up geography (which I also suck at) and place names.

One of the things I love about my local library - hopefully my future employer - is that you can take out a pedometer. They have them for loan, to help people walk more!

L-girl said...

Amy, that link goes nowhere. :) But I will find the pedometer app on my own, it sounds great.

L-girl said...

Here it is: gmap pedometer.

L-girl said...

Oh Amy! Something else I forgot to mention. At the start of our walk, we saw Carlton Fisk sitting in a sidewalk cafe outside the Hotel Commonwealth, being filmed or interviewed for something. Fun.

Amy said...

Wow, Fisk!! The man who made me SO happy back in 1975 and permanently made me a Sox fan. I am envious! (Fisk was, of course, my favorite back then, being a catcher and all....)

Sorry about the bad link. I copied and pasted, but then something happened when I was typing, and I obviously substituted the space with a -. Oh well, glad you found it anyway.

johngoldfine said...

It was hot! When I got through Customs at Logan, I had to give myself a little shake because when I got on the plane at Keflavik, it was about 40 degrees cooler....

I'm so glad that my advice helped you and Allan enjoy yourselves, and one of these days we'll have to talk maps. Sometimes I think that half the reason I hike in the UK is so I get to use their incredibly detailed 1:25000 Ordnance Survey maps, things of beauty and delight.

L-girl said...

Hm, well, talking maps with me would be a monologue, I'm afraid. I don't know anything about maps, really. I just love them.

I love place names - the different languages and cultures they come from - I love the surprise of geography - I love thinking about history in relation to maps.

When I wrote some kids' history, I would stare at the atlas and try to understand why things unfolded the way they did.

JGf, I hope your trip was great. We missed you at JoS1.

johngoldfine said...

I've never had much luck with pedometers--they seem so inaccurate and always go click click click when I want quiet. Your library should be loaning out dogs--they're the walk-motivators!

johngoldfine said...

I kept thinking about JoS1 as I waited for the bus to Maine--I could just about have made it to Fenway for game time--me and my huge backpack....

Did you finally sell that last ticket? For weeks I thought of mentioning it to my son who lives in Somerville and is a big fan but--his gf is a big fan too and I didn't want to see sweethearts scrapping over a single ducat.

L-girl said...

I sold it through Craiglist - to a fan who was thrilled to go to the Rice ceremony, and joined us for dinner pre-game. Nice!