Vis­it­ing a field of dreams

The Western Star - - Front Page - Steve Bartlett Steve Bartlett is an ed­i­tor with SaltWire Net­work. He dives into the Deep End Mon­days to es­cape re­al­ity and curve balls. Reach him at [email protected]­

SaltWire Net­work colum­nist and Cor­ner Brook na­tive Steve Bartlett dis­cusses tak­ing in a re­cent base­ball game and all the emo­tions the ex­pe­ri­ence con­jured.

My seat is tiny. It feels like 1,000 hu­mid de­grees. The sun is blind­ing. And my shirt is cov­ered in mus­tard from a hot dog I just fin­ished.

Still, this is the re­al­iza­tion of a dream, one that started more than three decades ago when my par­ents got ca­ble TV.

One of the new sta­tions we got was WLBZ out of Ban­gor, Maine.

It had Ed­die Driscoll, “The Great Money Movie,” pub­lic ser­vice an­nounce­ments “put on for ya” and “Stacey’s Coun­try Jam­boree.”

And it showed every sin­gle Bos­ton Red Sox game.

That led to my friends and I be­com­ing huge fans.

The team, and game of base­ball, caught our imag­i­na­tion and never let go.

We played base­ball for hours and hours and hours, pre­tend­ing to be Sox play­ers like Jim Rice, Carl Yaztrem­ski, or Fred Lynn.

A stand of ma­ture pine trees in my par­ents’ back­yard be­came our Green Mon­ster.

And we won­dered what it’d be like to play or watch a game at Fen­way Park.

That’s where I am now. Fi­nally!

My cousin Rob — who is for­given for be­ing a Blue Jays fan — and I are sit­ting in the cen­tre field bleach­ers for a game be­tween two of sport’s great­est ri­vals, the Bos­ton Red Sox and the New York Yan­kees.

The at­mos­phere is elec­tri­fy­ing.

So is the match-up. Pitcher David Price (fi­nally) throws a gem.

“Mooooooooo­ookie” Betts homers over the Green Mon­ster.

And cen­tre­fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. — aka JBJ — robs rookie slug­ging sen­sa­tion and very large hu­man Aaron Judge of a two-run homer in the eighth in­ning.

That catch hap­pens di­rectly un­der us and Fen­way is on wheels as it’s re­played on the hu­mon­gous screen above.

My voice is among the scream­ing crowd of 36,719.

The fans are al­most as en­ter­tain­ing as the game, par­tic­u­larly the shirt­less drunk guy a few rows down who’s heck­ling Yan­kee fans and lead­ing the cheers in our sec­tion.

This col­lec­tive ex­pe­ri­ence is awe­some, even bet­ter than first imag­ined in 1979 and through­out every sum­mer since.

At one point, I ac­tu­ally pinch my­self.

As re­liever Craig Kim­brel fin­ishes off the Yanks, I re­al­ize adult­hood — its re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and re­al­i­ties — has been tem­po­rar­ily sus­pended.

I haven’t thought about any­thing but base­ball — not work, or pay­ing mort­gages, fix­ing that shin­gle over the front door, or any­thing se­ri­ous — for al­most three hours.

I haven’t even checked my iPhone, out­side of Face­book posts about the game.

It’s like I’m 10-years-old again.

And that’s an awe­some feel­ing, one I’ve missed and need to feel more.

I’ll get to do so for the next cou­ple of days, as we’re com­ing back to Fen­way for two more games — be­tween the Sox and Blue Jays — be­fore head­ing home.

This re­cent trek took lots of plan­ning and sav­ing, as well as some ninja-like ho­tel pric­ing by Rob’s wife Melinda.

But it was worth the ef­fort. I can fi­nally stop telling any­one who’ll lis­ten my dream is to see a Red Sox game at Fen­way.

I’m for­tu­nate and grate­ful, and sin­cerely hope you, Dear Reader, get to scratch some­thing off your bucket list soon.

The world is run­ning at a more hec­tic pace than ever, so es­cap­ing for a while and ful­fill­ing a dream is rec­om­mended and worth it — un­less, of course, your fan­tasy is to cheer on the Yan­kees.

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