Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Playing ball in Boston

Crew Position: 40°71’N, 74°00’W – Manhattan, New York
Boat Position: 26°06’N, 80°10’W – Riverbend Marine Center, Fort Lauderdale

Sport is taken to a whole different level here in the United States. Walk into any bar and you’ll see a dozen TVs, each with a different sport. In some bars and diners, you don’t even have to share – you can have a TV at your table, complete with a sports TV guide and remote control! Athletes are celebrities and feature regularly in the daily news – how they’re playing, where they’re going, who they’re dating. It’s a full time job keeping up with it all.


Ice-hockey and basketball are ‘in-season’ at the moment but when it came to choosing a sporting event to attend, we went for the ultimate American institution. Baseball. Back in New Zealand, red socks are synonymous with the legendary yachting hero Sir Peter Blake who wore red socks for good luck during the 1995 America’s Cup. In Boston however, ‘Red Sox’ refers to the much-loved local baseball team.

Their home ground is Fenway Park, the oldest major league baseball stadium in use in America. For locals and visitors alike, a home-game is an experience to remember so like good tourists do, we kitted ourselves out in Red Sox supporter’s gear and joined the throngs at Fenway Park on Sunday afternoon.

With a little help from our cousins, we picked up the basics of the game – ball, bat, bases, how hard can it be?! Well apparently it is quite hard. The pitcher throws the ball at about 90 miles per hour. The batter tries to hit it as far away as possible, giving him a chance to run around the field, tagging three bases as he goes. If he runs a full circle in one go, it’s called a home run and the crowd goes wild. If he doesn’t, he makes it to first or second base and the crowd stay in their seats.



To the uninitiated (read: us), it seems quite similar to cricket. Lots of men stand around in a field. They shuffle around, waiting, watching. The pitcher throws the ball and the batter doesn’t move. Silence. The pitcher throws the ball again and the batter watches it go past him, then flexes his shoulders and changes his grip on the bat. More silence. The pitcher bowls a third time, the batter ‘wakes up’ and hits the ball. The crowd erupts as he sprints around the field while the shuffling men in the field try to catch the ball. Then before you know it, he’s back at home base, another player has stepped up to bat and the shuffling and silence starts all over again. 

2 comments:

  1. Looooved watching baseball in North America. Beer, hotdogs... what more do you need?!

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  2. Boston is a great place and you'll likely bump into cousins and friends you didn't even know were there. Would totally recommend doing the historic waking tour from Faneuil Hall and some nom noms in the Italian quarter. Big hugs XXX

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