Monday, June 02, 2008

OPENING DAY

Fenway's diamond wrapped in green.
The sleeping jewel of Boston, the long-ago home
of the Babe and the Splendid Splinter,
Yaz and Fisk, born again on an April day.

All around, the Nation's red flowed
like blood down Beacon, Boylston and Brookline,
B's capping wide smiles, to fill the tiny seats
made for kinsmen from a different era.

Under the shadow of the The Green Monster,
Lansdowne street is littered with the jetsam of camped fans.
The hardy faithful who waited through the morning chill
for a ticket have drifted into the park like the steam from the griddle of a sausage vendors.
The smell of onions and peppers is as pervasive
as the calls for, "Get your hot sausage here".

We enter the park under bleachers to the swarm
of grown adults feeling the inspiration of Spring,
and long lines for beer and franks. The fans posing with
the statue of Wally act like the children they are again.

We fought the throng through the park's dark belly,
going against the flow, until a man yelled 'Make Way'
for a phalanx of blue coated officers escorting jeweled
rings toward the waiting lords of the diamond.
Two cold beers for fourteen fifty seemed cheap
as they sloshed in their plastic cups. Calls of
'Got cold beverage here', elicits laughs
but no fewer bumps.

Anonymous elbow to elbow
I climbed the ramp with Peter Gammons.
Just two fans emerging into the sunlight of a new season.
The man in front of me turns and stares for
a minute and exchanges pleasantries with
the famous one of us.

Ring ceremony, unfurled banners, and raised flags.
Tiny hands could be seen struggling to hold
the stretched corners of the billowing 2007 banner.
2004 would not be eclipsed so easily.
The ghosts of the curse reminds us one more time
just how special that season was.

During the game, big bellied men hid beers under their magic seats,
laughing and bellowing, 'Sheffield you bum'.
My wife took picture after picture after picture
and a self-proclaimed Fenway virgin cried at the spectacle,
as we all remember leaner days.



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