Social media can make memoriesPublished 3:49pm Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Tuesday, July 23, 2013. A date that will be forever stamped in my mind.
As part of a baseball-themed vacation my son, Andy, and I planned in January, we excitedly took our seats last Tuesday evening in the right field bleachers in Boston’s storied Fenway Park.
For me, this trip was a chance to share my love of baseball and its most interesting nostalgia with my legacy. We spent the previous day soaking up the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.
Fenway has been on my bucket list since before the term “bucket list” became popular, and who better to accompany me on my dream trip than my son? For decades, I’ve said many times, “Before I die, I want to see Fenway Park. After that, I’ll be ready to go.”
Hopefully, God allows me a few more visits before calling my bluff.
On game-day morning, we bought tickets to tour the stadium. While waiting for the tour guide in a local memorabilia shop, I noted to Andy all of the people awaiting the tour with us.
“I guarantee,” I said to him as I paced back and forth by autographed photos ($150 retail) of Carlton Fisk’s famous 1975 homer against the Reds in Game Six of the World Series, “nobody is more excited about this tour than me!”
He laughed because he knew it was true. And once we entered the stadium I felt like I did the first time I went to King’s Island as a child.
We sat in the very uncomfortable, yet original, grandstand seats off third base and listened intently as our young guide belted out the fascinating history of the oldest baseball stadium in America. Then we walked upstairs to take in the sights from the Green Monster.
Later, we heard intriguing stories about the manually operated scoreboard, as well as a very interesting account of the lone red seat in a sea of green seats 502 feet from home plate in right-center field.
According to our guide, Ted Williams, the greatest hitter who ever lived, took exception to a gentleman napping in that seat during the second game of a double-header in 1946. So he hit the longest home run in the history of Fenway and knocked the man unconscious.
Some of the most memorable moments in baseball history have occurred in this stadium. Babe Ruth, the most recognizable baseball icon, began his career (as a lights-out pitcher) in this stadium.
Some of sports history’s greatest heartbreaks occurred here, as well as the beginning of the greatest comeback the sports world has ever seen (2004 AL championship against the Yankees).
Still giddy from the tour of Fenway, Andy and I hopped on board the Old Town Trolley and soaked up history-rich Boston: Watertown, site of the recent Boston Marathon bombings; Boston Harbor; Trinity Church; Paul Revere’s home; Cheers; Sam Adams Brewery; The Old State House; the Bunker Hill Monument (which is actually on Breed’s Hill) and on and on and on.
Our bus drivers amazed me by dealing with the insane traffic while pointing out, with great enthusiasm, Boston’s enthralling history. If you’ve never visited Boston, do yourself a great favor and go. I promise you’ll want to go back.
Following the trolley tour, Andy and I worried the downpours that invaded New England for most of the day would cause a rain-out of the Red Sox/Rays game that evening, spoiling six months of planning. But prayers were answered and the skies cleared for the 7:10 p.m. start.
And this is where things got more interesting for me.
In the first inning, my iPhone, which was wrapped in a plastic baggie in my left pocket, buzzed.
Then it buzzed again, and again, and again.
I thought Andy was messing with me by flooding me with texts, but he confirmed otherwise. So I pulled the phone from my pocket and noticed a sea of notifications informing me new people were following me on Twitter.
A lot of new people!
I’ve had a Twitter account for a few years, but rarely use it. Suddenly, for whatever reason, a bunch of people were interested in what I have to say.
Then one of my best friends, Butch Chatfield, sent me a text saying Fox Sports writer Jason Whitlock recommended his followers follow me. A recent column I wrote in The Tribune about Whitlock was a hit with him, so he shared it with his 150,000+ followers.
Then the emails started flooding in, some positive, some negative. People who couldn’t pick me out of a crowd of two were suddenly Googling my prior writings and re-posting them to their followers.
It was insane, but also very interesting.
So, there I was, sitting in my dream environment with my best friend, my son, and suddenly I’m also in the middle of my Fifteen Minutes.
And then Whitlock tweets he wants to have me on one of his podcasts. This guy is a nationally known sports writer. I’m a small town freelancer. Is this really happening?
Unreal. I can’t believe the power of social media. But I can guarantee I’ll never forget this day!
Billy Bruce is a freelance writer who lives in Pedro. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.