Living within 4.3 miles of Fenway Park, as the crow flies, it shouldn’t be quite such an ordeal getting to a game.
I could walk for about an hour and a half, which isn’t the worst option when the humidity isn’t at its current 114 percent level, where it’s been for the past six weeks. There’s the T, and when it’s actually running, the Red Line to the Green Line should take about 30 minutes. But the red line doesn’t really run these days, and the aforementioned humidity turns Park Street into a sweltering torture chamber. Then there’s driving, which is a more horrible option as each day passes.
But truth be told, these are minor inconveniences. If I was invested and careful with money, I could go see the Red Sox much more often than I do. And with the specter of turning that four mile distance into about 20 looming in the coming weeks, it seemed right to head back out to a game.
I did, and they lost 6-2 to the Kansas City Royals. That’s the least important part of this, though. Continue reading
Such is the life of casual baseball viewing: On Thursday night I was reading a book at my desk, feet propped up, with the Red Sox in my peripheral vision and serving as background noise. They were in the early stages of a 19-3 beat down of the Yankees to start a four-game series that could determine whether the end of this summer has the team in the pennant race or another eight weeks of pleasant background noise. It’s not an exaggeration to say that, after four World Series wins in 14 years, either will be fine with me.
Anyway. As I was getting more and more engrossed in Ryan H. Walsh’s Astral Weeks: A Secret History of 1968 and all the nooks and crannies of Boston as a city in transition, I was snapped 51 years back into the present thanks to some ambient mics:
“OH GODDAMN IT!” Continue reading
There is hardly the space to shower the correct praise upon all the Bruins who deserve it.
For example: Tuukka Rask is playing at a god-level, to a point that the “what took so long” crowd has conveniently overlooked that he’s been an excellent goaltender in this league for a decade now. Patrice Bergeron is as solid and skilled a player as one could hope to be. Brad Marchand is a professional jerk in all the best ways. David Pastrnak is a kid at heart who also happens to be a total sniper. David Backes is chasing a dream. Zdeno Chara is defying time and age and remains absolutely terrifying.
And those are the primary storylines as the Bruins line up against the St. Louis Blues in an effort to get their name on the Stanley Cup for the seventh time. Missing in there is David Krejci, quietly leading his line, playing in every scenario and generally being the silent stalwart he’s been since earning his place in 2007.
For a group that cherishes its history and loves to fete its longtime players, Krejci doesn’t get the attention he likely deserves. But through this most recent playoff run, he’s done nothing to damage his place in history. Continue reading
I have a framed picture of Patrice Bergeron in my kitchen. I’ve had it up wherever I’ve lived since at least 2008, when it was given to me as a kind of joke present. It features Bergeron during his rookie season, in those horrid yellow pooh-stained jerseys the Boston Bruins insisted on wearing for more than a decade, and there’s a thought bubble over his head with an indelicate joke I’ll spare you for now — it’s funny within the context of my apartment but probably less so on the internet. Anyway.
That’s one of a few reminders of Bergeron I keep nearby. There’s a growing collection of hockey cards in the binder I maintain of all things Bruins, and pulled from that is his rookie card, currently sitting on my desk alongside cards of Bobby Orr and Roberto Clemente. And maybe most importantly, there’s a hockey card I keep in the console of my car’s dashboard that I’ll typically toss into my bag whenever I travel. It’s bleached out from the sun, and its plastic protective case is getting pretty scratched and dulled. But it carries on.
★ ★ ★
Tonight, when Boston steps onto the ice at the Garden and the lights blare and finally the linesman drops the puck at center ice to officially begin the 53rd game of the 2018-19 schedule, there’s a decent chance it’ll be Bergeron taking that drop. And if that’s the case, there’s an even better chance he’ll win that draw and the puck will fly back to Zdeno Chara or Charlie McAvoy to trigger a rush up the ice. Notably, it’ll be his 1,000th game, and how he got here is just as impressive as all the things he’s accomplished in that time. Continue reading
Earlier this season, Rick Middleton attained his rightful place among the greats. The Boston Bruins made his no. 16 the 11th number to be retired to the TD Garden rafters. And a quick look at the career numbers are enough to explain that — 448 career goals (402 with the Bruins), 20 or more goals a season 12 out of 14 years — along with his position among the leadership of an era of consistently excellent teams. He’s got a decent case for the Hockey Hall of Fame; his place in the rafters should be without question.
I never really got to see Middleton play at his peak. But even when I was a kid, I was enough of a student to have quickly gotten the picture that he was as smart and professional a skater as anyone. Knowing anything about the Bruins, that had to mean that he had what Jack Edwards often refers to as the 200-foot game. He was a captain and he was nifty and then he retired and Jozef Stumpel took his number.
So the reality that he’d been a one-way player — and one that coach Don Cherry wasn’t too keen on acquiring — was new to me. Continue reading