Yesterday was a government holiday that's little-known outside of Massachusetts. The third Monday in April is officially Patriots' Day. I always think of it as a sports holiday, even though--despite the name--it's not the day on which Bay Staters celebrate the New England Patriots. (You'd think with all the Super Bowl wins...assuming one ignores last year's fiasco...but no.)
Rather, it's the day of the Boston Marathon, and all 25,000-plus runners go by Fenway Park while the Red Sox play a home game. I drove in early, and counted 110 buses full of runners making their way out to the starting line in Hopkinton. (The runners mostly stay in Boston, then take buses out to the start the morning of the race.) Lots of cars on the highway had their windows rolled down to wave at the runners and cheer them on. Pretty cool.
Being a holiday, it was a perfect day at Fenway. I got there early and spent some time hanging around on Yawkey Way. The team is raffling off a World Series ring to raise money for the The Red Sox Foundation, so they were letting kids try on the rings (near the 2007 World Series banner, of course. Gotta show off that banner!)
After ring-ogling, I watched NESN's Tom Caron doing his pregame show from a perch alongside RemDawg's, then stood in line in Autograph Alley to meet the über-cool 1967 Cy Young Award winner Jim Lonborg. (BTW...I rate Lonborg particularly high on my personal cool meter because, after he finished his baseball career, he went to dental school and became Dr. Lonborg. Realize, though, that both my dad and one of my brothers are dentists, so your cool mileage may vary.)
He was kind enough to sign both a ball and a photo for me, and no, they will not be appearing on eBay.
However, the best part of the day was the game itself. Have I mentioned how much I love my seats? Fenway is one of those places that feels like a second home. I know which of the Aramark guys are generous when handing out mustard for the Fenway Franks, which guys are quickest with the peanuts, and which are most accurate when they hurl the Cracker Jack across two sections. And then there's the view. Took this shot of Jacoby Ellsbury at the start of the game:
Then snapped this photo of David Murphy and Gerald Laird just before the Sox took the game from the Texas Rangers, 8 - 3:
I've gotta say it again. I love my seats. I feel extremely lucky to have them. Of course, apologies of the day go out to my buddy, author Geralyn Dawson, who happens to be a Texas Rangers fan. (They'll win their next one, Ger!)
After the game, I walked along the Boston Marathon route to cheer on the runners. The winners had already finished, but at the 4 - 5 hour mark, there were still plenty of people making the last push along Beacon Street toward the finish line:
Congrats to all who entered the race. Running a marathon is a huge accomplishment, especially the Boston Marathon with all its hills. Hope that, in the end, your Patriots' Day was as enjoyable as mine!