At home at fenway

Keeping on eye on Dustin, Papi, Youk & a few good books

Archive for August, 2009

Dustin to Dylan Pedroia: It’s not the size of the dog in the fight.

Posted by athomeatfenway on August 25, 2009

Dustin and Kelli have something better than a Championship.

Dustin and Kelli have something better than a Championship.

You delivered a Championship and the ROY Award in your first year.

You won the A.L. MVP Award in your second.

What do you do for an encore  ?

If you are Dustin Pedroia and your wife, Kelli, you top it all and have a little baby on August 18.

You go immediately on a tear, batting .476 with 5 runs, 4 RBI and 2 stolen bases in the next 5 games.  You prove the continuum of life itself will drive you.

Maybe Dustin’s streak foreshadows good things for Dylan’s own baseball career.

No doubt, Dustin is even now thinking about what he will teach Dylan, what words he will use to inspire him, push him.

There are many reasons for optimism here.

Little Dylan Pedroia has the same birthday as  Roberto Clemente.

Forgetting for a moment that Denis Leary, Fat Lever and Masta Killa also were born on August 18, I would say that Dylan’s birthday definitely improves his chances of going pro.

And Dylan’s gene pool is up to the challenge.  Grandpa was a fine ballplayer.

Grandma, who was an amateur tennis champion in her teens, is the genetic map to Dustin’s tremendous eye-hand coordination and competitiveness.

Dylan may have a shot.

The precedents of multi-generation MLB’ers are multiple.

There have been over 100 Father-Son combinations, including, but not limited to:  Max and Hal Lanier, Todd & Randy Hundley, Jim & Queenie O’Rourke, Connie & Earle Mack, Tito & Terry Francona, Jim and Mike Hegan, The Bagbys, The Armas men, The Stottlemyres, The Alomars, The Alous, The Barfields, and The Bannisters, The Sislers and The Gwynns.

Then there are the ones you know by their first names.

Barry and Bobby. They combined for 1,094 HR’s, 4,891 hits, 975 stolen bases and 10,000 tons of ego.  Not counting  Barry’s cousin, Reggie Jackson.

Cecil & Prince. Will they challenge the Bonds family ?  They sit at 466 HR’s and are in no way related to Fielder Jones of the 1906 White Sox.

Yogi & Dale.  One’s a chortler.  The other’s a snortler.  One’s got MVP’s, the other has  DUI’s.  One snaps off the quick lines, the other snarfs up the white ones.

Sorry, Yogi.  You’re 84.   You don’t need to hear this.

Junior and his Dad. They combined (to date) with 776 HR’s, 4,892 Hits, and 2,664 RBI.  They are friends with Stan Musial.  Ken, Sr.  all but invented the infield hit.    They’ve never offended anyone.  And they have one more hit than the Bonds family.  I love these guys.

Whatever the future holds, a few things are certain.

Barry Bonds will not hear from his Dad again.  Bobby passed in 2003.

Prince and Cecil no longer speak, either.  Prince cut off Dad when he took $200,000 of his $1.4 Million signing bonus in 2002.

Whatever Yogi might say to Dale, you can trust that it will be said with  humor and honesty.

It’s impossible to know what Dustin may say to Dylan one day.  But one thing is certain.

Dylan will never hear his father say, “Sorry, son, but you’re too small to do that.”

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Kheli Dube REVS it up @ Gillette

Posted by athomeatfenway on August 25, 2009

Dube's hat trick was a work of art.

Dube's hat trick was a work of art.

I was on a mission to become soccer savvy.

My day job required that I study the New England Revolution, question being how to bring more Soccer Fans from their homes in Connecticut to see the Rev, a mere 60 to 90 minute drive away.

I wanted, as Jimi might say in this August of Woodstock reprised, to become experienced.

The drive from Hartford was easy.  I-84 to Rt. 90 to Rt. 495.  Check.

The ambiance was immediately festive.  500 were tailgating in the West parking lot with shade, grills and chilled drinks.  Check.

The crowd was small but enthusiastic.  12,000 fans.  Still better than a Pittsburgh Pirates or a KC Royals home game.    Check.

Crowd demos as expected.  30% manic young soccer dudes.  70% families with kids under 12.  Check.

 

Here we were at beautiful, shiny Gillette Stadium, which is literally adjacent to a giant Bass Pro Shop, el grande Christmas Tree Shop, a new Renaissance hotel, a hospital, a multi-screen movie theater, and the bars, shops and restaurants of Patriot Place.

 

Settling into my seat in row 3, sec. 108, behind the REV bench, I felt the optimistic mood of eternal youth that summer brings.  Scented sun block wafted everywhere.  The sun melted the well-tanned Mom seated in front of me.  Everyone grooved to an unknown techo rapper.  We watched warm ups, and faded blissfully into one mass of soccer-loving humanity.

The 22 oz. Sam Adams didn’t hurt, either.

The REVS did crazy footwork warm ups that looked exhausting before the game, a game in which the players would run unabatedly for two 45 minute periods with only 3 TOTAL substitutions.

The fellow seated next to me, a soccer veteran named Jason, explained that without the intense warm ups, the players would tank 15 minutes into the game.  The warm ups crank  the release of endorphins that would tide them until they could slip into a freezing halftime ice-bath.

What does Jason like about Soccer ? 

“It’s AWESOME”, said the 26-year-old Dad from Somerville.  “Other Sports have athletes that are specialized.  Kickers in the NFL.  Relief pitchers and Designated Hitters in Baseball. Soccer Players are much better athletes.  They play the entire 90 minutes.   And after you watch Soccer for a while, you start to appreciate how they play together, you see the entire field and understand how a play is supposed to evolve, where the passes should go.  When the play works, it is fantastic.  When it fails, it’s like seeing a flower stepped on.”

Nine minutes into the game, the Rev scored.  Lightening fast, a defensive midfielder stole, passed to a striker who almost goaled, and then REV #11, Kheli Dube, stole and goaled in a heart-racing split second.

The crowd exploded.  Fireworks erupted.  New England militia men in 3-cornered hats fired their black powder muskets.  It was T-H-U-N-D-E-R-O-U-S.

Kheli Dube, formerly of Zimbabwe, gave the crowd a remarkable treat this day.  He scored at 9 minutes, 29 minutes, and 66 minutes, pulling off a rare soccer hat trick.

Jason said we were getting our money’s worth.

********

Kheli Dube is a star on the rise.  Quick and skillful, he was a scoring leader scorer at Coastal Carolina.  He’s a diaper dandy, in just his second professional season.  In 2008, he led all MLS rookies in goals and assists.   After all five of his goals in 2008, he conducted a traditional Zulu dance toward the closest corner flag.  After performing the dance for the first time, he noted that it was an homage to his mother’s South African roots, the Zulu tribe’s homeland.  Dube was one of three finalists for 2008 MLS Gatorade Rookie of the Year

********

I learned a few things this day.  “A breakaway is the equivalent of a haymaker.”

I heard some new expressions.  “You’re a traffic cone, a traffic cone !!!”

I puzzled over the eccentricities.  “The officials have determined that 4 minutes will be added to the first period.”

And, at one point, my eyes popped over the unthinkable, when I saw that the game clock runs backwards.

Near the end of the game, I walked to the top of the lower bowl, a coveted seating section in Gillette that most of us will never access during a Patriots game, and headed to the Sam Adams stand where I bought my beer.  The stand was manned by the same two attractive ladies who had told me 30 minutes before the game that I was their “first  and best” beer customer of the day.  Before I could reach their kiosk, one of these gals sprinted up to me and apologized for putting too much of a head on the beer they sold me earlier.   She asked me if I still had my cup, because she would make up for the bad pour with a freebie.

Pinch me.

********

Great customer service.  $20, $30 & $40 tickets.  Wonderful sporting experience.  Home team on a streak.  A rare hat trick.  Fireworks.  Black powder musket fire.

What more could you want ?

********

Jason recommends that you watch international Soccer action on http://www.eplmatches.com

The REVS next home game is Saturday, August 29 vs. the San Jose Earthquakes.

For tickets or more information, go to  http://www.revolutionsoccer.net

REVs and kids take the field pre-game.

REVs and kids take the field pre-game.

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