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iBerkshires.com Columnist Section

Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

Stealing Home: Confessions Of A Practical Blonde

By Sharon Leary
11:00AM / Monday, April 02, 2007

Sharon Leary is an iberkshires columnist and a community health advocate for the Northern Berkshire Healthcare REACH Community Foundation. [Photo by Sue Bush]
The birds are back and chirping merrily, flowers are popping up, I’m not cloaked in all things wool-and-waterproof, Pedrin’s outdoor eatery opened over the weekend and the mud is oozing over sneaker tops.

Taken together, these signs mean one thing - baseball!

The Summer Of '75

My obsession with all things baseball began in the summer of 1975. My neighborhood was a-buzz with Red Sox fever. Of course there was the lone Yankee-fan family - they didn’t know any better.

Our days were spent playing pick up games of wiffle ball, kick soccer, swimming and sometimes a good game of “jail”- an older kids version of hide and seek. Evenings were spent hanging out in backyards, catching fireflies and listening to "the game" on the radio.

Weekends were special at my house. Every Saturday morning brought a visit from my grandfather, known and loved as "Pop." After lunch, we'd gather in the living room and watch the game on television. My brothers and I would take turns sitting with Pop. He was a huge baseball fan.

That summer the Sox were chasing the pennant, so every game was of extreme significance. Every day meant lively reenactments of the previous evening's action - a home run hit by Carl Yastremski, a catch Fred Lynn made of the Green Monster to rob a guy from extra bases, and a rocket Dwight Evans threw from right field to get that guy out at home plate! Oh, how grand it was!

The Highs

Our reward for being such faithful fans was the chance to feel a part of that year's World Series. I was witness to what was arguably one of baseball’s greatest moments.

Game 6 and the Sox were tied with the Cincinnati Reds. In the 12th inning, Carlton Fisk stepped to the plate. He hit a pitch that headed down the left field line. If it stayed fair, the Sox would win the game. We watched as Fisk jumped up and down and tried to wave the ball fair. It smacked the foul pole and the Sox won the game. What a moment!

The Lows

The next day the Reds won the World Series. That day I learned about the Red Sox Curse and what the true meaning of being a Red Sox fan was all about. My love/hate relationship with the Sox was born.

I was 9 years old.

Over the subsequent three decades, I've developed a deep appreciation for all things baseball. I’ve witnessed so many great moments on the field.

During 1977, my father arranged a family weekend junket to Boston. The trip included a Red Sox-Yankee game.

Bonus At The Ballpark

June 18, 1977 will be remembered always as the day I first set foot in Fenway Park. We sat in the right field bleacher seats. I got a look at my hero Dwight Evans and had my chance to yell at Reggie Jackson. At one point in the game, Jackson failed to get Jim Rice out at second base; Billy Martin pulled him from the game. When he arrived at the dugout, Martin yelled at Jackson and a fight ensued!

What a bonus; I’ll never forget that day!

The Brewers Connection

During 1982, I was captivated by the 39-game hitting streak of Milwaukee third baseman Paul Molitor. The Brewers made it to the World Series. Molitor continued his baseball heroics; he batted .355 in the series and set a record by getting five hits in Game 1.

Unfortunately, the Brewers lost the series to the St. Louis Cardinals. I was now becoming a true fan of baseball.

Confession: my first baseball hat was not a Red Sox hat. It was a Milwaukee Brewers hat. I still have the hat and I still wear it. The Brewers still hold a special place in my heart. My cousin Chris Capuano is a starting pitcher for the Brewers. In 2005, he had 18 wins for the Brewers, the highest total of a pitcher since 1987.

In 2006, he continued with his excellent pitching and was named to the National League All Star team. He didn’t get to pitch, but it was awesome seeing him in the dugout.

Go, Joe!

A passion for baseball has carried me to many cities and many ballparks. I’ve been to Montreal, New York, Baltimore, Denver, Fort Meyers, Tampa Bay and Scottsdale. And those are just the Major League parks. I’ve been to even more minor league parks. My favorite was the Norfolk Tides in Virginia Beach.

And how terrific that North Adams has minor league baseball in the summer! How great is it to go to a gen-u-ine baseball game, get a hotdog and some ice cream, all for under $10? Take me out to Joe Wolfe Field!

My cousin Chris played in the NECBL before the Arizona Diamondbacks drafted him. We've already witnessed a Steeplecats' player go on to the majors. Joe Smith should do some great things.

The Game Of Life

Baseball is often used as a metaphor for life. For example, a guy could go to the plate 100 times and not get a hit, but on his 101st at bat, he hits a Grand Slam! That’s perseverance and determination, hey, that's baseball!


I’ve developed a few game-meets-life metaphors of my own.

*balk: trying something that just doesn’t work out

*foul ball: you made a mistake, but you can try again

*stealing home: taking charge of your dream

*strikeout: missed opportunities

*homerun: reaching your goal

*knuckleball: your goal is within reach, and suddenly it drops out of sight

*on base %: personal success rate

*fastball: an opportunity that got by you because you recognized it too late

Hey, Pop...Wish You Were Here

OK, so I’m a little obsessed. My house is filled with baseball memorabilia. I have kept every ticket to every baseball game I’ve ever attended and I have every Red Sox schedule dating back to 1982. Wally sits atop my TV and my red foam number 1 finger is proudly displayed in my office.

I named my dog Remy.

Baseball is back. The Sox have another chance at a World Series title and I have another chance for an amazing summer. I only wish I could share it with my Pop.

See you at the ballpark.

Your Comments
Post Comment
That is a great article. Your cousin Chris is a great guy and a really good pitcher. I have gotten the chance to talk to him and meet him.
from: Anya Herronon: 04-02 00:00:00-2007

This column brought back memories of my one and only trip to Fenway...Clarksburg School 8th grade class trip...what a truly great day! Yaz was the guy we all wanted to be...sad what money and steroids have done to the great American past time.
from: over 50on: 04-02 00:00:00-2007


 
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