Posts Tagged ‘Opening Day


All is Forgiven Bill Buckner

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to get a chance to go to Fenway Park for Opening Day. Now, I’ve never been to any opening day before and to get to go for a ring ceremony too, that’s simply amazing. And it was. The early festivities were great with famous champions of the Boston sports scene bringing out the rings to the Red Sox ownership group. The group included legends like Bobby Orr, Bill Russell, Tedy Bruschi, John Havlicek and Curtis Leskanik. Truly awesome.

After presenting the rings, the Sox players all went out to center field to raise the banner. Unfortunately the wind didn’t cooperate at first, and the banner just hung there, but then, the wind, which previously had been steadily blowing picked up again and unfurled the banner to a big cheer from the Fenway Faithful.

But the festivities were not done. Arriving through the garage door in center field, Bill Buckner came out to throw the first pitch. It was funny how Joe Castiglione introduced him, saying amongst other things, “the Red Sox would never have won the 1986 American League pennant without him,” clearly so that there wouldn’t be people in the stands booing. Even though we’ve won the Series twice now, people in Boston are definitely still miserable about ’86 and that could have put quite the damper on the whole afternoon if people had booed. I can’t seem to get the damn video to embed, and I have a bus to catch, so for the moment, the link is here.

Instead the crowd stood on its feet and gave a loud, hearty cheer as Buckner walked slowly in from center to the mound. When he got to the mound, the crowd started cheering wildly again. Clearly he was choked up. I was sitting high up in the rafters and could see the emotion on his face and him wiping his eyes. It was the first time he’d been back at Fenway since being the hitting coach for the White Sox in the late 90s. All in all, it ended up being a 4 minute ovation from the crowd. Add in the amazing music from the Boston Pops and Dwight Evans (one of my all-time favorites) catching the ball, and it was a truly epic moment and one I’m glad I was there for.

I’ll have some more on this later, but again, gotta catch a bus…


Washington Pops Their Cherry Blossom

Today we present you with another guest blogging effort, this time from my good friend Jon Eick who runs the always enjoyable food-obsessed, if you haven’t read it yet, do so immediately. Eick is one of the only people I know who willingly watches and roots for the Nationals. He also once voted for Bush and used to be a Yankees fan, so, there is that too. Anyhoo, he had tickets to both of the games this weekend at their brand new shiny stadium and offered to do a review of the stadium for the readers of The Slanch Report. Buckle up!


I went to both the first game EVER at Nationals Park, an exhibition game on Saturday against the Orioles, as well as the first OFFICIAL game, last night on ESPN, against the Atlanta Braves.


On Saturday we were only in our seats for about 3 of the 9 innings, because we were exploring everything. I didn’t get to walk around the whole stadium outside and see the trees and plaza and stuff in “front” (i.e. outside the stadium behind the home plate side). Instead, we entered through the CF gate. It’s right by the metro, and when you come out of the metro there is a really cool narrow street called ½ street, which has, or may have soon, a sort of Yawkey Way type feel to it. If they develop it as they hope to, it could be a really fun happening street (happening? You really are a 40 year old trapped in a 20something body). Right now there is no development on it yet, and there weren’t even food vendors there.

When you enter in centerfield there is a big open plaza which is cool, and you still have a great view of the game just from standing there. The cherry blossom trees in left field aren’t in bloom yet, but when they are in a week or two it will definitely be beautiful. (You’re just so damn poetic…)

The food at this ballpark is insanely good. So much good stuff everywhere, and it all appears to be of really high quality. The line for Ben’s chili bowl was about 100 people long for the whole game. However, I discovered that the “Ben’s half smoke” was available at all the food stands. The Ben’s half smoke is going to be THE signature food for Nationals Park. Fenway has Fenway Franks, Dodgers have Dodger Dogs, we have Ben’s Half Smokes. If you don’t know what a half-smoke is, that’s because it is a unique to DC thing. It’s like a 50/50 cross between a spicy sausage and a hot dog. Delicious. And you’ve got to get the Ben’s half-smoke “all-the-way” with chili, onions and mustard. One semi complaint. The food stands don’t each have their own signs, everyplace just has their name in these sort of lit up glowing neon letters, If each food place had their own unique signs, it would make the inside tunnel areas where you get food feel a little bit less strip-mallish.

DC’s own, “Half-Smoke”

There is an abundance of food vendors, underneath/in back of the stands there are just rows and rows of food vendors. Beer, there appeared to be decent selection, including Stella on tap, and what appeared to be 20 or 22 oz cups at certain locations. The restaurant in Centerfield, called “Red Porch” is quite large, as is the “Red Loft” bar above it.

Continue reading ‘Washington Pops Their Cherry Blossom’


It’s the Greatest Day of the Year!

This afternoon the MLB season kicks off in full swing today with 14 games on tap. Finally!

Color me excited.

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March 2023