Keep it down or I'll give you a smack!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Please come to Boston - Part 1

So we’re going to Boston. It all started as most good stories do over a couple of drinks when Ron made a bet with Matt that he needed to qualify for the Boston Marathon again. Matt already knew that the marathon in 2006 was going to be run on his 35th birthday. So that meant that he had an extra 5:00 on his qualifying time. So he had to run in it in under 3:15:00, which certainly seemed possible for a runner of Matt’s experience. The wager was that if Matt qualified Ron would buy his plane ticket to Boston and we would all go along for the trip. Hell, we had never been. Why not? Matt held up his part of the bargain and ran a 3:13 race last fall in Detroit. So it’s off to Boston we go!

We met up at Matt’s house bright and early on Saturday morning for our 9:10am flight. We had no clue how crowded the airport was going to be seeing as how it was a Saturday and it was Easter weekend. But it wasn’t bad at all. We got our gate assignments and saw that we were flying out of D gate, which is about a 12-mile walk from the entrance of the airport. The most exciting detail was when we discovered that we had to walk outside to board the small jet we were going to be traveling on. So of course Ron and I had to take the time and pose like Richard Nixon before we got on the plane.

It was a quick flight, pretty much an up and down and we were in Beantown. Mark had taken an earlier flight out and we met him in baggage claim when we got there. We all piled in a cab from the airport and made our way to the Best Western where we set up shop for the week. After checking in, we headed out to the runner’s expo to get Matt’s registration taken care of and check out some of the booths that were set up. We all picked up some shirts and Matt picked up a couple packets of Gu for race day. Little did we know how big of a fan Ron would be of the Gu. If you are not familiar Gu is a packet of nourishment that runners eat while running. Looks just like it sounds, it’s a pasty gooey flavored substance that you can suck down without breaking stride.

The wall for all the runners to sign.

Matt's contribution

As Matt was doing some shopping at the Nike booth, we happened to come across a couple of pretty good looking ladies doing some shopping and of course we had to stop and stare and check them out. (Actually I couldn’t help but notice a lot of good-looking girls walking around the expo. Of course they are all in great shape and a lot of them are wearing running tights and shorts. It really made me feel fat and lazy) But as we waited one of the girls comes and stands next to me and starts stretching out. Of course Ron, Mark and myself are watching but trying not to get caught staring. Ron then tells me to give him my camera and he’ll do the rest. OK then. So he asks if we can get a picture. And she is like sure thinking that she is going to be taking the picture of us. But then Ron says, “No you and him take a picture together. And we’ll tell our friends that you were the 2005 marathon champion.” And that is how we each got to take a picture with a hot blonde at the runner’s expo. Sure Ron is quirky at times, but then again sometimes that shit works.

After we were done at the Expo we decided it was time to find a bar, watch some Red Sox baseball and have some food and drinks. We made our way through downtown and we came across a bar called J. J. Foleys that caught our eye. It was a small place but it had a cool feel to it. We ordered up some drinks and started to watch a little baseball. We were not there for 5 minutes when a few guys that were sitting at the bar started into a sports debate. Matt even got into the act when the bartender asked a trivia question. (Q: What number did Ty Cobb wear? A: No numbers back in the day) It was pretty cool for our first stop. And the best part was it sounded like something right out of a movie as they spoke in thick Boston accents. We just soaked it all up. Of course Ron and I were trying to do our best impressions of Good Will Hunting…”my boy here is wicked smaht” “Cathy! Why didn't you give me none of that nasty little hoochie-woochie you usually throw at me?”

As we finished up eating BJ and his wife Cyndi met up with us at Foleys. Matt and BJ are buddies from their college days at Bowling Green and BJ was going to be running in the race as well. After Foleys we made our way on foot and did a little sight seeing. We walked though Boston Common and headed towards Cheers. When we arrived there it was packed. It really just seems to be a tourist place now. I think they had 3 gift shop areas with overpriced shirts and hats. We did get a seat at the upstairs bar of the Hampshire House, which is the name of the building where Cheers is located. We had a couple of drinks there and decided to set out for a new location. I did have to get a picture of the sign before leaving though.

After that we made our way towards the Back Bay portion of town. We ended up at an Irish pub called Solas. We had some dinner there and of course more drinks. I had ordered a Meatloaf sandwich and asked if they had colcannon as a side dish. I figured that was a usual Irish side since I have had it many time at Flannery’s in Cleveland. But our waitress looked at me like I had three heads. So I had fries like a "normal person." Cyndi was sitting across from me and said she had never heard of it either. So I explained what it was (mashed potatoes with cabbage, garlic and onions). But she thought it sounded like a porn name. Of course you can always use a good one of those, “Hello, I'm Cole Cannon!"

After dinner the 3 amigos decided we wanted to go back to the hotel and clean up for the evening before hitting the town. So Ron, Mark and myself hopped in a cab and went back to the room. We kicked back and all fell asleep, of course. Ron decided that he had enough and stayed in. Finally around 9:30 or so Mark and I got cleaned up and headed back out for the night.

We met back up with the two couples at a bar called Foggy Goggles in the Back Bay district. Matt was feeling pretty good when we met back up with him. He was in one of his moods where he felt the urge to keep pulling his shirt up over his head. So I got to keep pulling it back down for him. After a little while he and Pam made their exit for the evening. We had a few more drinks there at Goggles before heading down the street looking for a new hang out. We came upon Whiskey’s, which is just a few doors down the street. There wasn’t a lot going on but we hung out for a couple drinks there. The fun came to an end when BJ came back from the restroom and announced, “I have to leave.” As I looked behind him I noticed 2 security workers following him. I was thinking, “Oh gosh what did he do?” So I asked one and he just said that he was too drunk and stumbling around too much. I was relieved. I figured he was probably peeing in the corner or something. So we made our way out of there. By now, BJ and Cyndi were pretty well cooked themselves. So we were ready to put them in a cab to get them home. But of course that wasn’t an easy task either. BJ was trying to light a cigarette and dropped it on the ground. When trying to pick it up he went ass over teakettle on the sidewalk. So I scooped him up and got him back on his feet. We hailed a cab for the two of them but they realized that they had no cash on them. So Mark escorted BJ to the bank while Cyndi and I guarded the cab so nobody took it. Once they were in the cab and off on their way, Mark and I decided to head back to Foggy Goggle. The main reason for that choice had to be the Farrah Fawcett haired bartender that we liked watching behind the bar. We went back and hung out for a few more drinks before they closed the place down for the night.

Easter Sunday we had tickets for the Red Sox and Mariners game at Fenway. So we got up and made our way over towards Fenway to look around and see what was happening. We stopped over at the souvenir store that was right across the street from the park and everybody picked up some Red Sox gear. We then made our way to Cask n Flagon, which is located behind the Green Monster on Lansdowne Street. It was just opening at 11:00am so we got great seats at the bar. It was a cool place to hang out before the game. From what I gathered from some people they just had remodeled it too. They had plasma screens all over the place. One other side note that I forgot to mention earlier is that Boston is on board with the non-smoking bars, which we were all huge fans of.

As we headed over to the game Ron and I grabbed a sausage sandwich from a vendor on the street. They were huge and loaded with peppers and onions. Ron struggled to eat his without making a mess but my sandwich never stood a chance. That’s what happens when you get your drink on at 11am on Easter Sunday!

We made our way to our seats in Section 38 and got there just in time to hear the anthem. So as the anthem is playing, this guy comes and stands basically in my lap. I was kind of wondering what his deal was and if you’ve been to Fenway you know that the seating isn’t huge. So they finish the song and he says, “I think you are in my seat.”
“No way pal. What section are your tickets in? I think you are in the wrong section.”
“I think you may be. That wall says Section 37. “ Whoops. My bad.

Good times! Listen to the guy from Cleveland. No way he could be wrong here.
So we made our way to Section 38 and got our correct seats. We were pretty high up in the bleachers but overall not too bad.

(Another sidebar: So back when we found out that we were going to Boston, Matt and I both went on line and bought tickets for this Red Sox game. They have a limit of four per game online so we each got four. Well I thought maybe I buy four more and worst case I can just sell them to a scalper on the street. So I bought a total of eight and Matt had his four. Well the day before we were set to leave Cleveland, I find my tickets on my desk and make sure that I don’t forget to bring them. And I open the envelopes they mailed to me and look at the tickets and realize that I have four on Sunday and four tickets for Wednesday April 12th. Four days earlier. Fucking moron.)

One thing that was a little annoying was some of the people around us that kept switching and moving around in their seats. Asking this guy and that guy to scoot over a seat. We actually had an extra ticket so we had one seat to play with and Ron finally told some lady that it was taken and we weren’t moving. One of the biggest offenders was some crazy broad that had on some big Jackie Onassis sunglasses. She seemed to be playing musical chairs for the first five innings. After a few innings Mark and I went down to grab a bite and a beer and we ended up watching the game on TV for a half inning because the Sox started to rally. As we are watching, Onassis walks by but she has a friend with her. I look and notice that it is none other than the 2005 champ that Ron and I took our picture with the day before! What are the freaking odds? 20,000 marathon runners in town along with 30,000 Red Sox fans and we run into her again. Turns out that she is sitting in the row in front of us at the Red Sox game!

And of course my favorite part of the game had to be the playing of Sweet Caroline. I think everybody enjoys that though. I was a little thrown though because I had always heard that it gets played after Take Me Out To The Ballgame during the 7th inning stretch. But they played something else and I can’t remember what it was. But then they brought it out during the middle of the 8th. Everybody sings the “bah bah bah” & “so good, so good” It’s just a neat thing to see and experience. Plus for the rest of the day you have Sweet Caroline in your head which is never a bad thing.

As far as the baseball goes, the game was pretty cool. Josh Beckett pitched for the Sox and they won 3-2. Red Sox fans are really into their baseball. They clap when pitchers get two strikes on guys. They know when to get into the game. So it’s an enjoyable place to watch a game. And another thing that Ron noticed, at least 80% of the people there had hats on. Everybody was loaded up with the gear. But I think if you wait 86 years to win a World Series, you probably want to show it off. God help us if the Indians or Browns ever get there! After the game we hung out in the stadium as long as we could and took some pictures down closer to the field and by the Ted Williams red seat in the right field bleachers until they finally kicked us out of the park. We met up with the rest of the gang and made our way over to Boston Beer works for a post game drink or two.

We decided after a while to head towards the North End to get a pasta dinner for the guys to carb up before the race on Monday. So we hopped on the T and trained it that up that way. We got out near the site of the Boston Massacre and walked towards the North End. We stopped along at a place called the Bell in Hand tavern, I think because a few of us had to use the bathroom. The history behind the Bell is that it’s considered to be America’s oldest continually operating tavern. It was established in 1795. It’s located in a cool part of town and it’s across the street from the Green Dragon, which is known as the “Home of the Revolution.” We camped there for a little bit and had some drinks and appetizers before continuing our journey.

After that we followed the Freedom Trail to Little Italy for dinner. We decided on a small place called G’Vanni’s. It was a family run place and the food was excellent. Ron and I were in one of our routines where we were just flying back and forth with movie lines and just being silly. This was also the site of one of my better lines of the trip when I made the comment that I was really enjoying my "lamb fed veal." Um, not quite dumb ass!!! That pretty much had the rest of the table in tears, seeing as how I was totally serious and didn't realize what I had said. Luckily, the only other customers were a group of kids. So we probably didn’t offend anybody too much. Ron was nice enough to take of dinner for the group. After that we figured the racers needed to get some rest so we waddled our way back to the train and called it a night.

As we got back to our local train stop we walked past the Transit Police station and noticed several police cars and a television news van parked across the street. Turns out that a kid that was wanted for murder in Maine was on a bus that was coming to Boston. The police stopped the bus and the kid pulled out a gun and killed himself. Even stranger, was that morning on the news we heard that a man jumped off his roof right down the street not more than 5 minutes from our hotel. So we were 2 for 2 on homicides/suicides while in Boston. Not a good thing, maybe they are having a bad week.

To be continued...

Keith Hernandez...

What a jackass. Although it does give me an excuse to post one of my favorite Seinfeld scenes of all time.

KRAMER: I hate KEITH HERNANDEZ - hate him.

NEWMAN: I despise him.


NEWMAN: Why? I'll tell you why...

KRAMER: Let me tell it ..

NEWMAN: No, you can't tell it ..

KRAMER: You always tell it ..

NEWMAN: All right, tell it.

KRAMER: Ja ja ja - just tell it

NEWMAN: June 14, 1987.... Mets Phillies. We're enjoying a beautiful afternoon in the right field stands when a crucial Hernandez error to a five run Phillies ninth. Cost the Mets the game.

KRAMER: Our day was ruined. There was a lot of people, you know, they were waiting by the player's parking lot. Now we're coming down the ramp ... Newman was in front of me. Keith was coming toward us, as he passes Newman turns and says, " Nice game pretty boy.". Keith continued past us up the ramp.

NEWMAN: A second later, something happened that changed us in a deep and profound way front that day forward.

ELAINE: What was it?

KRAMER: He spit on us.... and I screamed out, "I'm hit!"

NEWMAN: Then I turned and the spit ricochet of him and it hit me.

ELAINE: Wow! What a story.

JERRY: Unfortunately the immutable laws of physics contradict the whole premise of your account. Allow me to reconstruct this if I may for Miss Benes as I've heard this story a number of times. Newman, Kramer, if you'll indulge me. According to your story Keith passes you and starts walking up the ramp then you say you were struck on the right temple. The spit then proceeds to ricochet off the temple striking Newman between the third and forth rib. The spit then cam off the rib turned and hit Newman in the right wrist causing him to drop his baseball cap. The spit then splashed off the wrist, Pauses In mid air mind you- makes a left turn and lands on Newman's left thigh. That is one magic luggie.