April 2014


Lunch Sustains Body and Soul

More than 125 (we lost count) Red Sox representatives, distinguished speakers, bestselling authors, dues-paying members and their well-behaved guests, and one Audiobook of the Year finalist gathered in the familiar confines of the Yale Club Ballroom on April 4 to revel in the Red Sox' third championship in ten years, to gird their loins for a battle with the hated Yankees, and to celebrate the dawning of another baseball season.

A crowd which anticipated intellectual stimulation, humor, camaraderie, chicken and botched deliveries of both food and material had its expectations met in every particular, especially the chicken and botched deliveries parts. With anticipation running high for the September reprise, you'd be well advised to get your tickets now. Certain details of the lunch follow:

Usual Suspects Do Usual Stuff

The program included Dick Flavin with a few of his wonderful poems, including a paean to Opening Day; John Quinn, with an assist from Joe Cosgriff (about which, more below) doing trivia; Governor Chris Wertz on the state of Red Sox nation (which he found to be "good"), and Dr. Charles Steinberg in the closer's role, handling all manner of questions, from softball to screaming liner, with equal aplomb.

In the interests of accuracy...

The BLOHARDS were issued a friendly challenge regarding one of our trivia questions at the luncheon. We've kicked the tires, and we still think we have it right. Here's the question:

Q: Ted Williams is the only player to win the Triple Crown twice and fail to win the MVP award in either of those seasons. One time he lost to Joe DiMaggio; to which other player did Ted lose the MVP Award after winning the Triple Crown?

A: Joe Gordon in 1942. Ted Williams's loss to Joe DiMaggio was in 1947, the year of The Yankee Clipper's 56 consecutive-game hitting streak.

Note: Rogers Hornsby is the only other player besides Williams to win two Triple Crowns. He was elected the NL MVP in 1925. There was no NL MVP awarded in 1922. This stuff is not trival.

Bradlee Brilliant

Discusses "Kid", the book and the man

Ben Bradlee Jr. spoke to the BLOHARDS during the most recent luncheon about the greatest Red Sox player of them all, Ted Williams. Formerly a reporter and editor for the Boston Globe, Bradlee talked about taking a "reporter's approach" to the subject ("Nearly all the other books about Ted had been written by sportswriters") and of conducting hundreds of interviews with friends, acquaintances, and family members of the Sox legend, including sixteen alone with Williams's daughter, Claudia.

Especially poignant were Bradlee's recounting of Ted's end-of-life reconciliation with his son, John Henry, and his cold-shouldering of maternal relatives who gathered to greet him on his return to San Diego after his first season in Boston lest he be "tainted" by his and their shared Mexican heritage.

Also entertaining was Ben's story about his preparation for the high-pressure assignment of throwing out the first pitch at a Sox exhibition game at Jet Blue Park as part of his book tour. Weeks of preparation resulted in his throwing a strike (from the full sixty feet six inches) to Sox prospect Garin Cecchini.

Bradlee graciously remained for almost an hour after the event to sign books and further discuss Williams's life with a rapt contingent of BLOHARDS.

Cosgriff Brings the Heat

Joe Cosgriff, the BLOHARDS' VP for Meteorology and Particle Physics, was dealing in his opening remarks which, in large measure, dwelt on how fortunate we are to be Red Sox fans in this place at this time. Among the highlights was his recounting of having overheard a boy at last year's trophy viewing tell his mother: "When I grow up, I want to be a BLOHARD" only to hear the mother reply: "Sorry, honey - you can't do both."

Also laugh-eliciting was Joe's observation that there were evidently still six people left alive who were born in the 1800s, four of whom are BLOHARDS... with the other two playing for the Phillies.

Slide Show Delivers Mirth, Malapropisms

The Ray Duffy-narrated Henry Berry Memorial Slideshow dwelt, among other things, on the stirring Opening Day ceremonies which many BLOHARDS were privileged to attend; on last year's trophy party ("We laughed, we sang, we cried...all the while wondering when the missing hors d'oeuvres would make their appearance"); and on the respective states of the Sox' and the Yanks' nations. (Spoiler: Like Wertz, Duffy found the state of Red Sox Nation to be good. He was less optimistic about the Yanks.)

Other highlights included a riff on the new Dodgers' mascot, which, it turns out, is not a mascot at all, but rather a "unique performance character", and an unfavorable comparison of the Yankees' farm system to that of the Joads.

In a highly anticipated decision, Boomer Esiason's and Mike Francesa's misguided rants against paternity leave pushed them ahead of perennial favorite Alex Rodriguez and his legal team for the coveted Horse's Ass Award. Finally, departed greats Jerry Coleman, Charlie Osgood (he of a three inning, 0.00ERA career), Jim Fregosi and Ralph Kiner were memorialized.

In Other News...

Why was 2004 different from all other years?
BLOHARD's Curt Buckler's 2005 Passover speech celebrating the delivery of a long-suffering tribe from the clutches of an oppressive empire seems timely, what with it being that time of year, and the tenth anniversary of the 2004 season to boot.

Sox/Yanks Tix Available at the Fens
The Sox are offering a special deal on tickets for the 4/22 and 4/23 fixtures v. the Yanks. For $72 you get an outfield grandstand seat and a two-hour pre-game buffet, featuring hotdogs, chicken fingers, popcorn and peanuts. The deal is only available until tomorrow (the 18th) and while supplies last. Call or email Jess Dudek at (617) 226 6284.

Opening Day? Doesn't Ring a Bell.
Your correspondent missed the Opening Day bus trip for the first time in forever. The Sox lost for the first time in ten years. Move along, nothing to see here. Well, except for Chris Wertz's killer pictures.