The Bus

Every year, continuing a tradition which began in 1968, a staltwart band of BLOHARDs and assorted other Red Sox fans has taken a bus trip to Boston for the team’s home opener. Originally organized by late BLOHARD co-founder Henry Berry, the trip is now coordinated by the shadowy BLOHARD Transportation Collective, a group whose very membership is shrouded in mystery.

The first BLOHARDs bus trip

Highlights of past trips

  • 2005

    Top Ten Highlights of BLOHARD Trip To Fenway For the Red Sox' Home Opener April 11, 2005

    • 10) Dave Roberts is greeted deliriously by crowd, gives Sox braintrust (Henry, Werner, Luchino?) enormous hugs.
    • 9) Derrick Lowe is greeted deliriously by crowd. Appears to be having a wonderful time.
    • 8) Mike Mussina gets lit up like a Christmas tree.
    • 7) Sweet Baby James sings "America the Beautiful". The contrast between that song and its singer on the one hand and "God Bless America" and Ronan Tynan on the other says all you need to know about the differences between the Red Sox and the Yankees generally.
    • 6) Post-game, atop the farthest reaches of the Monster, the Standels perform "Dirty Water" live.
    • 5) David Ortiz is greeted deliriously by the crowd. A cacophonous tsunami of love. It's probably what a Beatles concert was like in 1963, just an octave lower.
    • 4) BLOHARD bonding.
    • 3) Having already cost his team a game with a fielding gaffe in the Bronx, A-Rod commits another error. Multiple runs ensue.
    • 2) A-Rod subsequently fields ball cleanly and gets standing ovation.
    • And the number one highlight of the day: Following a torrent of boos for his fellow Yankees, Mariano is greeted deliriously by the crowd. Laughs out loud as he trots out to join his team.
  • 2006

    Sox Delight BLOHARDs With Balmy Weather, Opening Day Win.

    Berry, Powers gone, not forgotten; 10 of their descendants join happy throng.

  • 2007

    We had a little fun at the 2007 home opener...

  • 2008 (in the May Newsletter)

Red Sox baseball being a serious business, the trip is by no means frivolous. Quite to the contrary, it is an occasion of somber ritual and reflection. The bus typically departs promptly from Westport CT at 9:00AM, and in keeping with the solemnity of the occasion, members generally observe the time-honored imperative that there be no imbibing until Bridgeport, unless strictly necessary.

The 1986 bus. Henry Berry (with bat) and Jim Powers (glove) in the vanguard.

A particularly poignant moment is observed during the venerable “East Hartford Turnoff Ceremony”. Originally conducted by Henry Berry, it commemorates the invention of the bunt by an ancestor of Henry’s who evidently went by the moniker of “Bunts” Berry. “Bunts” reportedly played for the Hartford nine in the old National Association. Interestingly, currently available information does not show him to have been on the Hartford roster. No matter. Henry was himself an accomplished historian and, as far as the boys on the bus are concerned, if he said it, it’s so. Today, the ceremony is as much a tribute to Henry as it is to his illustrious forebear.

The bus typically arrives in Boston an hour or so before the game, which is fortunate inasmuch as it permits the voyagers to fortify themselves against an inevitably frigid experience. Sitting, as they historically have, well back in the grandstand along the first base side, the Blohards are cooled by the concrete which surrounds them, sheltered from the sun by the roof which looms over their heads, and caressed by the pervasive breezes. Under the circumstances, it is unsurprising that a sizable contingent, generally led by Maximal Blohard Jim Powers, evacuates to the conveniently situated Howard Johnson cocktail lounge for further fortification around the sixth inning.

The 1994 bus trip.

Post-game, the non-evacuating diehards are stacked like cordwood in the back of the bus for thawing while all but the most thoroughly fortified of the HoJo contingent generally find their way back to the bus, which thereupon returns swiftly and efficiently to Wesport. If things have gone well for the Sox, George Bolton may be prevailed upon to recount his famous “You won’t have Thurman Munson to kick around any more” anecdote. In any event, the time passes pleasantly, and in short order the assemblage is delivered to the door of the estimable “Mario’s” restaurant across from the Westport train station. Some return to their homes, while others, loathe to end a day of fellowship, retire to Mario’s for dinner and, perhaps, a drink.

As can be imagined, spaces on the bus are about as easy to secure as a MacArthur Grant. Indeed, they are passed from father to son as treasured heirlooms. The best way to stay apprised about the potential availability of future seats is to send an email to Ray Duffy as close as possible to, but not before January 1st of the year in question.

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