Pitch for Awareness
2010 National Tour
Boston Red Sox - June 29, 2010
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Monday, June 28, 2010 - Miami

I left the hotel at noon to take the shuttle to the Miami airport.  My flight for Boston didn’t leave until 4:00 so I had 3
hours to kill before boarding.  I planned to spend the time on my laptop but soon discovered that wi-fi was available –
for a fee by the hour.  So my plans for efficiency got thrown out the window.

We finally boarded the plane at 3:30… then sat and waited.  As the wait grew longer the air grew colder.  The cockpit
reported that they were having trouble with an air conditioning unit and should be resolved shortly.  Soon water
droplets were dripping from the condensation forming in the plane – like indoor rain - and everyone shivered from the
cold.  (Of course blankets were available – for a fee!  Thanks American Airlines.)  At the 2-hour delay mark the cockpit
told us to gather our personal belongings and head back to the terminal.  Back at the gate our vigil continued.  About
30 minutes later the problem was fixed and we were ready to go – almost.  Due to the length of the delay our
scheduled flight attendant crew had maxed out on their shift and could not fly.  So we had to wait for another flight to
arrive so that the airline could poach a new flight crew for us.  After 4 hours of waiting we were finally on our way.

Our wheels finally touched down in Boston at 11:15 p.m.  And my hotel’s free shuttle stopped running at 11:00 p.m.

Just another day in the friendly skies!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010 - Boston

It was classic case of “he said / she said”.

Back in February, my event planner (the person I hired to schedule tour dates and find sponsors) told me the Boston
Red Sox was the first team to confirm a date with the tour – June 29.  I vividly remembered the date because my
wedding anniversary is June 30 and the engagement in Boston meant my wife and I would likely be apart that day.  
But I knew Boston would be the signature appearance for the tour – an appearance at one of the highest profile teams
in MLB.

About a week before I left for my first road trip I called the Red Sox to confirm when and where I needed to be.  That’s
when I found out – the tour was not scheduled that day.  The Boston rep told me that June 29 was the team’s disability
awareness day celebration and that the PFA tour had been considered for the first pitch… but the team decided to go
with a local person instead.  He said he never confirmed the date with the tour's rep.  So I called my (former) event
planner and she insisted that he (Boston rep) had, indeed, said yes.

He said - she said - Tom gets screwed!  

I already had my plane tickets – non-refundable, of course.  So to skip Boston cost all much as much to go.  To make
amends, Boston provided me with a free ticket to the game and a chance to watch batting practice from the field.  
Since every home game is a sell-out, a free ticket is hard to come by, so I begrudgingly made my way to Fenway Park.

Rather than waste another $100 in cab fare to/from the stadium, I opted for the less glamorous but more economical
subway system, referred to simply as the “T”.  The closest station was about one mile from the hotel.  Once there I
solicited help from the transit officer on duty.   With her heavy Bostonian accent, I could hardly understand half of what
she said.  But I gathered enough info to purchase a Charlie Card (fare card) and head off towards the city.
For years I took the Metro – Washington, DC’s subway system – to/from work each day.  I guess I never truly
appreciated how lucky I was.

Boston’s T system reminded me of the New York City subway – only older.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Paul Revere
traveled on the T during his famous midnight ride.  The stations are dark, dreary, and very confusing.  And the subway
cars were all antiques.  Almost all of the riders seemed battered and bruised from months of sub-zero temperatures
and blizzard upon blizzard.  No one looked very happy - even though the temps were in the 80s that day.

I arrived at the Fenway station – an above-ground stop for the T n- located in an alley behind what appeared to be a
warehouse b - and had to walk quite a long distance before I reached the stadium. Unlike the stadiums in my previous
stops (in Tampa and Florida) Fenway Park is located smack dab in the middle of the city.  Were it not for signs and the
lights towering above, you wouldn’t even know the stadium was there.

I arrived around 1:30 p.m. but didn’t need to be there until 4:30.  After taking photos outside I decided to take the
stadium tour.  I was at the ticket office ponying up $12 for the tour when I heard another customer ask if there were any
tickets left for the day’s game.  “The only seats left start at $200,” the cashier replied.  Yikes - for a weekday game!  You
could sense the Red Sox mania starting to fill the air.

The tour took us through several seating areas throughout the stadium – from the cheap seats to the luxury seats.  
Normally you get to tour the seats above the green monster, the infamous left field wall, but the Tampa Bay Rays, the
visiting team, were taking batting practice, and the area was closed.

The tour talks all about the history of both the Red Sox and Fenway Park.  It was a great way to spend an hour and to
get some good photos.

After the tour I grabbed an early dinner then wandered around the souvenir stores and other vendors adjacent to the
stadium.  At 4:30 I reported to the stadium where I was lumped in with a group of people and herded onto the field.  
The Red Sox were still taking batting practice so the locals were transfixed with the action on the field.  It was fun to
see the faces of the little kids – and some big kids, too – who were nearly face-to-face with their favorite players and
team.  After about 30 minutes we were herded off the field and the next group was herded on.  I’d guess they pushed
nearly 500 fans on/off the field during batting practice.

From there I went to my seat – located in the 4th to last row in the infield grandstand along the third base side.  By the
time the first pitch was thrown the seats were packed.  And the people around me were, for lack of a better term, well
insulated for the winter months.  So I spent the first inning feeling like I was seated in the middle seat on an airplane.  
Having endured enough during this trip (delayed flight and no pitch) I decided to minimize the damage and head to the
concourse.  I watched a few innings of scoreless ball standing on my feet.  When I took a brief respite in an available
empty seat I was the recipient of many dirty looks and furrowed brows.  Apparently Fenway seats are not a commodity
to be taken lightly.  By the end of 4 scoreless innings I decided to abandon the game and head toward another Boston
institution – Cheers!

The television sitcom “Cheers” was based on a bar located at the intersection of Beacon and Charles Streets in
Boston.   I took the T from Fenway to Kenmore Square, walked past the Public Gardens, then pulled up a barstool in
the legendary tavern.  “I know it’s a real touristy thing to ask,” I said to the bartender.  But before I could finish my
sentence she said, “Sure, I’ll be happy to take a picture for you.”

So I didn’t get to throw out a first pitch in Boston, but I did get visit Fenway Park, experience Red Sox mania in person,
and get to visit the bar where everybody knows your name.

(For the record – the first pitch was thrown out by a 10-year-old boy from Boston who has autism and who survived
major heart surgery last December.)
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