NOT A ROAD TRIP, AN ODYSSEY
The Royals second road trip of 2013 will never be forgotten. It involved a little great weather, a lot of bad weather, a lot of good baseball and one manhunt that shutdown all of Boston. On the field the Royals won 4 and lost 3. Any winning road trip is considered successful. This one was against very good teams in very tough venues for visiting teams. But the Boston experience made it forever memorable.
In Atlanta the weather was warm and the Braves were hot. We played two games against the Braves. Before Game 2 I had my first opportunity to meet Bo Jackson, who still receives votes on the Royals Hall of Fame ballot. He was recently judged to be THE Athlete of the 20th Century by ESPN. Nuff said. He threw out the first pitch on Opening Day in Chicago, as well as for our day game in Atlanta.
Of course Atlanta is a special place for Ned Yost and Jeff Francoeur, among others. Jeff was born and raised in the area and still lives there. He had a team party at his house while we were there. And as a former Brave, and Braves first round draft pick, he is always in demand by autograph seekers and well wishers.
In Boston things were much different. In front of our hotel CNN and MSNBC, among many other networks, set up shop 24/7 to cover the Boston bombing. The bombs went off just a block away from our hotel (2 days before we got to Boston). The city was still in a state of shock over what had happened. And every network in the world was there it seemed.
Streets were closed off right across the street from our hotel as FBI and other investigators went over the bombing area with fine-tooth combs. There were many memorials set up as well. It was an eerie feeling and setting in what what is normally an area with lots of hustle and bustle and tourists.
Before the city shutdown on Friday, I enjoyed dinner with relatives, several of whom live near the site of the bombings. Terry, Andrew, Bill, Feryal and John.
Fenway Park is now 101 years old and ceremonies/Opening Days are always big there. On Saturday April 20th the city of Boston, all of New England and the whole country tuned in to see Boston rally around their team and celebrate the end of the fear that had gripped the area for several days.
Of course David Ortiz got a lot of attention for his rallying cry for Boston fans. His choice of language was jarring to a lot of people, but locals seemed fine with it, after all the city had been through the previous few days. The FCC gave him and all of those broadcasting his remarks live over the air a pass under the circumstances.
The surprise of the day was when Neil Diamond, whose song “Sweet Caroline” is played during every home game with fans singing along, showed up in person to lead the crowd. Was a very special moment and the timing was perfect.
Of course we had an off day built in before each series began…in Atlanta…in Boston…in Detroit…then had the cancellation in Boston because of the manhunt…then (of course) we had a rainout in Detroit…but we finally got to play again. Splitting what was reduced to a 2-game series. So in a total of 11 days, we saw baseball on only 6 of them. A lot of sitting and waiting…but in the end a successful trip and one none of us will ever forget.