My Boston Weekend

2013 World Champions

Well, they did it. The Boston Red Sox dominated in the 6th game and won the World Series. Needless to say, the win was met with vigorous celebration here in the home of the Dropkick Murphys. The victory was marked with a parade on Saturday morning that ran through downtown Boston and brought out massive crowds to cheer and snap pictures of the conquering heroes.

But before that, I had my own unhealthy obsession to feed. Neko Case played the Orpheum Theater in support of her latest, superb album, The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You. This was my second time seeing her live, my first being on my birthday the year I lived in Nashville. The venues couldn’t have been more different*, but the show both times was excellent. It seems impossible, but her voice loses nothing in person, proving that some singers are the real deal.

Orpheum TheaterThe Worse Things Get

My one minor quibble is that she didn’t play The Worse Things Get… stand out track, “Nearly Midnight, Honolulu,” the mostly a cappella centerpiece and heart of the album. I was excitedly anticipating hearing the track live, but admittedly with the show that her and the band gave, it probably wouldn’t have fit well in the set. My heartbreak was mitigated, though, because as she did the first time I saw her, she ended the show (and second encore!) with my absolute favorite, “Star Witness.” This was the first song of hers I ever heard and I’ve been a devoted fan ever since.

Neko Psychedelia

After the show, I met some friends for drinks at a bar up my direction where, apparently, there was some sort of “holiday” going on that involved people dressing up in costumes. Quite odd.

The next morning, the parade began at 10, which meant my roommate and I had to be down to the line by 9. Now, as I said in my last post, I am by no means claiming to be a Red Sox fan. I’m not jumping on the bandwagon for a year, just to jump off when I move to New York. Whatever city I’m in, I can usually work up some rudimentary enthusiasm for the home team, and this was no different. But I’ve never been in a city for a World Series celebration, so I wasn’t going to skip out on a chance to see the festivities.

It wasn’t exactly Mardi Gras in New Orleans (too many sober people), but the crowd was hearty and excited, and we were gifted a idyllic, warm fall day for our troubles.

Boston in the Fall

What more can be said about a parade? Here are some photos:

   Bearded DuckHallelujah    ShoemobileJohn Lackey's Blue SkiesThe Trophy

With a mix of Halloween Hedonism and World Series Inebriation, I have no doubt my fellow Bostonians are not going to enjoy this Monday very much. And I’m sure they wouldn’t change a single thing.

Congratulations to the Boston Red Sox. The less said about the Celtics, probably the better.




*I’m getting old, because I officially prefer concerts in halls with seats to standing in bars. At least for bands I really care about.

Boston During the World Series

The last time I truly cared about baseball, I was 11-years-old and Major League Baseball was mired in a work stoppage due to a financial dispute between owners and players. I was too young to understand the complexities of the dispute or what it all meant, but all I knew was a bunch of already well-paid professional athletes were not playing the game they call a job because of money. I didn’t care anymore.

Before that, though, I was a baseball fanatic, a loyal fan of the Kansas City Royals, and specifically George Brett, Kevin Seitzer and, most notably, the inimitable Bo Jackson.

Bo Jackson Nike - The Ball Player

Since the mid-90s, I’ve rarely sat to watch a full game. A few times I’ve gone to a game in person, and on occasion I’ll watch a couple innings of a game, but ever since I was a teenager, baseball in particular and sports in general just haven’t grabbed my attention like they did as a child (college basketball and the Kansas Jayhawks being the massive exception).

Fast forward to my year in Boston. The Red Sox are dominating in the postseason and as I type this, Boston is leading the St. Louis Cardinals 3 games to 2 in the World Series, with a decisive run-lead in the 6th game of the series. I’m sitting here in my living room with my roommate with some whiskey and peanuts and I’m watching the game. And I’m rooting for the Sox to win it all.

Now, that may make me the very definition of a fair weather fan, but don’t misunderstand me: I’m rooting for Boston to win it all not because I like a bandwagon, but because I want to be here in the city for the celebration and to see one of the great, historical Baseball cities and teams do something they haven’t done in almost a century: Win the title at home.

It’ll be a truly historical moment. Like being in San Francisco the night Barack Obama was elected to his first term, hearing the mixture of cheers and protests as the famously liberal city celebrated the election while bemoaning the passage of Prop 8, the notorious anti-gay marriage bill. Or like working in New Orleans during a celebrity-packed, super-sized Mardi Gras that was split in half by the Super Bowl (another sports event I don’t care about). My interest isn’t so much in the events (though I was heavily invested in the 2008 election), but in the collective reactions of the populace.

There is no limit of cold pills who will sneer at something – anything – enjoyed by the masses, but such kneejerk contrarianism misses out on one of the fundamental human experiences, the collective celebration.

If Boston wins the series, Fenway will be a warzone of alcohol and raging serotonin. And I… I won’t be there. I’ll be in my apartment in Allston drinking whiskey. But with Halloween tomorrow and the weekend right after, the celebration isn’t going to end tonight. The city’s collective hangover on Monday morning is going to be brutal.

Not only would this win be an historic moment for Boston, it will likely be a momentous night in the life of many fans. Somebody’s going to sleep with that Special One tonight. Somebody is going to get engaged. Somebody is going to be conceived. Somebody is going to spend the night in jail (well, probably a lot of somebodies). Somebody is going to end up in the hospital. For some people in Boston, this may be the greatest night of their life (assuming the game keeps going as it is), and for others, what will start out as a great night will, due to too much alcohol, celebrating and/or emotions, end in misery.

Meanwhile, for some guy in Los Angeles, this night won’t even register a blip in his memory.

No, I’m not a fan of the Boston Red Sox, or even baseball. If Boston were to unfortunately lose this series, I’d be mildly disappointed for a few hours and then I’d probably never think about it again. But if they win, I’ll drink a lot of whiskey (I mean, more than my normal Wednesday load) and enjoy the residual ecstasy that will be seeping out of every bar, alleyway and pore in the city. To be here in Boston during this will be an experience. A communal experience. A human experience.

And I’m a fan of those.

Fenway Park Years