Greetings from Shelburne, Vermont.
October is traditionally the best time of the year for my wife Peg and me to take a vacation (preferably before the World Series) and this year is no exception. The 8th-ranked University of Cincinnati football team has a bye this weekend, so we’ve decided to take our 3-year old son Sam out of the country for the first time and drive to Montreal.
Since five hour car rides aren’t ideal for Sam, we stopped slightly past the half-way point and spent a night at Shelburne Farms. It’s a magnificent old inn with a gourmet restaurant that’s located on a sprawling farm so it’s great for adults and kids. Sam spent a few hours playing with the animals and the farm equipment while we relaxed. If you live in New England and have small children, I highly recommend it.
Before Sam was born, we traveled far and wide in October which can be tricky for two fanatical baseball fans – especially when the Red Sox qualify for the playoffs. Peg is a life-long member of Red Sox nation.
In 2003 for example, we were in Tokyo visiting Peg’s brother (who worked there for a few years) when the Red Sox met the Yankees in the ALCS. That meant getting up at the crack of dawn to watch the games on Japanese TV.
The most amusing part of the experience was what took place during the commercial breaks. Instead of showing the advertisements, a camera would spend those two minutes locked in on Hideki Matsui since he was the only Japanese player on either team at the time.
When the Yankees were getting ready to hit, we saw Matsui in the dugout, fiddling with his bats, talking to teammates, picking his nose, etc . . .
When the Yankees were in the field, we got to see Hideki play catch in outfield the entire time (isn’t that exciting!) until the first pitch was delivered.
I imagine now, if we watched a Red Sox playoff game in Japan, we’d see a ton of Daisuke Matsuzaka between innings with small doses of Hideki Okajima and Takashi Saito mixed in.
That series, of course, ended with Aaron “Bleeping” Boone’s home run off of Tim Wakefield in Game 7 that sent the Yankees to the World Series. I’m here to tell you it hurt just as much 13 time zones away.
In 2004, we were on a safari in South Africa when the Red Sox and Yankees met again in the ALCS. This time we had no access to a TV which seemed like a good thing when the Sox fell behind three games to none. But we were able to see the scores on a computer, and as the Red Sox began their historic comeback we became increasingly determined to keep up with the latest news.
But here was the problem. Remember the first time you ever looked at the internet and how long it took to download material? Well, imagine that only 50 times slower! Simply getting the score took about 90 minutes, so we would start the download before going out in the bush to observe elephants, lions, leopards, giraffes, and zebras in their native habitat and then hope that the score was on the screen by the time we got back.
It was quite possibly the most spectacular trip we’ve ever taken, but I’m happy we were back home in time to see Boston win its first World Series title in 86 years.
We’ll watch the first few games of this year’s ALDS between the Red Sox and Angels in Montreal (I wonder if they’ll show Canadian Jason Bay during the breaks?), but we’ll be back home in time for the ALCS and World Series if the Red Sox advance.
I wouldn’t want Sam to be out of the country if the Red Sox win their second World Series title in his lifetime.