Tuesday, January 24, 2006


I was once at some dude's house in Kentucky, and on his wall I saw a framed piece of the North Carolina State basketball court. He was a Wolfpack, no, a Wolf...uh, he was One of a Pack of Wolves, and had purchased a piece of the court that Jimmy V once coached on when a new floor was installed in Raleigh.

Another time, I was at a friend's house, and was surprised to see two stadium chairs in her rec-type room. She told me they were from the old yankee Stadium.

In both cases--yes, even in the Dunbar one--I was completely jealous. I am a succer for souvenirs.

I always wished I could somehow get a piece of Fenway Park. (Wait, I have, actually. Paint chips from chairbacks and dirt from the warning track from when I took the tour. Both of which lived in my jeans for the whole 2004 season. That's what that little tiny pocket within the front pocket is for.)

But I mean a real piece of the park. When I saw a bunch of red seats lying there, ripped out, by the first base dugout, on that same tour, my first thought was to call the team and see, ya know, if they were still usin' 'em.

In fact, a friend of mine--Dunbar supporter--used to say, when we were kids, "When they tear down yankee Stadium, I want the 'Y' from the sign on the outside of the stadium." So maybe that rubbed off on me. (He has since died. I plan on writing to Steinbrenner and asking if I can get the 'Y', since they actually are going to tear it down. Maybe I could present it to his family. To which they'd probably tell me that that's awfully nice, but that they don't really have much use for a huge letter 'Y'.) Or maybe just being a child of the eighties made me want to constantly "get stuff," no matter how monetarily worthless.

But the Red Sox organization was not the friendliest back in the day. Other teams let little kids run the bases after games. At Fenway, no one was allowed on the field. Ever. So the chances of them actually giving fans any artifacts that may have broken off the old girl were slim and whitman.

You know where this is going. When I heard they were going to be selling pieces of the infield, I was overjoyed. A piece of Fenway. Available to me! Move aside, bobble-head Mr. T. and Smurfs lunchbox, we've got a new centerpiece, I thought. I even wrote on this blog that I would be buying a swath of the famous blades.

As it turned out, the price was a little too high. $150 for a square foot or so. Add that to the fact that my Manhattan apartment is not adorned with a garden, let alone a yard, and they'd lost themselves a sale. However, I just realized how cool it be to have bought a strip and planted it in Central Park. Or, better yet, wait until they're building the new Dunbar Dome, sneak in one night and christen it with a piece of Fenway sod.

But I didn't think of those ideas in time, so I didn't purchase the grass. But, I, and I guess I'm in the vast minority, was very appreciative of the sod sale. They were taking it out anyway, and Larry said, Hey, let's see if our fans would like to buy this stuff. And I give him credit for that. It would be one thing if they replaced the infield every year, selling the old at a steadily higher price year after year. But it was a one-time thing, people like memorabilia, and, as ticket sales have shown, have lots of money and enjoy spending it.

And the money went right back into the team. If you have proof otherwise, show me. I never heard anyone make fun of the Souvenir Store for selling Doug Mirabelli's cracked bats for $200. (Yeah, I thought about buying those, too.) And it goes right down to T-shirts and the Red Sox Nation Card. It's all the same. It's all stuff you can buy because you like the team. I'm surprised no one made fun of Larry for allowing shirts with player's names and numbers to be sold: Oh my god! Does he think we think we'll be asked to play if we have this shirt on? That Lucchino is Satan!

This front office, the one that gave us a championship, gets criticized as much as the players do. That's everyone's right, and I'll always be glad to be a fan of a team where it means that much to everyone. But I honestly think they've done a great job. I'm so glad Theo's back. Not just because I freakin' love Theo, but because it should get a lot of people off the backs of Lucchino, Henry, and the third guy.

And, of course, I just wish those who are pessimistic could all at least pretend to be optimistic, if only to give Dunbar fans reason to be afraid. They should be still crying in their soup over '04 and their decidedly not-better-than-us '05, but we're giving them reason to gloat about off-field crap. That's another reason Theo coming back is a great thing: For any Dunbar fans who acted like we're gonna finish last solely because Theo left.

That's just my opinion. One person's Ace Frehley is another person's Peter Criss, as Dennis Miller once said, before he turned into a right-wing boob.

How do you go from being the hippest cat around to being a right-wing boob? Dennis Miller broke my heart.

Anyhoo...I thought I was the only one who appreciated the Sox's (and I guess more specifically LL's) marketing techniques as of late.

I often say, "These guys aren't stupid. They KNOW their target audience very well". To which people complain to me that they're raping the fans. I definitely don't see it that way. IF you don't want a piece of sod, no one is making you by the damn thing. I wish I had the sod.

Of course, this comes from someone who just bought TWO different items off of ebay (a baseball AND a photo of "the slap") just because Bronson Arroyo signed them "Nice Try, ARod!".
I own a piece of the old Green Monster from back in 1976 when the Sox resurfaced the Wall; they chopped up the old plating into small pieces and mounted it on plaques; I think they sold the pieces for $10 each and gave the proceeds to the Jimmy Fund. I keep it today on a bookshelf with some various other Sox memorabilia, including a Dwight Evans paycheck from '78 that I got on eBay. I was big into Sox stuff on eBay about 5 years ago, the craziest thing that I bought was Don Buddin's game-worn uniform shirt from 1956. The cool thing is that he wore #24 before Dewey and Manny.
If they're still selling the turf, a square foot is a big piece of sod. Get 9 people, include yourself, which makes 10 at $15 a pop, and then carefully cut it up. Each recipient can plant it and it will multiply. Count me in, although the distribution part of my idea might kill some of the pieces. Oh well, I'd rather have a 2006 World Series Fenway ticket stub.

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Location: Rhode Island, United States