Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Lie: Cold Times

A walk-off win on a Papi homer. Tonight we party like it's a comically recent year. We've now won seven of nine, and we go for a four-game sweep of the Blowtown Honky Hose tomorrow.

I don't know if there was anyone who didn't believe Alex Gonzalez was the best fielding shortstop we've had for many years, but if there was, or if you're a person who didn't follow the team when we had him before, I hope you're realizing what we've been talking about. As a bonus, he's hitting the ball, including a home run tonight.

And Wake was golden in his return.


As I watched Victor Martinez and David Ortiz doing wacky hi-fives/jinks in the dugout after Papi's first dong tonight, I thought of how maybe some of David's older teammates might be jealous. As in, Hey, I've known him longer than you, New Guy! And it made me think back to Little League, when Fran Bogle came to town. His family moved to Ridgefield, and was placed on my team, and rumor had it he was good. But not only that, he was a lefty like me (though I throw right), and he pitched and played first, like me. So of course I had feelings of possible spotlight-stealing and/or on-field up-showing. (Something Papelbon recently hinted at, or didn't or whatever.) That got me looking up Fran Bogle. I didn't turn up much, but thinking about Ridgefield in general made me go to a site I go to frequently--the Ridgefield Press obituary page. And at the to of the page: James Fransen! Why the exclamation point? Because Mr. Fransen came to our town when I was in Little League to take over the whole operation (possibly in the Fran Bogle role to whoever ran it before?). He'd come from Norwalk Little League, where he had a team that went to, or got close to going to, Williamsport. Or something like that. Suddenly we Ridgefield Little League All-Stars felt like we weren't just gonna lose our two games to teams from Stamford and go home. With Fransen at the helm, we were going to Williamsport.

We never came close--but hey, at least we got long summer vacations. Fransen gave us hope, though, that there could be baseball beyond Fitzgerald Field. In fact, under his reign, "Fitz" (my "home field"--walking distance from my house) became an All-Star tournament caliber field, when only Aldrich had been that before. So, rest in peace, Mr. Fransen. One day Ridgefield will make it to Williamsport and win it all for you, Billy Zeyer, Ray Altier, Tom Jones, and that old umpire who'd say "watch it, son" on inside pitches.

Maybe it seemed a little random when you wrote this, but as Jim Fransen's son, I appreciate your words. It makes us happy that you remember the impact that he had on Little League among other things.
Sorry for your loss, Jeff. I'm glad you found this post.

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Location: Rhode Island, United States