Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Old Saybrook! There, I said it. Every year I talk about my favorite All-Star Game memory. This year, I'll go ahead and tell it again. No twist...just the same story. Again. Here we go:

My family used to go to Old Saybrook, on the Connecticut shore, for a few days each summer. My grandpa's cottage was there, and when we'd arrive, he'd have hidden bags of half-dollars around the yard for my me and my sister to find. It was the type of place where you parked your car on the grass, you showered in a stall outside, and you had to say "blue" if you accidentally said "red"*. The little TV was out on the back porch, and unlike our big TV at home, it got TV-38 out of Boston. It was always summer at that cottage.

But there wasn't quite enough room to sleep four more people, so we'd always get a room at the Heritage Motor Inn, just up the street on the Post Road. In the 80s, this place had all the amenities the 70s could offer. I can still smell the AstroTurf. Or was that the stale soda at the bottom of the Coke machine? Or the newsprint as we'd read the Red Sox boxscore in the paper by the pool. Ah, that's what it was--I love the smell of chlorine in the morning....

So there we were at the Heritage on a July night in 1983. I was 7 years old. Five days earlier I was at Yankee Stadium with my dad and two T-ball buddies and their dads. We saw the Red Sox lose a slugfest from the upper deck that night. Three days later, Independence Day, my friend's older brother was at the Stadium and saw a no-hitter. I listened from home as Dave Righetti shut down the Sox. That's how the first half ended. So we wouldn't see any Red Sox games on our vacation, but we were just in time for the All-Star Game.

Grandpa's TV required an earpiece at night*, so that wasn't really an option for watching the event. So my dad and I walked from the Heritage's coveted Room 12 (there were only 12 rooms, #12 was a double) over to the where Si (Cy?), the owner, lived, with hopes that he'd let us watch his TV. The S-man (C-man?) delivered.

We were excited to be watching Jim Rice--but also Fred Lynn, who was no longer with the Red Sox, but was a favorite of mine for years even at that point. I was calling him Fred Lynnstone by age 3. And I have it on tape. Freddy came up with the bases loaded in the third. No one had ever hit a grand slam in an All-Star game before, but Lynn did it that night in Chicago, and at the Heritage Motor Inn. Our American Leaguers also broke a record that night, scoring 13 runs. And on top of it all, we beat the NL for the first time since 1971 (when Reggie was hitting transformers, not yet stirring drinks), four years before I was born.

And there it is, my favorite All-Star memory. Hope you're enjoying the game, from whichever motor inn you're in.

*things are a little different when you've got an autistic relative around

Postscript: NL wins tonight in a kind of boring game. Hughes gets the loss and A-Rod doesn't play, so those are some bright spots. The one play where something actually happened, I missed, because some asshole set off a cherry bomb on our street. That's what Kim said it was--I thought it was a nuclear bomb, it scared the crap out of me. When we came back to the TV, all these NL guys were crossing the plate. Oh well.

I remember :

- watching that game (although I had a 9 PM bedtime and never got to stay up to watch the entire thing)

- listening to the Righetti game on the radio

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Location: Rhode Island, United States