"This jersey that we're wearing today it doesn't say 'Red Sox.' It says, 'Boston.' ...This is our effing city. And nobody is going to dictate our freedom. Stay strong."
It's been a trying week here at the Tavern. On Sunday, I was visiting beautiful Washington DC on the last day of the Cherry Blossom festival and made a crack about the scene being “the bomb.” (see definition #2). The next day, I wouldn’t have been so careless with my phraseology. Things have been tense in the 617 this past week, but as Lanz and Harry among others have demonstrated, Boston is a special place and there’s no place on earth I would rather call my hometown. Friday was particularly intense - with the entire city of Watertown locked down.
I worked for the city of Watertown for close to a decade (not in, FOR) - I love the place and her people. She holds a special place in my heart and I'm happy the deal was sealed a few blocks from my old office. You won't normally see me cuss here, but I'll rationalize it by way of the fact I didn't actually say the following:
David Ortiz, in the pre-game ceremony Saturday, basically laid it out there: "This is OUR effing City." You know what I love about that? This is a guy who lives in Green Bay, is from the Dominican, and he has the moral authority to call Boston his city. Boston is a place, it's people love her, but being a Bostonian is a state of mind and everyone is invited to be one. A team that some 70 years ago, had first dibs but refused to sign Jackie Robinson and was the last team to sign a player of color, sends out David Ortiz to honor the city and proclaim it his. We're a different place now, and I love the city Boston has become. God Bless Boston, God Bless the USA. And some phat dap (a term shamelessly pilfered from Black Bandit) for the FCC who is giving Papi a free ride on his expletive.
Since I drove past M&T Stadium on my way home from DC, I’d like to move forward to the NFL season (August IS only 4 or so months away) and to the 410, from where the Ravens will NOT begin their Super Bowl defense, but will do so in Denver, bucking the tradition that the Super Bowl Champion kicks off the season at home. Now, in my opinion, every team plays 8 away games so it’s not like they’ve been given a raw deal on that front, but it definitely compromises the ceremony the NFL wants and the Super Bowl Champion has rightfully earned – I mean, you SHOULD start the season where the last season ended. It’s a great story line, if nothing else, and really robs the game of what it does best – the pageantry. Growing up Catholic, pageantry and ceremony are important to me.
It turns out that the Orioles have a game scheduled that day and the details just couldn’t be worked out to make the situation work. I can’t believe I’m agreeing with Rex Ryan here, but seriously? The Orioles have 81 home games and 4-months to work out a plan – and it’s not like they should be planning a tough pennant race over there at Oriole Park. I hope the game is rained out.
M&T Stadium and Oriole Park sit in the same complex, and share parking lots – yes the logistics would be difficult, but you’d like to think someone at some point would’ve considered the idea that the two teams might play at the same time. With this in mind, I think I might actually root for a deep run by the Orioles just to spite the Ravens. Of course, Oriole Park was there well before the Ravens Stadium was so this was a consideration the football minds should have taken into account.
As an aside, I drove past Giants stadium July 2008 and they had made it very clear that THEY were the Super Bowl Champions. As of this weekend, the Ravens had no such pronouncement outside their home stadium.
Now, given the Ravens came into existence through the generosity or treachery (depending if you live in Maryland or Ohio) of Art Modell, it only seems fitting then to discuss the current Browns ownership. Jimmy Haslam owns not only the Cleveland Browns (or more appropriately, Cleveland Whites – I can’t remember the last time I actually saw the team take the field in Brown uniforms), but Pilot Flying J – the very truck stop gas-station at which I stopped to fill up my rental car on my way home from DC.
It seems the FBI has spent a bunch of time compiling a case against Flying J for fraud relating to discounts and credits or what not for diesel fuel. I had no idea the two were related. I know three things about the company: 1) the hottest cup of coffee I have ever purchased came from a Pilot station in Drums, PA – if water boils at 212 F, this stuff had to have been 211; 2) There’s a Pilot station at the Massachusetts/Connecticut border that prices its gas at least $0.20 cheaper than any station on either side of the border; 3) Jimmy Haslam, whose family owns Flying J, has apparently not only been screwing the fans of the Browns, but also truckers on diesel fuel. Other than the good people of Boston, I’ve come to learn there’s few folks you want to screw with less than Truckers and Browns fans and this cat has hit them both. Dealing with the departure of Phil Dawson will be the least of this dude’s problems.
Drive down the interstate at night. There’s no one but truckers out there. You learn the language and you play the game if you do this enough, so you know the rules. Now, get in the middle lane and run just about the speed limit. It won’t be long before you have a semi rolling up behind you. First, he’ll flash lights. Then maybe a horn. Then the relationship gets a little more real. Now, hit your brakes like you have some DB riding your bumper. Have a guess how that cat responds to that action? You don’t mess with a trucker.
Stay strong my Tavern dwellers - grab up some Fred Lite, watch the weeks' sports and remember that this is the best place on the planet.