April 2017

And Away We Go...

Bus to Victory
Duffy-led expedition triumphs again

It was an optimistic band of Fenway-bound BLOHARDS (pictured at left, click for larger view) that departed Westport promptly at 9:09 a.m. on Monday April 4. Being of delicate sensibilities, your correspondent is unable to recount doings on the all-male #1 bus, but will venture an opinion that the toilet was, by day's end, well trafficked and... untidy. The absence of a number of stalwarts -Julie Powers Killian, Joe Cosgriff (more below), NY State Red Sox Nation Governor Chris Wertz, and Triviameister John Quinn- served to allow a number of first-timers to revel in the Opening Day Bus ExperienceTM ("ODBE").

As is traditional, that Experience featured a veritable cornucopia of salty snacks and carbonated beverages, some malty; good fellowship; and video entertainment in the form of various Red Sox triumphs over the Yankees in 2004. Even knowing how it came out, the A-Rod facewash game never gets old. The Prime Directive (that malty and other fermented beverages not be consumed prior to arrival in Bridgeport unless strictly necessary) was, for the most part, observed, as were the rites attendant to the East Hartford Turnoff Ceremony.

Attention that might otherwise have paid to the ingestion of salty and malty sustanance was instead diverted to the interpretation of some cryptic iconography, (shown at right, ditto) which was observed in the toilet of the #2 bus. The most likely, albeit indelicate, interpretation is that the glyph is an exhortation for one gentleman not to urinate on another when both are occupying the toilet. This explanation is complicated by the fact that the size of the toilet would preclude any two creatures larger than, say, hobbits from simultaneously occupying the space. Hobbits being well-known for their aversion to fedoras, it seems unlikely that the message was directed at them. Happily, the group's inability to adhere to whatever protocol was called for by the mysterious symbol appears not to have had adverse consequences inasmuch as bus #2 arrived in Boston without incident.

Pregame ceremonies featured some hijinks by the Patriots and a fighter jet flyover, neither or which was observed by your correspondent who elected instead to partake of Indian food at the estimable India Quality restaurant in Kenmore Square. The BLOHARDS' seats at the front of Grandstand Section 3 were excellent; oriented towards home plate, little obstructed by poles and warmed by the late-day sun. The game itself was likewise excellent, featuring the victory we've come to take as our opening day due; a three-run bomb by Andrew Benintendi; a legged-out infield hit for Pablo Sandoval; and a nifty start by Rick Porcello.

Pursuant to the BLOHARDs' policy of the customer always being right, returnees to the bus who were in any way dissatisfied with their experience were encouraged to bring their concerns to busmeister Ray Duffy's attention. None did. The return trip to Westport went quickly, shortened as it was by David Ortiz's ALCS Game 4 2004 12th inning blast and Alex Rodriguez's Game 6 "Who, me?" act. 12 hours, almost to the minute, after departing Westport the group returned intact and victorious.

Lunch on Menu...
The schedule-maker has done the BLOHARDS no favors this season. Since the Sox do not come to New York until early June, the first luncheon of the season has been set for Wednesday, June 7. Location will likely be the Yale Club, although we are looking at an alternative venue, also on Vanderbilt Avenue on the west side of Grand Central Station.

Since the Sox' second and third visits to NYC take place during a) mid-August and b) Labor Day weekend, we are currently up in the air over whether to have a second luncheon that coincides with the Sox being in town. The words "Fridays in August" have historically resulted in attendance challenges, given the ambitious August vacation plans enjoyed by generations of happy BLOHARDS. In fact, three of our veteran members take credit for introducing the term "working from home" into accepted business lexicon.

Of course, should we suddenly receive commitments from, say, 100 BLOHARDS for an August 11 luncheon, a second event could be mounted in a New York minute. Also, we are exploring the possibility of an old-fashioned viewing party for the Friday, August 11th game in a watering hole TBD. We'll let you know via Facebook and email.

Tickets for the June 7th luncheon are available here. Expect poems, songs, prostate chatter, excuses, trivia, and inspiration from Messrs. Flavin, Pizzarelli, Randall, Wertz, Quinn, and Duffy, respectively.

Dues Due
Three strikes you're out
Whether you win or lose
Love is just like a baseball game
Three strikes you're out
Everybody's got to pay some dues.
"Love is Like a Baseball Game" by The Intruders

When BLOHARD President Jim Powers passed away in the fall of 2005, his left to the club a colorful history, a clear mission, stories sufficient for or a lifetime, and, improbably enough, a healthy bank account. This latter legacy was a tribute to Jim's having run a tight ship, and in particular to his frequent and effective exhortation that members pay their dues.

In the years subsequent to Jim's demise, his replacements' nautical slackness and more-than-occasionally money-losing lunches have combined to erode our club's fiscal cushion to the vanishing point.

The wolf now being at the door, management is resolved to once again emphasize the importance of the annual nominal ($20) dues payment in allowing our Club to cover the deficits incidental to its operation.

For the optimistic or the millennial, there is the acutarially advantageous $150 lifetime membership. For the man or woman who has everything, the $500 post-lifetime offering is unconditionally guaranteed to provide all of the rights and privleges appurtenant to BLOHARD membership for howsoeverlong the member shall inhabit the hereafter.

Dues may be conveniently paid by credit card on our website.

Nowlin At it Again
Our old buddy Dick Nowlin, who evidently doesn't have enough to do, has written another book (his gazillionth) entitled The BoSox Club: 50 Years. It is not only the definitive history of the Boston-based club that a wag once desribed as "BLOHARDS without the humor", but is also a survey course on the history of Red Sox supporter groups from the days of the Royal Rooters. The BLOHARDS even merit a chapter.

It's a great read, available as a physical thing, or an e-book on Amazon.

Out of the Mists of History...
Years on, justice still eludes Feller

Some time ago, Gary Titus came spoke at a BLOHARD lunch about his campaign to win admission to the Red Sox Hall of Fame for the team's late public address announcer Sherm Feller. In the ensuing years, two things haven't changed; Sherm is still uninducted, and the video Gary put together for our benefit still amuses. It bears a second look.

Papi Gets Behind Williams Doc
Also appearing at lunch, in this case last year, was documentarian Nick Davis who apprised us of his efforts to complete his film on Ted Williams. Slated to appear on PBS' American Masters series, the documentary is still a few hundred thousand dollars short of the amount necessary for completion. A good portion of that deficit stands to be closed on April 18 when David Ortiz, who has assumed an executive producer role in the project will appear at a "Cocktails and Clips" fundraiser in the Partners Suite at Fenway Park from 6:00 - 8:00PM. Big Papi would be delighted to have you join him.

Why not email Nick for more information? You can learn more about the film here.

Flavin Muses

Polymath poet, commentator, public-address announcer, journalist and playwright Dick Flavin (shown at left reciting poetry to rapt BLOHARDs) has long been a favorite of ours. Of late he's taken to writing a more-or-less weekly newsletter called Flavin's Musings. Mostly about baseball, muchly about the Red Sox, it is entirely delightful. Recent Musings have included an acount of his mischevious forming of an Ellis Kinder fan club as a youth, a consideration of how things would have unfolded if Willy Mays had played in Boston, and a recounting of the history of Casey at the Bat.

I bet if you email Dick, he'll put you on the distribution list. And speaking of Casey, if you've never read Garrison Keillor's "Road Game" version, you really ought to.

Cosgriff Corresponds
For the first time in forever, BLOHARD Assistant to the VP for Sustainability Initiatives Joe Cosgriff missed the home opener owing to his need to attend to what in the NHL would be described as "an upper body injury". He did send a letter to his compadres on Bus #2 in which he attributed his absence to the medical advice of a "crack team of so-called physicians" whose principal redeeming virtue was that "they accepted the BLOHARDS health plan."

Joe went on to state; "Currently, I am unable to taste food. For this reason, I look forward even more than usual to our luncheon at the Yale Club in June." He also ruminated on the cornucopia of snacks provided as part of the ODBE, and in particular on the honey pretzel nuggets, a longtime bete noire of his. He then concluded with an exhortation to express our appreciation to Ray Duffy, noting that "It's a thankless job, but that doesn't mean you can't thank him."

Joe anticipates two or three rehab starts emceeing fan club lunches in the Low-A minor leagues before rejoining us to preside over our June 7 affair. With an eye always on the prospects, Joe adds that we should "keep an eye on that Sale kid."