Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Kazoo Guy is Still at Fenway Park!

I don't sit in the Bleachers that often when I visit Fenway Park, anymore.  Nowadays, I go with the kids who are always looking for foul balls or autographs.  And I need to be able to see the game with my terrible eyesight.  These two ingredients do not lend themselves to an evening in the bleachers.  Back when I was in school, my buddies and I would always scam seats in the bleachers.  Back then, the tickets were cheap and the beer was plentiful.  When the Red Sox came back to play after the 1995 strike, the ownership group even sliced the ticket prices in half for those bleacher seats.  We went every chance that we got back then. 

But then jobs, wives and kids made going to Fenway an annual tradition, instead of a weekly tradition and my time spent near the Williams Red Seat dropped considerably.  The last time I was in the bleachers, in fact was about 5-6 years ago when I went with a couple of friends of mine to see the Sox play...the Angels, I think.

But never mind those details.  One thing that I vaguely remember about those seats in the bleachers was the sight of this guy with a Kazoo always trying to get the Red Sox - and us bleacher bums - to rally.  If the Red Sox got a couple of guys on base, the Kazoo guy would stand up and play his Kazoo proudly.  I thought it was amusing and made a mental note to revisit this guy the next time I was in the Bleachers for a game.

Boston, MA.  6pm.  Lo and behold, that next time was last night.  A couple of friends of mine invited me to the game against the Rangers.  No work, no spouse and no children to be found.  Just a couple of old friends and some ice cold beers (well somewhat cold beers, we're at Fenway after all).  And by luck, our seats were about 14 or 15 rows behind the Visitor's bullpen.  The weather was a little off, so the question became whether we would see the "Kazoo Guy" this time around.  I even made a crack about it to my friends.  My memory of that last game here was not of the score or even the team the Red Sox played, it was of this guy who played a Kazoo with red socks pinned to his hat.

It was a long time ago that I saw this guy at Fenway. And I don't remember exactly where I was sitting that day all those years ago.  So I thought it would be pretty funny if he was still here trying to rally the (often drunk) troops. I told my friends to keep an ear and eye out.  It would make for a good laugh.

As we sat down in our seats, I thought about a lot of things, one of which was that I would have to wait for a rally to start to see if this guy still came to the games.  After about 10 minutes, I found out that I would not have to wait for that rally to start after all.  Unless there was a Red Sox player with the last name of "Kazoo" who had his jersey purchased by this older gentlemen, I think I found the right guy when he sat down.  He was sitting about 2 rows ahead of us. I deftly pointed out to my friends that this guy was still here and we had that good laugh.  I even snapped the picture above (pretending to take a picture of the field, of course).

During the couple of times that the Red Sox were rallying (they were down most of the game), there he was doing his duty, Just like a fife and drum before the scene of a battle, the Kazoo Guy stood up on his seat, played Garry Glitter's "Rock and Roll (Part 1) on his kazoo, rallied the nearby fans with a couple of shouts of "Hey" and then pointed at the security guard near our section, ostensibly to thank him for not making him sit down.  It was perfectly short and left us wanting more.  He went on to do this a couple of more times.  To no avail it turned out as the Red Sox lost 10-7. 

And we had a couple of more laughs.  I'm going to have to take the kids here next time.  Foul balls and eye sight be damned.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Harlem Globetrotters 2014 - Where is Special K?

Welcome back Trotters' fans!  Here we are again for the fifth installment of the JMR Harlem Globetrotters blog!  See, every year since 2010, the family and I have witnessed the glory that is the Harlem Globetrotters.  Now originally, we went to the Globetrotters because we had nothing else to do on Spring weekends between basketball and baseball.  We were looking to just pass the time.  After having been entertained by the dunkers, the ball handlers and the showmen every year since, this is a destination now for the JMR family. Not a way to pass the time, it is now the highlight of the early Spring season.

My kids are frontrunners too, and not surprisingly, the Globetrotters are undefeated in the five games we have seen.  C knows what the real deal is, but G and DLG think that they are honest to goodness good luck charms.  They don't ask me who I think is going to win anymore, the only question the boys asked me on the way in was whether we would see Special K or Big Easy - their favorites from the last two games we went to.  Mom and DLG were mostly disinterested observers.

Because of our schedules this year, we had to see the Saturday night game.  While not ideal with the kids, we thought that we would see the best that the Globetrotters had to offer.  The anticipation was building as we took our seats.

Boston, MA 7:30pm.  As the Global All-Stars came out to warm up, I was struck by how ragged they looked.  Usually these guys can play ball and then they have to let up to let the Globetrotters win at the end of the game (err, I mean they run out of gas as the game wears on).  But this team could not shoot.  Basketball clanged off rim after rim.  They were stretching like old men on a Sunday morning shoot around.  Jesus, it looked like they just picked 8 guys up from Causeway Street to play tonight.

The boys didn't care though because we weren't there to see them play, we were there for the Globetrotters.  As they were introduced, we all noticed that there was no Special K, and no Big Easy.  I was unsure who the Showman was going to be.  I went to the Globetrotters' Website to see if I could tell from the roster who the Showman was going to be.  I couldn't tell from the website either.  All I know is that G was disappointed though that neither Big Easy nor Special K would be there.

"But they were soooo funny, Dad!" G reminisced.

New blood is good for everyone though, I thought to myself as we sat down to watch the game.

A couple of thoughts about the game.
  • Hi-Lite was the Showman this year, it turned out.  I remember him as one of the featured players a couple of years ago so obviously they promote from within, just like State Street. 
  • Little Globie looked especially creepy this year.  I'm unsure if they created a new mascot or if I had never noticed him before, but man, does he need a makeover.
  • Big Globie was a hit, as usual.  I still crack up when he falls down to that Chumbwamba song, "I Get Knocked Down."
  • They had some different twists on the changes to the game.  No more penalty box, but they had the "Trick Shot Challenge" (Funny, none of the All Stars were asked to make a trick shot, just the Globetrotters), wear the orange shirt and make double the points, and a spin on the make it take it game where missed shots resulted in the player being sent to the bench.
  • The Trick shots involving the foot dunk was impressive.
  • The four point shot never gets old.  No one can make them despite the fact that the shots are never defended.
  • The instant replay trick was impressive.  I liked the touch of substituting the basketball with a beach ball so it looked like the ball was going in slow motion as well.
Needless to say, the Globetrotters won going away.  86-70.  And as with every year, I have to talk the three kids from buying a basketball, program or jersey. And I have to tell them that we cannot see them again until next year.  The kids tucked that information away until next March when we do this all over again.  And I wouldn't have it any other way.