We’re back after a marvelous vacation in New England. Made my first trip to Fenway Park–well, first to see a game anyway (that didn’t make MLBlogsphere), though. Fenway more than lived up to expectations. You will hear all about it in posts to come, of course, as I dig through my notes and photos to relive the experience.
Also made the trek to Walden Pond. Considering my health issues, the hike to Thoreau’s homestead was quite an accomplishment. Not quite a marathon, but more meaningful to me. There is something about seeing that site that is deeply moving to a writer and philosopher.
Speaking of running and accomplishments, the reason for the trip was my son and co-author here on Some Ballyard, who, as I’ve noted before is also a runner (you won’t find that out on MLBlogsphere), was graduating from the Naval Science Institute, where he excelled. That evening we went to the O-club (that’s Officer’s Club) to celebrate and watch the first game of the Yankees-Red Sox series. It is special to see a Boston game in New England, but even more special to see the future leaders who will bear the burden of defending this country graduate–and I’m not just talking about my son. All of those young men and women parading that day made me proud.
Then we took the kiddies to see the witches in Salem and to the Children’s Museum in Boston. Those of you who viewed The Easter Egg hunt photo album (which somehow got omitted from the list on MLBlogsphere) can imagine how much fun that was! Except for the wailing when we left the Children’s Museum, of course. It occurred to me that must be the standard response exiting the Children’s Museum. The little darlings must think they’ve been to heaven, only to be cast back down to earth.
Realizing how close Cooperstown was, I took an extra day and visited the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Renewed my love of the game. For the first time in a long time, baseball people treated me right. If you’ve never been, the people who work there are absolutely wonderful. One gentleman even ventured through the exhibits, seeking out me and everyone else who was there when the doors opened to inform us the theatrical presentation was starting–then led us all with a rousing chorus of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” when it was through. These people aren’t jaded and cynical; they seem to genuinely love baseball and baseball fans. Indeed, the best part of being at the Hall of Fame was looking around and realizing every person there was a real baseball fan.
I’ll post some photos soon. For now, just wanted to tip my cap and say hello…
— Michael Norton
As is always the case, we only recognize what we’ve lost after it is gone. Instead of inducting Buck O’Neil into the Hall of Fame during his lifetime, when he could have enjoyed it and shared that smile with us all, baseball is looking at finally doing the right thing posthumously. Tell me you didn’t see this coming. As I’ve said before, racism is alive and well in America.
Instead of looking at his not being inducted as a slight, O’Neil viewed the whole process as a celebration of a bygone era in baseball — an era of rich stories and great talent. He showed no bitterness, anger or hatred.
I never learned to hate," O’Neil said at the induction ceremonies. "I hate cancer. Cancer killed my mother. Ten years ago, cancer also took my wife. I hate AIDS. I had a friend who recently died of AIDS. But I can’t hate a human being."
It was O’Neil’s last public speech, and it was a fiery speech that further endeared him to people everywhere who long ago had learned to love O’Neil for the man he was.