Boston, Massachusettes

Friday, August 10, 2007 - Sunday, August 11, 2007

Boston is well within our 'driving circumference' as far as road trips go, but for some reason neither Jill nor I had ever pressed to visit Beantown. Be it because it's in 'New England', and we typically don't like that area of the country for one reason or another (mostly because they quite literally roll up the sidewalks at 9:00 every night), or because Boston sports teams had never been our favorites (usually the Boston teams were hated rivals of our New York teams). Opinion wise, that all changed with this trip however, and Boston could fast become one of our more favorite travel destinations. We were pleasantly surprised by how clean the city was and how friendly the people were that we met. Like many other big cities these days, I'm sure that has a lot to do with the fact that major urban areas across the country are trying to make their cities more tourist friendly. Tourist friendly equals the almighty tourist dollar!

The trip was a birthday present for Michael, much like last years trip to Brooklyn and Flushing. We tried to get tickets for a Red Sox game, but they are just to difficult to get through ticketmaster, and to expensive to buy through StubHub. So, we came up with an "alternative" - a day at Fenway called "The Futures at Fenway". In one day, the Red Sox had two of their affiliates play a game at Fenway Park, and the seats were a lot easier (and cheaper) to come by than a regular MLB game.

To add some further historic authenticity to our trip, Jill made reservations at the Omni Parker House, the hotel famous for the Parker House Rolls as well as the Boston Cream Pie! We started our drive on Friday morning after I got out of work, stopping along the way at the rest area along the thruway in Albany, and once again at a rest area along the Mass Turnpike for lunch (Papa Gino's Pizza - yum!!). With a slight 'detour', we were able to find our hotel where we promptly valeted the car.

After getting checked in to our room, we headed out of the hotel and followed the "Freedom Trail" down to Quincy Market and Faneuil Hall. After looking through many of the shops there, we walked along the Freedom Trail until we ended up in Boston's North End, the traditional Italian neighborhood. We wandered through the Old North Church and saw Paul Revere's house before settling on G'VAnnis, an Italian restaurant on Prince Street that had been recommended to us by some of Jill's Disneymooner friends. After dinner we walked through an Italian Festival going on near the restaurant before walking back to the hotel.

We had made some purchases along the way, so we stopped by the room for a few minutes and then headed back out. We made our way through Boston Common, the Public Garden, and then crossed over a foot bridge to the Hatch Memorial Shell, before backtracking and making our way to the hotel once again, calling it a night.

Saturday morning we were up and out with breakfast at Breuger's Bagels which was down the street from the hotel. After a quick breakfast, we headed to the "T" - Boston's version of a subway.

Sea Dogs walk off at Fenway
August 11, 2007

Jay Johnson stroked a two-run walk-off double in the ninth inning as Portland edged Harrisburg, 12-11, on Saturday during the second annual Futures at Fenway.

With the Sea Dogs (62-54) trailing, 11-9, Andrew Pinckney singled, Iggy Suarez walked and Zach Borowiak reached on a sacrifice bunt to load the bases. Jeff Natale walked and, after David Trahan replaced Senators reliever Alex Morales (1-2), Johnson sent a fly ball to left for the game-winning hit.

The walk-off win was the second of the day for Red Sox affiliates at Fenway, as Jorge Jimenez smacked an RBI single in the ninth to lift the short-season Lowell Spinners over Hudson Valley, 2-1, in the opening game of the Futures.

Pinckney sparked a five-run sixth with his ninth homer. Natale followed with an RBI single and Bubba Bell ripped a two-run triple for Portland, which snapped a four-game skid.

The dramatics made a winner of reliever Michael James (1-3), who gave up two runs -- one earned -- on three hits and a walk with a strikeout in the ninth. Sea Dogs starter Michael Bowden yielded six earned runs on seven hits and two walks with six strikeouts over four innings.

Tony Blanco drilled a three-run homer in the first and Steve Mortimer, who hit for the cycle on Friday, cranked a solo shot in the eighth for the Senators (41-79). Brandon Powell went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored.

Morales surrendered three runs on a hit and five walks with three strikeouts in one frame. Harrisburg starter Beltran Perez allowed three runs on three hits and six walks while fanning four over five innings. --Marissa Rega/

Spinners shine at Fenway
August 11, 2007

Saturday was a special day at the second annual Futures at Fenway game. Players got to live out their dream of playing on a Major League field while fans enjoyed a pleasant, sunny day at the stadium, catching a glimpse of potential future Red Sox stars.

There was also a dandy of a baseball game between the Lowell Spinners and Hudson Valley Renegades that left the Fenway faithful cheering, "Hip, Hip, Jorge!"

And no, it wasn't for the rival Yankee catcher Jorge Posada.

With two men out in the bottom of the ninth, a man on second, and the score knotted at 1-1, Spinners third baseman Jorge Jimenez hit a line drive over the head of Hudson Valley right fielder Angel Fermin to drive in the game-winning run as Lowell clipped Hudson Valley in a 2-1, walk-off win.

"He threw a fastball in and I hit it well," said Jimenez, who was all smiles after going 3-for-5 and notching the game-winning hit. "I was waiting for this day because last year I came here and didn't play. I did good."

Jimenez is now a career .600 hitter at Fenway Park.

"Jorge's been our most consistent hitter all year," said Spinners manager Gary DiSarcina. "He just goes out and swings it and does a great job every night. If there's anyone that you want up at that moment on our team it's Jorge."

Before the ninth-inning dramatics, Jose Capellan and Alexander Cobb treated Fenway Park to a classic pitchers' duel. Capellan mowed down Renegades hitters, going six innings without issuing a walk or giving up an earned run.

"This was my best day today," said Capellan. "I am excited."

"[Capellan's] not going to be here very long, there's no way," said DiSarcina. "He's improved every outing. He's got two different curveballs, a very good changeup and two very good fastballs, and he throws strikes."

Cobb was just as dominant against Lowell, overcoming a nasty line drive off his back to shut out the Spinners through six full innings.

"Pitching and defense was the story," said DiSarcina.

Both teams, as expected, did have some early jitters playing in a big-league park. There were three errors in the first inning and a foul pop that landed in between three Spinners players. Hudson Valley's Emeel Salem, who led off the game with a single to stretch his hitting streak to 17 games, scored the Renegades' only run of the game on Kade Keowen's errant throw from right field.

"We played pretty good baseball after the first inning," said DiSarcina. "I think the guys on both teams obviously had a lot of nerves. They're just kids."

After loading the bases in the sixth and seventh without scoring, Lowell was able to capitalize for the first time in the bottom of the eighth. Jimenez led off the inning with a bloop double down the right-field line off Ryan Zimmerman, eventually scoring on Brett Lewis' game-tying single and setting himself up for his ninth-inning heroics.

"I'm not only proud that they did it, but that they did it out here at Fenway in front of a big crowd," said DiSarcina. --Evan Mohl/

Total Mileage: 601 Miles

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