The last meeting that SABR’s Boston Chapter enjoyed together — in person — in one place — face-to-face — occurred more than 18 months ago, and finally we were back together in person once again, on Saturday, July 17, 2021.
While planning the meeting, we had no inkling whether people would be ready and willing to meet in person. It seemed we had lost a bit of that sense of social contact. We were pleasantly surprised as 36 people were ready and willing. Our venue for the meeting was a main attraction: the inaugural season at the Red Sox Triple-A Polar Park in Worcester, Massachusetts. Please pardon us, Rhode Island friends, while we wax poetic about the new park. There are people near Pawtucket who are still a bit sensitive about the subject (and we all will have fond memories of McCoy Stadium) but Polar is, I dare say, kind of magnificent — and construction is still a work in progress.
Saul Wisnia was up first and spoke about Greg Montalban. We also heard from Dr. Charles Steinberg who was been involved with the construction of the Park from the beginning. We were also in luck that Rich Gedman was able to swing by, along with his opinions about the team readiness, he gave us a nostalgic tour of his old neighborhood in Worcester, where he grew up, right from the DCU Club window facing southeast!
From Bill Ballou, sportswriter for the Worcester “T&G” (Telegram and Gazette) we received a lesson on Worcester baseball history — a long and impressive history at that!
The Park staff gave us a tour of the park, and we found several reminders of Fenway — including their own version of Pesky Pole (yes, well autographed already). Following the tour, we gathered at Section 14, located behind the WooSox dugout and awaited the start of the game at 4:00 PM. While waiting we monitored and debated the weather forecast, as rain has been part of every day in July in Massachusetts, so we were not intimidated by the usual forecast of “scattered showers.” Right….
The game started on time, the WooSox pitcher dispatched the first three Scranton-Wilkes Barre RailRiders, 1-2-3. The WooSox inning at least brought a hit, but the lead runner was out at home base (“shoulda’ stopped at third …” the general consensus). And then, a gentle shower began. And then, more rain, they brought out the canvas. And then more and more rain, a veritable deluge. We were sheltered under the overhang, until the wind shifted …
Reports later described wind, torrential rains, flooding in some streets, and 2 inches of rain fell in a couple hours. The game was called off.
But didn’t we have fun.
Our advice to you, readers of the Chapter report, go to a game at Polar Park. Check out their website before you go, study carefully their parking lot map (a temporary situation until they build the parking garage across the street next year). Brush up on your Worcester baseball history and while there, enjoy a brew from the Wormtown Brewery. Wormtown? Don’t ask!
— Joanne Hulbert