Baseball Trip Included Historic Site Visits

Tours of two baseball parks, along with a stop at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, a tour of the city of Boston, and a visit to Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton, Pa., were part of a baseball trip during the last week of July. It was the third and final multi-game trip this year, the 11th year of the Uniglobe Ohio Valley Travel Baseball group.

The behind-the-scenes tours were of Fenway Park and the Pawtucket PawSox facility, both of which have much history and are unique as well. Of course, West Point, the city of Boston and Steamtown all have different types of history.

Some of this history is:

Fenway Park is the oldest Major League park, having opened its doors in 1912. It has the Green Monster in left field.

In 1981, McCoy Field in Pawtucket was the site of a 33-inning game, the longest in professional baseball history. It is also the only professional baseball team in the state of Rhode Island.

West Point was established by Thomas Jefferson in 1802, and prior to that date had served as a fortified site during the Revolutionary War. This area was picked because of an abnormal S-curve in the Hudson River at this point, giving the United States a lookout site should the British Navy ever try to enter the country through that waterway.

The city of Boston’s history dates back to 1630, being one of the oldest cities in the United States. It was the scene of several key events of the American Revolution. It is the largest city in the state and largest in New England.

The Steamtown NHS consists of a railroad museum and heritage railroad in downtown Scranton, at the site of the former Scranton rail yards of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad. The museum was built around a working turntable and a roundhouse.

Some of the tidbits connected with the PawSox and Red Sox include:

The 33-inning game was played over a three-day period, and in two different months. The start of the game between the PawSox and Rochester Red Wings was delayed two hours because of the weather; the actual starting time was 8:05 p.m. on April 18, 1981, and teams continued to play after midnight with the game finally suspended at 4:07 a.m. on April 19, which happened to be Easter Sunday. During the eight hours and two minutes, 32 innings were played. The Red Wings didn’t return to Pawtucket for until June 23, at which time the game was resumed. As it turned out only one inning was needed to have a winner, the homestanding PawSox scoring in the last half of the 33rd inning.

Some other information on the facility itself: The suites are on the ground level and there are no steps leading into the dugout, the reason being that the park was built on a wetlands, and thus nothing is underground.

The PawSox are the Boston red Sox Triple-A affiliate in the International League. The two cities are less than two hours apart via Interstate 95.

Getting back to the actual games we attended, the first was in Washington, D.C., where the Nationals entertained the New York Mets. The Nationals prevailed 4-1.

Our next baseball stop was to Yankee Stadium, where the Bronx Bombers hosted the then league-leading Tampa Bay Rays. The game was Derek Jeter’s first in which he was a position player this year, in this, his second game of the season. The first pitch he saw went into the first row of seats in right centerfield. The Yankees won the game on a single by Alfonso Soriano in the last of the ninth. The winning pitcher was Mariano Rivera who this year is wrapping up his Major League career, all 18 years with the Yankees.

As to the Boston-Seattle game, it was all Red Sox in an 8-2 victory for the team.

Fenway Park is the only stadium where the out-of-town scores are posted by hand, and thus you have to wait for the designed scorekeeper to emerge from a small door on ground level, sometimes carrying a ladder if a score to be changed is higher than he can reach. It just so happens that on that particular night, the Pirates were playing a late afternoon-night game doubleheader, and because of this outdated way of posting scores, many of the locals had their electronic devices on and were getting the Pirate-Cardinal scoring several minutes ahead of the posting.

By the way, if you travel in the big cities, such as New York and Bostan, you can expect to encounter detours and it seems the streets which were barricaded were the ones the GPS had mapped out as parts of our route. However, in each case Bill Bryson, travel agent turned navigator, was able to get us to the games on time.

Our trip covered seven states, along with the District of Columbia. These states were Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.

The reservation deadline for the Union High School’s 100-year building observance and all-classes reunion has been extended until Aug. 15. Since the minimum number of attendees has been reached, it has enabled the committee to extend deadline for making reservations.

The event will be held from 6-10 on Sept. 28 at the Mollohan Center within the walls of the former West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville.

Reservations can be made by contacting Bill Gallagher, 84 Sun Valley, Glen Dale, 304-845-1914, or Harriet Prager, 4 Carla Ave., McMechen, 304-232-7651.

The Sam Shaw Trail at Valley Fork Park, Moundsville, has reopened.

The entire complex was closed as the result of flooding in early July, with the ball fields having opened a couple of weeks ago.

West Liberty University head football coach Roger Waialae will be the speaker at the WLU/Marshall County Breakfast Club at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday at Perkins Restaurant in Moundsville. Alumni and friends are invited to attend the Dutch Treat event.