Getting you caught up to speed: Seven 30-something softball buddies on a five-day, four-stadium baseball tour, starting at Fenway Park in Boston. I went to the Marlins game at Land Shark Stadium in Miami, and then out drinking Tuesday night, before our early morning flight to Boston on Wednesday. Might be a good idea to read about the seven characters in this story first.
The Gang Goes to the Airport
George, the Aussie, wrote directions for me to his place – meeting Tresky there also – and this is an actual quote from the directions, “Get off on Exit 84, then get on the off ramp.” I thought I had to run it through an Australian translator, but then – somehow – he was right. I had to get off, then on the off. Weird.
Once we got on our way to the airport, George told us the story about how he got up, made coffee, showered – only to realize it was 1:30 a.m. His alarm screwed up. So he went back to sleep and awaited our arrival five hours later. He has only been in America for a couple decades, so the time difference still hasn’t settled in.
Tresky insisted on parking in the on-property airport parking, despite it being more expensive and not dropping us right in front of the ticket counters.” Unfortunately, Tresky’s plan backfired and it put us where JetBlue USED TO be at. So then we had to lug our stuff over to Terminal 3 – where the bus would have dropped us off. I had badly sprained my right ankle the week before while sliding into third base, so the extra walk, this early in the day, was such a treat. Early quote of the day came from Tresky, “My shorts keep falling down. I already hate you, Gonos.” HE hates ME?
The three of us boarded our flight – wondering what happened to our fourth (Jimmy was nowhere to be found). Once on the plane, Tresky got a text from Jimmy that said, “Can’t go. Had a fight with Ellen.” Tresky forwarded it to me, yet somehow, Spelly Madison even screws up his forwards: “Congo&. Figgting with Allen.” But George saw a gremlin-looking fella up in front of the plane, sliding into a seat and peeking back at us. It was Jimmy. Here’s Jimmy’s thought process: In these terrorist-sensitive times, I’m going to look like I’m sneaking onto a plane that’s headed to Logan Airport. Wait until they get a load of my firecracker shoes!
So the plane takes off and after a few minutes, the “Fasten Seatbelts” light turned off and Tresky sprinted to the bathroom behind us. He has a “going” problem that is turning into a growing problem. When the ticket agent asked him, “Do you want aisle or window?” He said, “Urinal.”
It’s 8 a.m., we’re cruising at 20,000 feet, George orders a mixed drink and I get a Heineken. We look up to see Tresky order chocolate milk.
We love that dirty water
Once we got to the airport in Boston, we connected with Jimmy at the gate – he was quite proud thinking that he pulled off a prank, making us think he missed the flight. He went to great lengths to avoid being seen by us, including crawling under the seats to go to the restroom, and lying in a man’s lap once when he thought we were walking up near his seat. He made $14 the hard way, but still.
Emack, who is also from Fort Lauderdale and also heading to Boston with us on the very same morning, took a different flight. We’re still unclear as to why. I think he saved $8 riding with the livestock in the freight cargo area on a Croation airliner. His flight was a little earlier than ours, so I woke up to a text from him saying that he’s on the plane and realized that he forgot his iPod and his earbuds. Which essentially meant he was just staring at the back of the seat in front of him the whole way, like David Puddy.
We met up with him at the Boston airport and then Jimmy’s mom picked us up. Jimmy’s mom — wonderfully sweet woman. Obviously, she’s a fan of adoption. Legend has it she had to sprinkle Ritalin onto Jimmy’s Rice Krispies as a kid. “MAAAAA!!! I WANT MY “SPECIAL” SUGAR!!! SPECIAL! SPECIAL! SPECIAL!!! BANG!”
We finally tracked down Dr. Joe and Dwyne (who had gone on a lover’s trip to Martha’s Vineyard earlier in the week, where Joey’s equally hairless family lived). Once we all met up, Dwyne gave Tresky a bottle of FloMax (for his “going” problem) and BT slapped it out of his hand as soon as it was handed to him. Nobody got a clear picture. BUT – in all the excitement, Tresky piddled.
On the way downtown (remember, heading to the Red Sox-Yankees game at Fenway), Dwyne explained that he was thrown out of a strip club the night before. That earned him the day’s first fantasy points.
The Gang Goes to Fenway Park
So Jimmy’s mom had her mini-van and Joey was driving his brother’s mini-van. We found two parking spots relatively close to each other downtown, so we all hopped out and began our Boston experience. As I had mentioned, this was the GFY Tour. The Bostonians in our group love Fitzy, an online character that loves all things
Boston. He’s the creator of the “Wicked Pissah” webcasts on TownieNews.com, which in turn made famous such things as: “TFB” for Tom Effing Brady, “Seyton” Manning and WWW (white Wes Welker). Well, he would also tell people, players and teams he hated to “GFY.” At the risk of offending people, I’ll just let you work on the initials yourself. So when we all decided to take this trip to Fenway, Tresky bought a bunch of these GFY shirts for us to wear to the park, and the “GFY Tour” was born.
Hindsight is 20/20. And after wearing the shirts – and not REALLY being a Boston fan to begin with — here are the problems I found with this brilliant GFY t-shirt plan:
- Evidently, people in Boston have never heard of the Internet. “We just put regulah nets in the watah to catch fish.” I even tried to explain it as “The Intahnet” and they still didn’t know. So no one had any idea who this Fitzy character was, much less the slogans he made famous on the world wide webbing thing.
- GFY is only one straight line away from spelling “GAY.”
- We looked like Benjamin Button’s Little League team.
Going back to our fantasy baseball scoring game for this trip, you got points if anyone came up and asked you what GFY stood for. If they were nice people, or elderly, or young, or anyone we felt would be offended, we just told them, “Good For You,” and we looked like a band of do-gooder sissies teaming up to fight hate. Although, one time, a band of preteen kids walked by, and an innocent young girl asked us, in a whisper, if it stood for, “Go eff the Yankees!?!?” To which we all responded with raucous laughter and high fives, reinforcing this young woman’s thoughts that being a potty-mouthed woman was a sure way to get men to like her.
And if you were able to come up with a creative new acronym, you got extra points. There were a handful of decent entries in this category, “God Forgets Yankeefans,” etc. But after we started drinking, we found that it was much easier to come up with GFV jokes instead of GFY, and since we were buzzing at that point, it made complete sense. “Great Freakin’ Violinists, Gifts For Virgins, George Found Vagina.” It works on several retarded levels.
The first bar in Boston we hit as the GFY group was the Cask and Flaggon right next to Fenway. It was about noon at this point, on a cool, gray summer afternoon, with a 7pm first pitch awaiting us, and we were literally the only people in the bar at that point. Jimmy’s mom joined us for a little bit before leaving, shaking her head with disappointment. One of my favorite “Jimmy’s mom moments” was when she was talking with Jimmy and he snapped at her, to which she responded, “Don’t yell at me – I’m not Ellen!” Ellen, by the way, is Jimmy’s wife. That got a big laugh out of the group.
After several pitchers of beer and the best french fries ever, Emack wanted us to take a cab ride to McGreevy’s, which was the bar/restaurant owned by the Boston band, Dropkick Murphys. I didn’t care either way, until he explained they had something called a Beckett Burger — 25 ounces of 100-percent beef in honor of Fenway favorite, No. 19, Josh Beckett. It cost $30, but luckily, they had financing.
But in true slacker fashion, we blew it off, choosing to just spend the day barhopping in the Fenway area. Emack held his breath (which we were all thankful for, whewwwww) until he turned blue, but to noavail. We popped in and out of several other bars, including one that was behind the center field wall and had an open grate to look out of, right onto the field.
The Cask and Flaggon
In one bar, just across from the Cask and Flaggon, there was a brewery/restaurant called Boston Beer Works. As soon as we walked in, we were hit with a brutal stench of hops and barley fermenting inside the ass of a dead mule. At least that’s what we guessed. “Who’s changing a kitty litter box?” “Why are we drinking beer in a hamster cage?” The bartender shrugged it off, just happy to see some customers in the bar at that hour. We also hooked up with a couple of Jimmy’s buddies there. I think he went to school with them – or they beat up some elderly people back in the old neighborhood or something.
Before entering the bar, I noticed some guy just sitting on a stoop, obviously waiting for someone. He was clean-shaven and dressed decent. Nothing at all told us he was homeless or anything, which made the following more fun: I told Emack he’d get five fantasy points if he went up to the guy and gave him a dollar, as if the guy WAS homeless. Emack snatched the dollar out of my hand and ran over to him. “Here you go,” he said. And just to show you what kind of bad economic times we live in, the guy took the buck and said thanks! I thought he’d be a little pissed that someone mistook him for a homeless guy, but apparently, the feeling of embarrassment was not as strong as adding one hundred pennies to your name.
We skipped around to a few more bars, and came across what looked like foreign people all the way from Holland, staring at a map, obviously confused. So we stopped to help them out, ‘cuz you know, we were Bostonians at that point. Turns out they were real Bostonians that were on a scavenger hunt. They weren’t allowed to use their cell phones as they looked for stuff, but that didn’t help us from cheating for them – despite them not asking for or wanting our help. I like to think that there’s an Annoying Samaritan in all of us.
Dr. Joe took a walk back to the van to put money in the meter or make out with a dude or something, and when he came back, we found out that the only transportation we had in the city – was towed away. He parked in a no-parking zone, we surmised, and his min-van was now in a tow-yard. For the rest of the trip, he was henceforth referred to as, “Dr. Tow.”
When he came back and told us that his brother’s van was towed, he had the beaten little puppy look. Then, after we beat him, he had that beaten little Dr. Joe look. I also figured out another GFY acronym – Gone Effing Van.
Let’s go to Fenway Pahk!
It was time for our tour of Fenway Park. We entered the 97-year-old stadium and eventually walked under the stands behind home plate, getting ready to go out onto the field. The beer vendors were loading up a huge cart with a dozen beer kegs. Tresky nearly got the guy to bet him that BT couldn’t carry a keg around the entire stadium. They went back and forth a couple times before it inevitably didn’t happen, and BT just ended up getting his phone number for a date.
We stepped out onto the walkway just behind home plate, near the first base side. It truly was amazing. I came to Fenway Park as a kid with my dad, but I never got this close to home plate. Then it got better. The tour guide actually walked us out onto the field, onto the clay behind home plate down the third base side. We took approximately 300 pictures, and finally got shooed back up the stadium stairs, now walking toward left field – where the Green Monster wall lives. We passed the umpire crew, as they were taking off their Yankees tshirts and hats, and changing into their umpire uni’s.
Once we got up onto the Green Monster, batting practice began. The seats up there were added in 2003, much to the dismay of purists. But now, they’re some of the most popular (and expensive) seats in the house. We took turns taking pictures as a handful of players tried to hit us from home plate. Rocco Baldelli, the only good Red Sox player, hit a shot over our heads and into a parking garage behind us. (Baldelli was my favorite player over the past few years, while he was with Tampa Bay. Then he got sick and decided the best way he could help the Rays was to join the Red Sox.)
We got some more pictures, of course, and as the jerky tour guides shooed us out of the area, I got a couple more pictures of Dwyne, Dr. Joe and BT reaching out and grabbing the left-field foul pole. And we all know how much they love the pole.
Once we got back outside the stadium, we hit more bars, and finally, an Italian sausage stand out on Yawkey Way. Dwyne and I attacked those sausages like they owed us money. They were phenomenal. We lost touch with the group, but then we finally all got back together to hit one more bar, one level below the street. Emack and I went to take a piss, and found this place. So we had a couple Jager bombs before going back up and telling the group about the hot bartenders (umm, they were chicks). Then they all came down there and we had more Jager bombs. Then I think I made out with a pay phone.
Oh yeah, THE GAME!
Jimmy has another friend, that can get us into the right-field “Standing Room Only” seats, but we’ll also have a table with seats above right field. The cost was a hundred apiece, but we knew, going into this trip, that each of these games would cost us about $100 each. So it wasn’t a problem. This friend told Jimmy to meet him outside the gate. While we were out there waiting, we all slowly began to realize that each of us had to pee like our lives depended on it. It was almost like when someone yawns, and that makes you yawn? The power of suggestion instantly filled all of our bladders.
While we were waiting outside the gate for this phantom security cop with the tickets to happiness, several random people came around us. We dared Emack to ask two cute female cops to pretend to handcuff him for a picture. We were all hoping for a real arrest of some sort, but instead, they obliged — and he got more fantasy points. There was also a random dude that looked like Flavor Flav. This area, for whatever reason, was like a Billy Madison dream. We never saw the penguin, though.
After what seemed like nine hours of us waiting with our legs squeezed together, seriously considering getting arrested while peeing on a wall just for the relief, Jimmy’s friend finally came out to get us and smuggle us into the stadium. Yeah, smuggle. Apparently, we weren’t buying tickets, but instead, we were paying off some security dude to just walk us into the game. At that point, I would have paid $100 for a urinal, so I didn’t care. He walked us around inside the stadium, looking like he was leading a group of people with cerebral palsy, since our legs were knotted together at the knees, before getting to the staircase that went up to the right-field SRO area. As soon as we saw that staircase, we all kinda looked at each other like, there’s no way we can walk that without pissing all over ourselves. So we begged for a bathroom break and the cloak-and-dagger security guard let us go.
Finally, after a dozen bars, after a LOT of beer, after walking (me limping with a bad wheel) all around Fenway for hours, we made it into the game.
Once we got up there, we saw our table, which was down a short set of stairs, just behind the right-field TV crew. Two of the four seats, we found out, were taken by two of Jimmy’s friends (from the old neighborhood) that he apparently liked more than us. Since they both had seats for the entire game, the seven of us had to split the other two seats. Actually, BT solved that problem by staying at his seat the entire time, so it was really just six of us for one seat now. Luckily, BT’s selfishness also solved the problem of us having to talk to him.
Since we were all pretty much hammered, we didn’t really care. We just drank more beer, hit on more women and ate more food. Emack, though, had entered the grumpy stage of his drinking cycle, so he left all of us and walked around the stadium during most of the game. He said he ended up getting a seat on the Green Monster (but later, I surmised that he it was a just a fat man in a green shirt, and Smack sat on his lap for much of the game).
George, who had been relatively quiet up to this point, turned on his Australian charm to smooth-talk some chick at the bar up in right field. So we have Tresky and Jimmy, for the most part, sitting at the table below us, Emack walking around the stadium handing out beaners, and George behind us at the bar (out of the game’s sight completely) hitting on a girl whose friend was repulsive enough to keep the rest of us at bay. Dwyne, Dr. Joe and myself were the only ones hanging out watching the game in the social area.
The food was very good, especially the Monster Dog. But BT couldn’t get enough of the crap pizza they had. He loved it. It was like someone put sauce and cheese on the pizza box and sliced it into a triangle, then charged us six bucks.
Finally, when Fenway’s eighth-inning anthem (Sweet Caroline) began, George nearly shoved the girl he was working on into her beastly friend just to run out and sing it with us.
In the ninth, “I’m Shipping Up to Boston,” began, signaling the entrance of closer Jonathan Papelbon and the crowd went nuts. Admittedly, it made the hair on my arm stand up. The energy in the stadium cranked up a couple more notches, and I thought BT and Dr. Joe were going to make a baby right then and there. Pap closed the game out for his 15th save of the season, and the hometown crowd left victorious.
Game ovah, pahty at the bah
On our way out of the stadium, drunk Jimmy laid down on the ground for no reason, only to have a lesbian put her foot on his chest, to keep him down. Jimmy is like when you throw one of those super balls out into highway traffic. You really don’t know where he’s going to go and you have absolutely no chance of corralling him. But damn, he’s fun to watch.
We made it back to Oliver’s – the bar next to the Cask and Flaggon – and within minutes Dwyne got into a dance-off competition with random women — wearing tinsel wigs, of course. Jimmy, quickly noticing no one was paying attention to him, tried to show everyone how he could balance a glass on his arm – only to have it fall off and break on the dance floor. Yep. He’s THAT guy. Dwyne won the dance-off, of course (182-0 and still undefeated), and at some point in the night, someone ended up drawing on his belly. I still don’t know what to do with that mental image.
So here we are, at the last bar of the night, with things slowing to a crawl at 1am, after being up since about five that morning – after being awake until 2am the night before. I was dead. My ankle was throbbing to the beat of the music. I found a comfy chair in front of a big screen with SportsCenter on and I was done for the night. Eventually, GW came over and commandeered the other chair, while Dwyne hit on Joey and Emack flirted with Jimmy. BT was probably peeing again.
Jimmy came over to where George and I were, and tried to talk to us, but we didn’t speak drunkboston. So instead, Jimmy breakdanced on the carpet in front of us. Seriously. He went to make a move and he ended up kicking George’s backpack clear across the room. It was pretty awesome.
We closed the bar, they shooed us outside, where we stood around for another half-hour trying to figure out our plan to get to Jimmy’s mom’s house. One of my favorite moments of the trip happened just then. I can’t explain why I like it so much, but I do because it was so ridiculously random. Jimmy, the only married one of the bunch always tried to be the best wing man possible, saw some women walking by us. So he turned to them and said with authority, “Just a second!” They stopped immediately and looked at all of us. Of course, we were all just as shocked as they were, not having any idea what was going on, and then Jimmy said — nothing. There they were, waiting for some sort of announcement, with nine guys just staring at them, waiting for Jimmy’s next line – and nothing. I wish my words could do it justice. It was a great scene … when you were drunk.
Jimmy’s friends, Al and his nephew, kept sneaking up on Jimmy and slapping him HARD on his belly. He just laughed and pretended it didn’t hurt, and I said to myself, “Boston’s freaking weird.”
Finally, we all chipped in — for the seventh time it seemed — for Dr. Tow to go get his van out of the tow-yard. And the rest of us followed Al to his truck.
On the way to his truck, Tresky and I got into a deep discussion about who should get shotgun on the ride back. While we were both making completely cogent points, we realized we were standing next to someone else’s truck. Everyone else, except for BT, Jimmy and I, had walked to the correct truck. We finally realized our error, and as we started walking over to the correct truck, Jimmy punches the truck’s tail-light out. Who the hell is this guy and why did we bring him? How did his mother survive all these years?
Al, Al’s nephew, Jimmy, Dwyne, Tresky, George, Emack and myself all loaded into this truck. Eight of us.
During the construction of this blog, I asked the guys for reminders of certain events, usually over IM. So I thought I’d share this one IM conversation that I had with Tresky, who is famous for misspelling everything:
[15:38] Gonos: hey, what was Al driving again? Toyota something?
[15:38] Tresky: sequoia ?
[15:38] Gonos: oh yeah, i think that’s it
[15:38] Gonos: good sp too!
[15:38] Tresky: did i spell that right?
[15:38] Tresky: kik
[15:38] Tresky: HAHA
[15:38] Tresky: lol
[15:38] Gonos: haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
[15:39] Tresky: shoot me
[15:40] Gonos: guess what just made the blog?
[15:44] Tresky: what ..? i dont see anything.. unless you are cut/pasting something
[15:44] Gonos: you misspelling lol
[15:44] Tresky: u moutha f***er
[15:44] Gonos: haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
I swear that’s true. First, he misspelled “lol” and then he misspelled “mother.” Even the “B” on his Red Sox hat is backwards.
Bad Bladder, Bad bladder!
So eight of us got into Al’s Toyota Sequoia – Jimmy and GW in the waaay back, four huge guys in the backseat, then me in the passenger’s seat, and Al driving. To make this more comical and Three Stooges-like, Al had two car seats. So I had to carry BOTH car seats, lying on top of each other, on my lap. They didn’t fit. Nothing fit. It was like the world’s fattest clown car. Al was sober, but the rest of us were still hammered, folded into the car like human Tetris, and drunk Jimmy yelling crap non-stop from the trunk. I had to hold the car seats up because they kept falling on Al and the steering wheel.
Al knew the city of Boston like the back of his hand, or I mean to say, he drove all over the freaking city finding every “under construction” street he possibly could. The eight of us were packed in like chubby sardines, and he must have taken – no exaggeration – six U-turns just trying to get out of the city. I tried to explain to him that an even-numbered amount of U-turns usually meant we were going somewhere we had already been several times. He replied in something with an accent, like someone stapled his tongue to the bottom of his mouth, and I just nodded.
Once again, everyone in the car had to pee. But Al wasn’t done showing us the finer areas of Boston against our wishes.
Al finally figured out where to go, got on a highway and we were on our way home. Urine had begun to replace my blood, but I dared not ask how far we were to Jimmy’s mom’s house. No matter what he said, it was going to be too long. So I just held it – while I was also holding two baby carseats.
Finally, we got off the interstate and pulled into a neighborhood. I was ready to bail out and run into the first house with a porch light on. Then Al explained that this was where his nephew lived, and that we were just dropping him off. From the very back of the truck, we hear Jimmy yelling, over and over, “THIS IS NAUGHT MY NEIGHBAH-HOOD!”
With the nephew out, the boys in the middle were able to spread out a bit. But the damage there was already done – Dwyne got Emack pregnant.
Eventually, we made our way to Jimmy’s mom’s house, and as soon as Al pulled up, the truck burst at the seams and everyone rolled out onto the lawn. Within seconds, there were six guys standing at six different spots in three different yards (only one of which was Jimmy’s mom’s yard), peeing into the bushes. Jimmy’s mom was standing at her front door, watching the whole scene play out. What a proud mother she must be.
We went inside and she showed us where we were all sleeping. She pointed down to the downstairs room where a couch was, and I instantly claimed it, went down and immediately went to sleep. Holding my pee for an hour, as well as coming down from the buzz, had created quite a pounding headache. My ankle was screaming for rest, my bladder was abused, and all I wanted was sleep.
My greatest regret on this entire trip – I didn’t stay up with everyone else to eat the lasagna that Jimmy’s mom made for us. I don’t even know who I am anymore.
And THAT was just the first day.
Everything in this account pretty much happened the way I described it. The time line of everything, well, I’m not going to stand by that completely. Alcohol has a funny way of screwing up the Tivo in your head. I’m sure the boys will disagree with me on when or where such-and-such happened, or who said what, or which guy Dwyne was hitting on. But to all of them, I say, “GFY.”
Coming soon: The rest of the trip – Citi Field Stadium and Yankees Stadium in New York, and Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia.