Wednesday, May 30, 2018
There is unfinished business, and it is time to start taking care of it.
Brett Gardner hit a home run in the bottom of the 1st last night, but CC Sabathia gave it right back in the top of the 2nd. But with 2 outs in the bottom of the 2nd, the Baby Bombers struck. Miguel Andujar doubled, and Gleyber Torres singled him home. 2-1 Yankees.
But the Astros took a 3-2 lead in the top of the 4th, and a 5-2 lead in the 5th. Aaron Judge led off the bottom of the 5th with a home run, to cut it to 5-3. That was the score heading into the bottom of the 9th.
Cliche alert: As John Sterling taught us, a 2-run deficit, "That's just a bloop and a blast." Or a walk and a wallop. Speaking of which...
Cliche alert: Walks can kill you, especially the leadoff variety.
Chris Devenski walked Andjuar to start the bottom of the 9th. He struck Gleyber Torres out. Then came Gardner. He hit a home run, and we went to extra innings.
Brad Peacock got the 1st 2 outs in the bottom of the 10th, but, again, it would be Andujar with a double, and Torres with a single. This time, a walkoff.
Yankees 6, Astros 5. WP: Aroldis Chapman (2-0). No save. LP: Peacock (1-3).
Tonight's game was another Luis Severino masterwork. He went 7 innings, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits and just 1 walk, striking out 11. No Yankee hit a home run, and only Judge had more than 1 hit, but the runs came when needed: A Giancarlo Stanton sacrifice fly in the 1st, a 2-run single by Gary Sanchez in the 5th, and, in the 6th, an RBI single by Didi Gregorius and an RBI double by Aaron Hicks.
This was the best game the Yankees have ever had against Dallas Keuchel, who shut them out in the 2015 American League Wild Card Game. He's having an awful year, but the Yankees still had to take advantage of it. They did.
David Robertson pitched a scoreless 8th. Chapman, as he so often does, made the 9th inning a bit interesting before he stopped fooling around and ended it.
Yankees 5, Astros 3. WP: Severino (8-1). SV: Chapman (12). LP: Keuchel (3-7).
There's a little finishing of the unfinished business. As Johnny Carson's Tonight Show title cards used to say, "More to Come."
Tuesday, May 29, 2018
A: At least 3.
The Yankees lost to him in Games 2 and 6 of the 2017 American League Division Series, and are now 0-1 against him in the 2018 regular season. Yes, they won a game he started against them on May 1, but that was by scoring 4 runs in the 9th off a reliever. After 8 innings, it was 0-0, and Verlander had allowed just 3 hits, struck out 14 and walked exactly none.
This time? Greg Bird hit a home run off him in the 7th inning, but nobody was on base, and that was the only run the Yankees got.
Meanwhile, Domingo German, who has shown signs of being a good reliever, got hit hard, and showed that he should not be a starting pitcher.
Astros 5, Yankees 1. WP: Verlander (7-2). No save. LP: German (0-3).
There was one good thing about last night's game: Rudy Giuliani got booed. That's right: The man known as "America's Mayor," whose vicious racism we decided to put aside because he busted insider traders and mafia guys and slashed the City's crime rate, before he became a national security psychopath and a Donald Trump fan, went to Yankee Stadium, probably his favorite place in the world, last night.
And it was his birthday, his 74th. And it was mentioned on the video board during the birthday listings. And Yankee Fans, already angry that Trump claims to be one, booed. And when Giuliani was shown on the board, the boos got harder.
Booed by your favorite team's fans on your own birthday. That had to hurt.
But Brian Cashman is still an idiot.
Don't tell me how well Gleyber Torres is doing. He must help the Yankees to win at least 1 World Series for that trade to be a success. At least 1.
Days until the next Yankees-Red Sox series begins: 31, on Friday, June 29, at 7:05, at Yankee Stadium II.
Days until the New York Red Bulls play again: See the next answer.
Days until the Red Bulls next play a "derby": 4, this coming Saturday night, against the New England Revolution, at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. Their next game against New York City FC will be on Sunday, July 8, at Yankee Stadium II. Unless it's forced to be moved to Citi Field, East Hartford, or, this would be funny, Red Bull Arena. Their 1st game against D.C. United, and their 1st game ever at the new Audi Field, will be on Wednesday night, July 25. Their next game against the Philadelphia Union will be on Sunday, October 21, at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester.
Days until the U.S. national soccer team plays again: 4, this coming Saturday, a "friendly" against Ireland, at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, built on the site of the old national stadium, Lansdowne Road. Last night, they beat Bolivia 3-0 at the Philadelphia Union's stadium in Chester, Pennsylvania. After Dublin, they will face France in Lyon the following Saturday. These 3 games should have been warmups for the World Cup. Alas...
Days until the next World Cup kicks off in Russia: 16, on June 14. A little over 2 weeks. But the U.S. team won't be playing. At least now, Donald Trump doesn't have to choose, and can root for his favorite country, the host nation, Russia.
Days until The Arsenal play again: 58, on Thursday, July 26, against Atlético Madrid in the International Champions Cup, a glorified friendly, at the National Stadium in Singapore.
Days until the 2018 trading deadline, after which we won't have to fear Yankee general manager Brian Cashman trading any proven good players for "prospects": 63, on Tuesday, July 31. Just 9 weeks.
Days until Arsenal play a game with a manager other than Arsène Wenger: 74, in the 2018-19 Premier League season opener, on Saturday, August 11. Time, opponent and location as yet unknown.
Days until the next North London Derby: Unknown, but not until next season. The only thing we know for sure is that you never see a derby on the opening weekend. So, more than 74 days.
Days until Rutgers University plays football again: 95, on Saturday, September 1, home to Texas State University. A little over 3 months.
Days until East Brunswick High School plays football again: Unknown. The 2018 schedule hasn't been released yet. But the season opener is usually on the 1st Friday in September. that would be September 7, which is 101 days from now.
Days until the New Jersey Devils next play a local rival: Unknown, as the regular season is over. It is possible that the Devils will play the Philadelphia Flyers in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, but that wouldn't happen unless both teams reach the NHL Eastern Conference Finals. Otherwise, they wouldn't face the Flyers, the New York Rangers or the New York Islanders until the start of the next regular season, which is usually on the 2nd Friday in October. That would be October 12, or 136 days.
Days until the next Congressional election, when we can elect a Democratic Congress that can impeach and remove Donald Trump from the Presidency: 161, on November 6. A little over 5 months.
Days until the next Rutgers-Penn State game: 172, on Saturday, November 17, at High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway, New Jersey.
Days until the next East Brunswick-Old Bridge Thanksgiving high school football game: 177, on Thursday, November 22. Under 6 months.
Days until a Democratic Congress can convene, and the impeachment process can begin: 219, on Thursday, January 3, 2019. A little over 7 months.
Days until the Baseball Hall of Fame vote is announced, electing Mariano Rivera: 239, on January 23, 2019. A little under 8 months.
Days until the next Women's World Cup kicks off: 374, on June 7, 2019, in France. A little over a year, or a little over 12 months. The U.S. team, as 3-time and defending Champions, has, as usual, a better chance than the men's team would have had in 2018 anyway.
Days until the Yankees and Red Sox play each other in London: 396, on June 29, 2019. A little over a year, or exactly 13 months.
Days until my 50th Birthday, at which point I can join AARP and get discounts for travel and game tickets: 568, on December 18, 2019. A little over a year and a half, or a little under 19 months.
Days until the Baseball Hall of Fame vote is announced, electing Derek Jeter: 603, on January 22, 2020. Under 2 years, or under 20 months.
Days until the next Summer Olympics begins in Tokyo, Japan: 787, on July 24, 2020. A little over 2 years, or under 26 months.
Days until the next Presidential election, when we can dump the Trump-Pence regime and elect a real Administration: 889, on November 3, 2020. Under 2 1/2 years, or a little over 29 months.
Days until Liberation Day: 967, at noon on January 20, 2021. Under 3 years, or under 32 months. Note that this is liberation from the Republican Party, not just from Donald Trump. Having Mike Pence as President wouldn't be better, just differently bad, mixing theocracy with plutocracy, rather than mixing kleptocracy with plutocracy.
Days until the next Winter Olympics (after the current one in Pyeongchang, Korea) begins in Beijing, China: 1,347, on February 4, 2022. Under 4 years, or a little over 44 months.
Days until the next World Cup for which the American team will be eligible is scheduled to kick off: 1,637, on November 21, 2022, in Qatar. Under 4 1/2 years, or under 54 months. The charges of corruption against Qatar may yet mean that they will lose the tournament, in which case it will be moved to a nation where it would not be too hot to play it in June and July.
Monday, May 28, 2018
Red Bulls fans view D.C. United, not the league's Boston team, as their arch-rivals. Revs fans don't see it that way: They're also Red Sox fans -- and Patriots, Celtics, and Bruins fans -- and they hate all New York Tri-State Area teams, even the ones that play in New Jersey like the Giants, the Jets, the Devils and the Red Bulls.
So I urge a great deal of caution for anyone going up for this games. Be mindful of what you do, say and wear, and where you go. If you follow these instructions, the worst you should get is a bit of verbal abuse.
Before You Go. Boston weather is a little different from ours, being a little bit further north. Mark Twain, who lived the last few years of his life in nearby Hartford, said, "If you don't like the weather in New England, wait a minute."
You should check the websites of the Boston Globe and the Boston Herald before you leave. For the moment, they're predicting temperatures in the 60s all day long, with no chance of rain.
Wind is sometimes an issue inside Fenway Park and outside the TD Garden, but it shouldn't be a big issue in Foxboro, which isn't close to the Charles River like the former or Boston Harbor like the latter.
Packing your Red Bulls jersey, cap, whatever else you've got if you're staying overnight, or simply wearing it in the car if you're driving up and back, shouldn't be an issue. I don't think anyone will try to fight you just for wearing your Metro Gear.
What you do not want to wear is the kind of T-shirt you see sold at the souvenir stands on River Avenue across from Yankee Stadium, with messages like "BAHSTON SAWKS CACK" or "There never was a curse, the Sox just sucked for 86 years!" If you have one (or more) of these, leave them at home. The Chowdaheads are already antagonized by our mere presence on their turf, and there's no reason to make it that much worse. Besides, this isn't even a baseball game.
Massachusetts is in the Eastern Time Zone, so you won't have to change your timepieces. And, of course, despite the silliness of the concept of "Red Sox Nation," you do not need a passport to cross the New Haven City Line, or to change your money.
Visiting fans are put in the southeast corner, in Section 116. Tickets are $30. This will put you all the way across the stadium from "The Fort," the Revs' supporters' section in the north end.
Getting There. Boston, like Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, is too close to fly from New York, and once you factor in fooling around with everything you gotta do at each airport, it doesn't really save you much time compared to driving, the bus or the train. It certainly won't save you any money.
It's important to remember that the Revs do not play in Boston, but in Foxboro, about halfway between Boston and Providence, Rhode Island. (In fact, it's a little bit closer to Providence's Kennedy Plaza than to Boston's Downtown Crossing.) Unlike in Boston proper, where I would never
recommend driving, when going to Foxboro, driving is almost mandatory.
It's 217 miles from Red Bull Arena to Gillette Stadium. Unlike Boston proper, where the best way to go is to take Interstate 95 to New Haven, switch to I-91 until Hartford, switch to I-84 to I-90/Massachusetts Turnpike, if you're going to Foxboro, it's best to take I-95 almost all the way up, along Long Island Sound in Connecticut, across Rhode Island including through Providence, into Massachusetts.
Once in Massachusetts, take Exit 6B onto I-495 (Boston's "beltway") North toward Worcester. Take Exit 14A onto U.S. Route 1 North. (Yes, the same Route 1 that goes through New Jersey, including the George Washington Bridge you'll be using early on, but it's not nearly as fast to take 1 all the way up as it is 95.) The stadium will be about 4 miles ahead on your right, as will the Patriot Place mall.
I don't know where you're starting from, in New York or New Jersey. But if you do it right, once you get over the GW Bridge, the drive should take about 3 hours and 45 minutes: Half an hour in New York State, 2 hours in Connecticut, 45 minutes in Rhode Island, and half an hour in Massachusetts before reaching the stadium parking lot. How long it takes you to get from wherever you are to the GW Bridge, or to the Cross Bronx Expressway if you're already in The City, through a rest stop (New London is about the halfway point of the journey), and then off Route 1 into the stadium parking lot, remains to be seen.
If you are spending more than one day in Boston (and Friday night is the start of the weekend, so it might be an option), and you're driving in from there (if you are that nuts), take I-93 South to Exit 1B, then I-95 North to Exit 9, then Route 1 South.
For any of the other Boston teams, the train is a very good option. New York's Penn Station to Boston's South Station is currently $158 round-trip, and it will take roughly 4½ hours each way.
round-trip for this coming Wednesday (it could drop to just $36, with advanced purchase, making it even cheaper than BoltBus and Megabus), and is probably Greyhound's best run.
Boston's South Station is at 700 Atlantic Avenue, corner of Summer Street, at Dewey Square. It was named for Admiral George Dewey, naval hero of the Spanish-American War, not New York Governor and 1944 & '48 Presidential candidate Thomas E. Dewey, and not for former Red Sox right fielder Dwight "Dewey" Evans, either.
Sounds great, right? Well, in the immortal words of ESPN's Lee Corso, "Not so fast, my friend!" You would still have to get from South Station to Gillette Stadium. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) runs gameday service from South Station to Foxboro (the station is right outside the stadium), $15 round-trip -- on Patriots gamedays. Not on Revs gamedays!
So if you're willing to go through that nonsense, you should look up the names of local taxi companies now, make sure they're willing to take you from Walpole to the stadium and back. A train leaves Walpole for South Station at 9:09 PM, but, unless you leave early, there's no way you're getting out of the stadium and to the station in time. Better to wait for the end of the game, and head over to one of the restaurants at the adjacent mall, and call a cab at 9:30, so that it will get there by 10:00, and you can get to Walpole in time to catch the 10:33 train back to South Station, which will arrive at 11:06.
Bottom line: If you can drive, this is a good Red Bulls roadtrip; if you can't, it can still be done, but you've been warned.
Once In the City. Named for the town of the same name (a shortened version of "St. Botolph's Stone") in Lincolnshire, in England's East Midlands, Boston is home to a little under 700,000 people, with a metropolitan area (including the areas of Hartford, Providence, and Manchester, New Hampshire) of a little over 8 million, making it the largest metro area in the country with only one MLB team in each sport (trailing the 2-baseball-teams areas of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and the San Francisco Bay Area).
The Massachusetts State House, overlooking Boston's Beacon Hill
Counting New England as a whole -- except for the southwestern part of Connecticut, which tilts toward New York -- there are about 12.8 million people in "Red Sox Nation." This isn't even close to the top, when "markets" are viewed this liberally -- the Yankees have close to 20 million in theirs, and the Atlanta Braves lead with over 36 million -- but it does rank 7th out of 30 MLB markets, and aside from the Yankees none of the pre-expansion teams has as big a market.
Boston is also one of the oldest cities in America, founded in 1630, and was the earliest to have been truly developed. (New York is actually older, 1626, but until City Hall was built and the grid laid out in 1811, it was pretty much limited to the 20 or so blocks from the Battery to Chambers Street.)
It's got the history: The colonial era, the Revolutionary period its citizens did so much to make possible, the abolitionist movement prior to the Civil War, Massachusetts' role in that conflict, the Industrial Revolution, the immigrant experience, the homefront of the World Wars, the Depression, civil rights struggles. Aside from New York, it was the only city on the Eastern Seaboard to have grasped the concept of the skyscraper until the 1980s.
It also has America's 1st college, Harvard University, across the Charles River in Cambridge, and a few other institutions of higher learning of some renown in or near the city: Boston College, Boston University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Northeastern University, Tufts University, College of the Holy Cross, and so on. The particular instance of Harvard, funded by Boston's founding families, resulted in Boston and the surrounding area having a lot of "old money." And then there's all those Massachusetts-based writers.
All this gives Boston an importance, and a self-importance, well beyond its interior population. One of those aforementioned writers, Oliver Wendell Holmes (grandfather of the great Supreme Court Justice of the same name), named the city "the Hub of the Solar System"; somehow, this became "the Hub of the Universe" or just "The Hub."
Early 19th Century journalist William Tudor called Boston "the Athens of America" -- but, as a Harvard man, he would have studied ancient Greece and realized that, while contributing greatly to the political and literary arts, Athens could be pretty dictatorial, warmongering, and slavery-tolerating at times. Later sportswriters have called the Sox-Yanks (in that order) rivalry "Athens and Sparta." Remember, if not for Sparta, all of Greece would have fallen to the Persian Empire at the beginning of the 5th Century BC, and, at the end of that Century, Sparta kicked Athens' ass in the Peloponnesian War -- with Athens having pissed off so many people that the Persians actually allied with Sparta to teach Athens a lesson.
Ah, but today, the Spartans are remembered as crazy warriors with no regard for anything except their own honor, while the Athenians are held up as an ideal society -- which they had been, but allowed themselves to become corrupted. It should be noted, though, that Sparta's allies demanded that Athens be burned to the ground and its people enslaved -- and Sparta refused. They only wanted to end Athens as a threat to them, not punish them.
Boston, "The Hub of the Universe"? To hell with that: We are New Yorkers. (I'm counting people from North and Central Jersey in as "New Yorkers," especially where sports is concerned.) New York is the greatest city in the world, and we don't even have to capitalize that, the way Bostonians do with "The Hub of the Universe."
Foxboro? (Or "Foxborough"? The former name is usually affiliated with the stadium, but the latter name is actually the official spelling.) According to the 2010 Census, it's home to 16,865 people, making it nearly twice the size of East Rutherford, New Jersey, home of the Meadowlands Sports Complex. It was founded in 1778, and named for Charles James Fox, a prominent British politician of the era who had stood up for the rights of British America before independence. It's the hometown of singer Joanna "JoJo" Levesque, who has sung the National Anthem at Patriots games. It was where South Vietnam's President Nguyen Van Thieu and his family lived after they had to flee after the fall of Saigon.
Oddly (for our purposes), it was the hometown of Seth Boyden, who moved to Newark and became New Jersey's leading industrialist in the mid-19th Century. A housing project named the Seth Boyden Houses was built -- and is currently targeted for demolition and replacement -- at 130 Dayton Street, across from Weequahic Park. This was the site of Dreamland Park, where the NFL Giants played their 1st game on September 25, 1925. (They beat a non-NFL team called the New York Red Jackets, 3-0. It was counted in the NFL standings.)
ZIP Codes in Massachusetts start with 01 in the West, and 020 to 027 in the East. Famously, the 1972-78 PBS kids' show Zoom, taped at WGBH-Channel 2, told its viewers who had ideas for the show, "Write Zoom! Z-double-O-M! Box 350, Boston, Mass 0-2-1-3-4! Send it to Zoom!"
The sales tax in Massachusetts is 6.25 percent, less than New Jersey's 7 percent and New York City's 8.875 percent. However, aside from that, pretty much everything in Boston and neighboring cities like Cambridge, Brookline and Quincy costs about as much as it does in New York City, and more than in the NYC suburbs. In other words, a bundle. So don't get sticker-shock.
Boston has 3 "beltways." Going outward from the city, they are: Interstates 95 and 93 forming one, Interstate 495 forming the next, and Interstates 190 and 195 forming the next.
When you get to South Station, if you haven't already read The Boston Globe on your laptop or smartphone, pick it up. It's a great paper, with one of the country's best sports sections. There's probably no paper that covers its local baseball team better, although the columns of Dan Shaughnessy (who did not coin but certainly popularized the phrase "The Curse of the Bambino" and wrote a book with the title) and Tony Massarotti (who started at the rival Herald and whose style is more in line with theirs) can be a bit acerbic.
You will also be able to pick up the New York papers at South Station, if you want any of them. If you must, you can also buy the Boston Herald, but it's a tabloid, previously owned by William Randolph Hearst and Rupert Murdoch. Although neither man's company still owns it, it carries all the hallmarks of the papers that they have owned (Murdoch still owns the New York Post, the Hearst Corporation owned the New York Journal and its successor, the New York Journal-American, which went out of business in 1966). In other words, the Herald is a right-wing pack of sensationalism, frequently sloppy journalism, and sometimes outright lies, but at least it does sports well (sometimes).
Once you have your newspapers, take the escalator down to the subway. Boston had the nation's 1st subway service, in 1897, along Boston Common on what's now named the Green Line. Formerly known as the Metropolitan Transit Authority, leading to the folk song "MTA," in 1965 it became the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), or "the T," symbolized by the big T signs where many cities, including New York, would have M's instead.
(Here's a link to the most familiar version of the song, done by the Kingston Trio in 1959. Keep in mind that Scollay Square station is now named Government Center, and that the reason Mrs. Charlie doesn't give him the extra nickel along with the sandwich isn't that she keeps forgetting, but that they're acting on principle, protesting the 5-cent exit fare -- my, how times have changed.)
Boston was one of the last cities to turn from subway tokens to farecards, in 2006, a decade after New York's switch was in progress. They cheekily call the cards CharlieCards, after the song character. A ride costs $2.75 with cash, the same as New York's subway, and if you're there for the entire series, it may be cheaper to get a 7-day pass for $21.25. The MBTA 1-day pass is $12, so the 7-day pass is a better option.
There are 4 lines: Red, Green, Orange and Blue. Don't worry about the Silver Line: That's basically an underground bus service designed to get people to Logan International Airport. (General Edward L. Logan was a South Bostonian who became a hero of World War I and then the commander of the Massachusetts National Guard. Boston kept the name on their airport in spite of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, leaving New York to name an airport after that great Bostonian.) Chances are, you won't be using the Blue Line at all on your trip, and the Orange Line might not be used, either.
It's important to remember that Boston doesn't have an "Uptown" and "Downtown" like Manhattan, or a "North Side," "East Side," "South Side" or "West Side" like many other cities. It does have a North End and a South End (which should not be confused with the separate neighborhood of South Boston); and it has an East Boston, although the West End was mostly torn down in the late 1950s to make way for the sprawling complex of the new Massachusetts General Hospital.
Note also that Boston doesn't have a "centerpoint," where all the street addresses start at 1 and move out in 100-segments for each block. It doesn't even remotely have a north-south, east-west street grid like New York, Philadelphia, Washington, Chicago, and so on.
So for subway directions, remember this: Any train heading toward Downtown Crossing (where the Red and Orange Lines intersect), Park Street (Red and Green Lines), State Street (Blue and Orange Lines) or Government Center (Blue and Green Lines), is "Inbound." Any train going away from those 4 downtown stations is "Outbound." This led to a joke that certain Red Sox pitchers who give up a lot of home runs have "been taken downtown more than the Inbound Red Line."
Red Line train, crossing the Charles River
via the Longfellow Bridge
South Station is on the Red Line. If you're coming by Amtrak or Greyhound, and are up only for one game and are going directly to Fenway, take the Red Line to Park Street – known locally as "Change at Park Street Under" (or "Change at Pahk Street Undah" in the local dialect) – and then take the Green Line, either the B (terminating at Boston College and having that on its marquee), C (Cleveland Circle) or D (Riverside) train. Do not take the E (Huntington Avenue), because it breaks off before reaching Kenmore Square.
Green Line D Train at Pahk Street Undah
Since 2015, Boston's electric companies have been unified under a company called Eversource Energy. The city's demographics have long fascinated outsiders. In the 2010 Census, for the 1st time, Boston no longer had a majority that was non-Hispanic white: 46 percent. The city has become 23 percent black, 22 percent Hispanic, and 9 percent Asian.
Boston has a reputation as the most Irish city in America, but this has dropped to 16 percent of the population descended from the Emerald Isle, now centered mainly on South Boston, a.k.a. Southie, and neighboring Dorchester. But the days when the Boston Irish identified with the Kennedy family ended forever in 1974, when Senator Ted Kennedy went to South Boston High School to calm down the people protesting the busing-aided integration of the school, got booed, and even heard one person yell, "You're a disgrace to the Irish!" For all his flaws, Ted had too much class to yell back, "You're a disgrace to the Americans!"
The Italian presence in the area settled in the North End and across the Charles River in East Boston, a.k.a. Eastie. Nearby Brockton also has a notable Italian population, which produced New England's greatest boxer, 1950s Heavyweight Champion Rocky Marciano.
Roxbury, the South End and Mattapan are the city's largest black neighborhoods, and, in the weeks before Newark and Detroit did, had a riot in the Summer of 1967. Jamaica Plain, adjacent to the South End, has become the city's largest Hispanic neighborhood.
Foxboro, home of the Pats and the Revs, is about 97 percent white, which makes me wonder if that's why Billy Sullivan moved the Pats there in 1971. Or, it could be nothing more sinister than that's where he got a good deal on land for a stadium.
The official address is 1 Patriot Place. (The old stadium was 60 Washington Street -- Washington Street being U.S. Route 1.) Also, don't be confused by the spelling: While New Englanders may spell the town's name "Foxborough," and that is the official spelling of the town, it's the same place as "Foxboro." The Revs are 1 of 6 MLS teams groundsharing with a pro football team.
Parking for Patriots games is a whopping $38.50 -- but for Revs games, it's free! Tailgating is allowed, starting 2 hours before kickoff, and in designated areas only. So if you want to tailgate, do not do so in the Patriot Place mall parking lot: Get as close to the stadium as you can. If you get routed into the mall lot, you're out of luck for tailgating purposes. As New England is known for seafood, tailgating in Foxboro is known for serving things like shrimp, clams, scallops, and, of course, clam chowder. If you're rich, lobster rolls.
The stadium, like most NFL and MLS stadiums, is laid out (roughly) north-to-south. You're most likely to enter at either the northeast corner (the Patriot Place Ramp) or the northwest corner (the Bank of America Ramp).
The stadium during a USMNT game
At the north end zone, to the right of the scoreboard, is a structure designed to look like an old New England lighthouse. The end zone seats below it become "The Fort," the leading supporters' section for the New England Revolution soccer team, filled by their biggest supporters' group, the Midnight Riders (named for Paul Revere and his April 19, 1775 compatriots).
The Pats are now 1 of 3 NFL teams that shares its stadium with a pro soccer team. The others are Seattle's Seahawks and Sounders at CenturyLink Field, and Atlanta United sharing Mercedes-Benz Stadium with the Falcons. Minnesota United is, in its early years, sharing TCF Bank Stadium with the University of Minnesota, although that's not a pro football team.
The north end scoreboard and lighthouse, during a Revs game
A statue of a soccer player stands by the lighthouse, which won't seem as odd to you if soccer is more your type of "football." Eusébio da Silva Ferreira -- usually just known by his first name -- was born in Mozambique, then a colony of Portugal, and starred for the Portuguese national team and the capital city's team Sport Lisboa e Benfica in the 1960s, making Benfica one of the most popular clubs in the world. He also turned heads in the 1966 World Cup, leading Portugal to the Semifinals, its best performance ever (matched in 2006).
In 1975 (the year of Mozambique's independence), past his prime, "the Black Panther" came to America and played for the Boston Minutemen of the North American Soccer League, who played some (but not all) of their home games at the old Foxboro Stadium. He played for some other American teams, and closed his career in 1979 with the New Jersey Americans of the American Soccer League -- playing home games at Memorial Stadium in New Brunswick, just 8 miles from where I grew up. I could have seen him play, but I never heard of him until 2008, and never knew he played in New Brunswick until 2011. That's how poorly soccer was covered in America until the 1990s.
The statue of Eusébio is identical to the one outside Benfica's Estadio da Luz (Stadium of Light). So why a statue for a man who played just 1 season in Boston, in the area's 5th-most-popular sport? Because there is a large Portuguese community in New England, especially in the strip from New Haven through eastern Connecticut, Rhode Island, and the Boston-to-Providence corridor in which Foxboro sits. Most people in "Greater Boston," including Portuguese-Americans, never saw him play, but it's a tribute to them and their sporting spirit as much as to him. And, of course, having a statue of the greatest soccer player Africa has ever produced hasn't exactly hurt race relations in the area.
Eusébio and his Foxboro statue
He died in 2014, but he lived long enough to see the statue's dedication, and it was already there in 2010 when I first visited. It has now been moved to Lusitano Stadium, 400 Winsor Street, in Ludlow, 81 miles west of downtown Boston and 8 miles northeast of downtown Springfield, in a heavily Portuguese area of Western Massachusetts.
The Revs have the east sideline, the visiting team the west. The playing surface has been FieldTurf since 2006. Before that, the Revs had played on real grass since their 1996 inception. The stadium, as are the Revs and the Patriots, is owned Robert Kraft's Kraft Sports Group.
Gillette Stadium also hosted the 2016 NHL Winter Classic, with the host Bruins losing 5-1 to the Montreal Canadiens.
Gillette Stadium was built next-door to the facility known as Schaefer Stadium, Sullivan Stadium and Foxboro Stadium, which was torn down and replaced by the Patriot Place mall. The Pats played at the old stadium from 1971 to 2001 (their last game, a Playoff in January 2002, being the Snow Bowl or Tuck Game against the Oakland Raiders).
In addition to the Minutemen, it was home to the New England Tea Men of the North American Soccer League and, from 1996 to 2001, of MLS' Revs. The 1st MLS Cup Final was held at the old stadium on October 20, 1996, and D.C. United beat the Los Angeles Galaxy. The old stadium hosted it again in 1999, with the same result: D.C. over L.A. Gillette Stadium hosted it in 2002, and this time, L.A. won, beating New England at their place in extra time.
Schaefer/Sullivan/Foxboro Stadium, 1971-2002
The U.S. national soccer team played 10 games at Foxboro Stadium, winning 7. They've now played 12 at Gillette as well, winning 7, most recently losing to Brazil in 2015. The MLS Cup Final was played at Gillette in 2002, and the Revs qualified for it, but lost it to the L.A. Galaxy. Games of the 1994 World Cup and the 1999 Women's World Cup were held at the old stadium, and of the 2003 Women's World Cup at the new one.
The Fort, during a U.S. national team game
(UPDATE: It has been selected by the U.S. Soccer Federation as a finalist to be one of the host venues for the 2026 World Cup.)
The new stadium was originally named CMGI Field, named for a supply chain management services company based in the Boston suburbs, but it had to sell off the naming rights, and Gillette bought them.
Boston College played a couple of football games at the old stadium in the early 1980s, thanks to the popularity of quarterback Doug Flutie. The old stadium was basically an oversized version of a high school stadium, complete with aluminum benches for fans, and it was terrible. The new stadium is so much better.
Food. Gillette Stadium is one of the few NFL stadiums I've actually been to, although it was for an MLS game. And yet, I don't remember much about the food options -- and the Patriots' website is woefully inadequate to explaining the options.
I was only at the north end and on the east sideline of the lower level. But I do remember that they had McDonald's stands at both. There was also a Dunkin Donuts stand, a Premio Italian Sausage stand, and a stand selling that New England standby, clam chowder.
Team History Displays. The Revs won the U.S. Open Cup, America's answer to England's FA Cup, in 2007. And they won the short-lived North American SuperLiga, a Europa League-like competition for teams in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, in 2008. But that's it. They've reached 5 MLS Cup Finals, and lost them all: 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2014. And they lost the 2016 U.S. Open Cup Final to FC Dallas.
Even with a typical New England team's cheating (their players are notorious for dirty tackles and diving for penalties, enough to make the L.A. Galaxy look clean by comparison), they can't win an MLS Cup, or even a Supporters' Shield (even the Red Bulls have done that -- twice). And they have no retired numbers or team hall of fame, despite being over 20 years old now. So the only title displays you're going to see belong to the Patriots, at the south end of the stadium.
Easily the greatest player in Revs history -- and that's in total legend and in what he did with them -- in Clint Dempsey, who began his top-flight career with them, 2004 to 2006.Stuff. As I said, the Patriots Pro Shop is at the northeast corner of the stadium, on the ground floor, below the Hall. But they don't sell Revs stuff. You'll have to go to an ordinary souvenir stand for one of those. And there are no good books or videos about the team.
During the Game. Red Sox fans, well, if you're a Yankee Fan, you know how they can be. Bruin fans can be nasty. Celtic fans can be arrogant. As a recent Thrillist article points out, Patriots fans might be the most obnoxious in the NFL.
Revs fans? Well, not having won anything except that 1 Open Cup (and that, 9 years ago), they don't have reason to be arrogant about this team. For the most part, though, safety will probably not be an issue. I've worn Red Bulls gear on the grounds and inside the stadium, and faced no problem because of that. Most Revs fans will accept visiting fans as fans of the sport, and a natural brotherhood will develop. So if you don't start anything, neither will they.
Slyde with a young fan
The Revs' mascot is Slyde the Fox. They hold auditions for National Anthem singers instead of having a regular. They have cheerleaders called the Rev Girls. As I said, their supporters' area is The Fort, in the north end. Revs fan groups include the Midnight Riders, the Rev Army, and The Rebellion.
Their songs include "Glory, Glory, Revolution" (to the tune of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic") and "When the Revs Go Marching In" -- less a tribute to the New Orleans Saints as it is to Liverpool ("Oh when the Reds... "), which had a heavy support in the Boston area well before the Fenway Sports Group bought them.
ONE New England!
ONE New England!
Revolution we all scream!
ONE New England!
ONE New England!
Revolution is our team!
The Fort was the site of one of the league's biggest controversies, which was dubbed "FortGate." It revolved around "the YSA Chant": When the visiting team goalie was mere feet away from them, getting ready for a goal kick, the fans would yell, "Ahhhhhhhh... " and when the ball was finally kicked, yell, "You suck, asshole!"
Caring more about bringing families -- both in the stadium and watching on television -- than the hardcore support that made its existence even possible, the league cracked down. The leadership of the Midnight Riders and the Rebellion worked with club management, and that communication defused things fairly quickly, and actually made things better between the team and the fan groups.
At the first game after the ban on the YSA chant was announced, the Riders used this chant: "We all got together and decided that, among the two goalkeepers in this particular game, you are the one of lower skill and aptitude!" It didn't work too well -- certainly not as well as a 1980s chant by Duke basketball fans at referees, after North Carolina coach Dean Smith complained about their vulgarity, leading Duke fans to chant, "We beg to differ!" at their next game with UNC -- and, after a suggestion that the chant be printed on the backs of T-shirts, so fans could read it aloud while it's in progress, the whole thing was just dropped.
After the Game. Since Foxboro is suburban, you're not likely to face a crime issue. Both you and your car should be safe. However, since this is still the New York-Boston sports rivalry, even without it being a baseball game, don't get caught napping.
If you're looking for a postgame meal, snack, or just a pint, the mall next-door has several places to eat, including a Five Guys (yum), a Red Robin (eh), an Olive Garden (boo hiss), and that great New England-born, New York-loved institution Dunkin Donuts. However, this being a midweek night game, it may be closed, so you may have to look elsewhere.
While you won't be as familiar with them, Capriotti's Sandwich Shop is a New England institution, and they have a Patriot Place outlet. D'Angelo's subs doesn't, but they're also a New England treasure. And, while one normally doesn't think of country singers in New England, the mall also has Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill.
Dunkin Donuts, founded in 1950 in Quincy, is all over the place -- including inside the stadium. While Dunkin doesn't serve booze of any kind, it does serve snacks, and coffee, which you may need if you're driving back.
Just as Professor Thom's on 2nd Avenue in the East Village is a Sox-friendly bars in New York (as was the now-defunct Riviera Café off Sheridan Square in the West Village), the local Giants fan club meets at The Greatest Bar, 262 Friend Street off Canal, a block from the Garden. M.J. O'Connor's, at 27 Columbus Avenue next to the Boston Park Plaza Hotel, is the local home of Jets fans. (Green Line to Arlington.) The Kinsale, at 2 Government Center, is also said to be a Jet haven.
If you're visiting during the European soccer season (which starts up again in mid-August), the following bars are known for showing the games:
* The Phoenix Landing in Cambridge is the original Boston-area footie pub. As other supporters' groups have found their own places, they appear to be down to hosting mainly Liverpool fans, although they welcome all who behave themselves. I watched Wigan's 2013 FA Cup Final shocker over Manchester City there. 512 Massachusetts Avenue. Red Line to Central.
* The Banshee Pub in Dorchester is home to supporters of Chelsea, West Ham, Everton, Manchester City and Celtic. (When I last visited, the head of the Boston CSC brought a dog named Jinky, after Celtic legend Jimmy Johnstone.) 934 Dorchester Avenue. Red Line to JFK/UMass.
* Lir On Boylston, in the Back Bay, is Gooner Central for New England. They all follow The Arsenal, over land and sea (and recently-successful Leicester). 903 Boylston Street. Green Line B, C or D to Hynes.
* McGann's Irish Pub is the Boston area's main Manchester United pub. 197 Portland Street, across from the TD Garden. Green or Orange Line to North Station.
* McGreevy's, 2 doors down from Lir at 911 Boylston, is an attempt at recreating what's often been called the 1st sports bar, the Third Base Saloon, which saloonkeeper Michael T. McGreevy ran across from Boston's ballpark, the South End Grounds, in the late 19th and early 20th Century. "I call it Third Base because it's the last place you go before you go home. 'Nuff said." He used that expression so often that he became known as Nuf Ced McGreevy, and had the nickname, spelled that way, laid in tile on his barroom floor. This McGreevey's caters to Manchester United fans as well as Red Sox fans. In other words, they accept cheating.
* The Kinsale Irish Pub & Restaurant is kind of tucked away in the Government Center complex, including police headquarters and the courthouses, which is good, because it's home to Tottenham fans. As I said, it's also home to a New York Jets fan club. It's on Cambridge Street, but its mailing address is 2 Center Plaza. Green or Blue Line to Government Center.
* Clarke's Faneuil Hall is the home of Boston-area Real Madrid fans. The Faneuil Hall complex is at Congress & State Streets. The mailing address of Clarke's is 21 Merchant Row.
* The White Horse Tavern, at 116 Brighton Avenue in the Allston section, shows FC Barcelona matches. Green Line B to Harvard Avenue.
* Caffe Paradiso, at 255 Hanover Street, and Caffe dello Sport (cash-only), at 308 Hanover, show Italian games. In the historically-Italian North End. Green or Orange Line to Haymarket.
* Champions, at Copley Place at 110 Huntington Avenue, shows Bayern Munich matches, and possibly the other German clubs. Orange Line to Back Bay.
Sidelights. Foxborough itself isn't especially historic, no matter what its municipal website says. But Boston is probably America's best sports city, per-capita. Which doesn't make it an easy place to be a fan of a non-New England team.
On February 3, 2017, Thrillist made a list ranking the 30 NFL cities (New York and Los Angeles each having 2 teams), and Boston came in 8th, in the top 1/3rd. They said:
UPDATE: On November 30, 2018, Thrillist published a list of " ," and Boston came in 6th.
* Fenway Park. Fenway is one of the most historic sports sites in America. Although, when there's a Sox home game going on, as Alec Guinness put it in Star Wars, "You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy."
In addition to the Red Sox, it was home to the Boston Braves' home games in the 1914 World Series (as they'd abandoned the antiquated South End Grounds and Braves Field wasn't ready yet), and football games were played there by Boston College, Boston University, and the Boston Redskins before they moved to Washington in 1937. It's hosted college hockey and, on New Year's Day 2010, the NHL Winter Classic, with the Bruins beating the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 in overtime. (This remains, through 2014, the only Winter Classic to be won by the home team.)
Tours are available year-round, and depart at the top of every hour from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Admission is $17 for the regular tour, and $25 for the Premium Tour that includes allowing children to take pictures with their mascot, Wally the Green Monster. You can also go on the warning track (but not the actual field), see the left field Wall -- the original Green Monster -- up close, and even touch it, and they'll take you to the seats on top of it, where they used to have netting to protect the buildings across the street from being hit by home run balls. That netting, which was the only thing that caught Bucky Dent's October 2, 1978 home run, is now gone. (I wonder where the ball is today. Hopefully, in the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.)
I took the regular tour in 2002, before the Sox ended The Curse of the Bambino, kept my Yankee fandom to myself, and enjoyed it a lot. A tip: Stick a dollar bill in one of the Jimmy Fund boxes, as it's a charity raising money to fight pediatric cancer, with which the Red Sox have been involved since 1953 (and the Boston Braves before that since 1948).
4 Yawkey Way -- the address used to be 24 Jersey Street, and a Number 24 can still be seen on the big oak door that used to be the park's main entrance. Green Line B, C or D train to Kenmore Station. (Don't take the E, and, for some weird reason, there is no A.) When you come out of the station, hang a left onto Brookline Avenue, cross over the Mass Pike, and then the 2nd left onto Yawkey Way. (The 1st left is Ted Williams Way, formerly Lansdowne Street, which is fronted by the Monster, although you'll never recognize it from that angle. The field is below street level, so the Wall won't look its famous 37 feet, 2 inches of height.)
* Solomon Court at Cabot Center. This is part of Northeastern University's athletic complex, and was the site of the Huntington Avenue Grounds, the only other home the Boston Red Sox have ever known, from their founding in 1901 to 1911. When the Sox won the first World Series in 1903, it was clinched here. At roughly the spot where the pitcher's mound was, there is a statue of Cy Young, who pitched for the Sox in their 1903 and 1904 World Championship seasons. Huntington Avenue at Forsyth Street. Green Line E train to Northeastern.
* South End Grounds. This is still the most successful baseball location in Boston history. It was home to 3 ballparks, all named the Sound End Grounds. In 1871, the first such park was built there, and was home to the Boston Red Stockings of the first professional baseball league, the National Association. This team featured half the members of the first openly professional team, the Cincinnati Red Stockings (hence the name), and also had a young pitcher named Al Spalding, who would later co-found the team now known as the Chicago Cubs and the sporting-goods empire that still bears his name. Those Boston Red Stockings team won Pennants in 1872, '73, '74 and '75, and its strength (domination, really) was one of the reasons the NA collapsed.
When the National League was founded in 1876, the Red Stockings were a charter member. They won Pennants in 1877 and '78, and by the time they won the 1883 Pennant, they were popularly known as the "Boston Beaneaters." No, I'm not making that name up. Building a new park on the site in 1888, they won Pennants in 1891, '92 and '93. But on May 15, 1894, in a game against the NL version of the Baltimore Orioles, a fight broke out, and no one noticed that some kids had started a fire in the right-field seats. (Or maybe it was the ashes of a grown man's cigar. Both have been suggested, probably nobody knew for sure.) It became known as the Great Roxbury Fire, and the story goes that the park and 117 (or 170, or 200) buildings burned to the ground, and 1,900 people were left homeless – but nobody died. (I don't buy that last part at all.)
A new park was hastily built on the site, while the Beaneaters temporarily played at the home of the city's team in the 1890 Players' League. This last South End Grounds hosted the Braves' 1897 and '98 Pennant winners, and lasted until 1914, when, with the team now called the Braves (owner James Gaffney had been a "Brave," or officer, in New York's Tammany Hall political organization), decided it was too small for the crowds the team was now attracting. So he moved the team to Fenway, and played their 1914 World Series games there, and opened Braves Field the next season. Overall, 12 Pennants were won here, in a 44-year span -- one more than the Red Sox have won at Fenway Park in 102 seasons.
Parking for Northeastern University is now on the site -- and save your Joni Mitchell jokes. Columbus Avenue at Hammond Street. Orange Line to Ruggles.
* Third Base Saloon. There's some question as to what was the first "sports bar": St. Louis Brown Stockings (the team now known as the Cardinals) owner Chris von der Ahe's place on the grounds of Sportsman's Park, or Michael T. McGreevy's establishment that opened just outside the South End Grounds, both in the 1880s. "I call it Third Base because it's the last place you go before home," McGreevy would tell people. "Enough said." McGreevy used that phrase to settle any and all arguments to the point where not only did "Nuf Ced" become his nickname, but he had it (spelled that way) laid in mosaic tile on the bar's floor.
Third Base Saloon became the headquarters of the Royal Rooters, a Beaneaters' booster club, founded in 1897. In 1901, when the American League and the team that became the Red Sox was formed, Beaneaters founder-owner Arthur Soden made one of the dumbest mistakes in sports history: Despite competition practically next-door to his team, he raised ticket prices. This infuriated the working-class Irish fan base of the NL club, and they immediately accepted Nuf Ced's suggestion of switching to the AL outfit. (I wonder if they built their park near Nuf Ced's place for just that reason, to get his customers?)
Nuf Ced and the Rooters stayed with the Sox after their 1912 move to Fenway, until 1920 when Prohibition closed him down. He died in 1930, and to this day, no Boston baseball team has ever won a World Series without him being present at all home games. (Not legitimately, anyway.) A park with a bike trail is now on the site, so the address, 940 Columbus Avenue, is no longer in use. As with the site of South End Grounds, take the Orange Line to Ruggles.
A new version, named McGreevy's 3rd Base Saloon, was founded by Dropkick Murphys member Ken Casey, with "an exact replica of McGreevy's original barroom." 911 Boylston Street. Green Line B, C or D train to Hynes-Convention Center.
* Matthews Arena. Opened on April 16, 1910 as the Boston Arena, this is the oldest currently-used multi-purpose athletic building in use in the world. Northeastern still uses it, while BC, BU, Harvard, MIT and Tufts all once played home games here. It was the Bruins' 1st home, from 1924 to 1928, making it the only remaining original arena of one of the NHL's "Original Six" teams. (The Montreal Forum and Maple Leaf Gardens still stand, but neither was their team's original arena.) It was also the 1st home of the WHA's New England Whalers, now the Carolina Hurricanes. They won the 1973 WHA Championship there.
The Celtics played the occasional home game here from 1946 to 1955, on occasions when there was a scheduling conflict with the Garden. In 1985, the Celtics played an alumni game here, with the opposing teams coached by Red Auerbach (his players wearing the white home jerseys) and Bill Russell (who didn't play, his players wearing the road green).
A gift from NU alumnus George J. Matthews led the school to rename the arena for him. In spite of its age, the building is fronted by a modern archway. 238 St. Botolph Street at Massachusetts Avenue. Green Line E train to Symphony. Symphony Hall, Boston's answer to Carnegie Hall, is a block away at Massachusetts and Huntington Avenues.
The Braves' top farm team was the Triple-A version of the Milwaukee Brewers, and, with their team in decline after the '48 Pennant and the Sox having the far larger attendance, they gave up the ghost and moved just before the start of the 1953 season, and then in 1966 to Atlanta.
But they already had Warren Spahn and Eddie Mathews, and, ironically, if they'd just hung on a little longer, they would have had Hank Aaron (they'd already integrated with Sam Jethroe in 1948, 11 years before the Sox finally caved in to the post-1865 world and added Pumpsie Green). They could have played the 1957 and '58 World Series in Boston instead of Milwaukee.
If this had happened, once Ted Williams retired in 1960, interest in the declining Sox would have faded to the point that Tom Yawkey, not a New Englander, could have gotten frustrated, and the Red Sox could have moved with the Braves staying. If so, while the 1967, '75, '86, 2004, '07 and '13 World Series would have been played somewhere else, Boston would have gained the 1957, '58, '91, '92, '95, '96 and '99 World Series, and, because of the proximity, there would be a big New York-Boston rivalry in baseball, but it would be Mets-Braves. (Of course, this would have meant the Yankees' main rivals would be the Baltimore Orioles -- who are, after all, the closest AL team to them, closer than the Red Sox.)
Instead, the Braves moved, and BU bought the grounds and converted it into Nickerson Field. The NFL's Boston Redskins (named for the Braves) played their first season, 1932, at Braves Field, before playing 1933-36 at Fenway and then moving to Washington. The NFL's Boston Bulldogs played there in 1929, before folding due to the Depression. The AFL's Boston Patriots played at Nickerson 1960-62, and then at Fenway 1963-68. The former Braves Field ticket office still stands, converted into the BU Police headquarters. Unfortunately, the field is now artificial.
Commonwealth Avenue at Babcock Street and Harry Agganis Way. (Agganis was a BU quarterback who briefly played for the Red Sox before getting sick and dying at age 24 in 1955.) Green Line B train at Pleasant Street.
* TD Garden and site of Boston Garden. The TD Garden, formerly the Shawmut Center, the FleetCenter and the TD Banknorth Garden (TD stands for Toronto-Dominion Bank), opened in 1995, atop Boston's North Station, as a replacement for the original Boston Garden, home to the NHL's Bruins starting in 1928, the NBA's Celtics starting in 1946, and the WHA's New England Whalers in the 1973-74 season.
The old "Gahden" (which stood on the site of the parking lot in front of the new one) and the new one have also, since 1953, hosted the Beanpot hockey tournament, contested by BC, BU, Northeastern and Harvard. The old Garden hosted the NCAA's hockey version of the Final Four, now known as the Frozen Four, in 1972, 1973 and 1974. The new one has done so in 2004 and 2015.
The Beatles played the old Garden on September 12, 1964. Elvis Presley played it on November 10, 1971. It hosted 1 fight for the Heavyweight Championship of the World, with Joe Louis defending the title by knocking Al McCoy out in the 5th round on December 16, 1940.
The new Garden is also home to the Sports Museum of New England. It hosted the Democratic Convention in 2004, nominating home-State Senator John Kerry for President. 150 Causeway Street. Green (outbound, so no letter necessary) or Orange Line to North Station.
Elvis also sang in Massachusetts at the Springfield Civic Center (now the MassMutual Center) on July 14 and 15, 1975; and July 29, 1976.
NCAA basketball tournament games have been held at the TD Garden, the Hartford Civic Center (now the XL Center), the Providence Civic Center (now the Dunkin Donuts Center), the Worcester Centrum (now the DCU Center), and the University of Rhode Island's Keaney Gymnasium in Kingston. But no New England building has ever hosted a Final Four, and none ever will, due to attendance requirements, unless the Patriots put a dome on Gillette Stadium.
No school within the city limits of Boston has ever reached the Final Four. One Massachusetts school has, at least according to current NCAA records: Holy Cross, in Worcester, winning the National Championship in 1947 with George Kaftan, "the Golden Greek," and reaching the Final Four again in '48 with Bob Cousy (a freshman in '47 and ineligible under the rules of the time).
The University of Massachusetts, with its main campus in Amherst, 93 miles west of Downtown Crossing, made the Final Four in 1996, under coach John Calipari, but had to vacate the appearance when later Knick Marcus Camby admitted he'd accepted money and gifts from agents.
The University of Connecticut (UConn, in Storrs, 83 miles southwest, closer to Boston than to Manhattan) has made it 5 times, winning it all in 1999, 2004, 2011 and 2014, and losing in the Semifinal in 2009. The only New Hampshire school to make it is Dartmouth, in Hanover, 126 miles northwest, in 1942 and 1944, losing in the Final both times. The only Rhode Island school to make it is Providence, in 1973 and 1987 (coached by future Big East Commissioner Dave Gavitt and future preening schmo Rick Pitino, respectively). No school from Maine or Vermont has ever reached the Final Four.
* Garden Bars. Several noted drinking emporiums are near TD Garden. Perhaps the most famous, and once rated the best sports bar in America by Sports Illustrated, is The Fours, at 166 Canal Street. It's named for "the Miracle of the Fours": 1970 Stanley Cup Finals, Game 4, overtime (therefore the 4th period), winning goal scored by Number 4, Bobby Orr, while tripped up by Noel Picard, Number 4 of the St. Louis Blues, to clinch the Bruins' 4th Stanley Cup. (Some people like to point out that it was Orr's 4th goal of the Finals; in fact, it was his 1st.)
As mentioned, the Sports Grille Boston is at 132 Canal Street. McGann's is at 197 Portland Street; while The Greatest Bar – a name, if not an apt description – is at 262 Friend Street.
* Alumni Stadium. Boston College has played football here since 1957, and the Patriots played their 1969 home games here. Prior to 1957, BC played at several sites, including Fenway and Braves Field.
Attached to the west stand of Alumni Stadium is their basketball arena, the Conte Forum, named for a BC grad, longtime Congressman Silvio Conte, a native of Pittsfield, across the State in the Berkshire Mountains. It was built on the site of BC's original arena, the McHugh Forum, which hosted the 1963 edition of the NCAA's hockey version of the Final Four, now called the Frozen Four.
Across the street is a library named for Conte's friend and fellow Congressman from Massachusetts, Cambridge native and 1977-86 House Speaker Thomas "Tip" O'Neill. Beacon Street at Chestnut Hill Drive. Green Line B train to Boston College.
* Harvard Stadium. The oldest continually-used football stadium in America -- the University of Pennsylvania's Franklin Field is on the oldest continually-used football site -- this stadium was built in 1903, and renovations (funded by those wealthy Harvard alums) have kept it in tip-top condition, if not turned it into a modern sports palace.
This stadium is responsible for the legalization of the forward pass in football. When the organization that became the NCAA was founded in 1906, rules changes were demanded to make the game safer. One suggestion was widening the field, but Harvard – at the time, having as much pull as Notre Dame, Michigan and Alabama now do, all rolled into one – insisted that they'd just spent all this money on a new stadium, and didn't want to alter it to suit a rule change. Much as Notre Dame has sometimes been a tail wagging college football's dog, the Crimson were accommodated, and someone suggested the alternative of legalizing the forward pass, which had occasionally been illegally done.
Today, the stadium is best known as the site of the 1968 Harvard-Yale game, where the two ancient rivals both came into the game undefeated, and a furious late comeback from 29-13 down led to the famous Harvard Crimson (school newspaper) headline "HARVARD BEATS YALE 29-29" and a tie for the Ivy League Championship. (Actor Tommy Lee Jones, then listed as "Tom Jones," started at guard for Harvard in that game. His roommate at Harvard was future Vice President Al Gore.) The Patriots played 1970, their first season in the NFL and last under the name "Boston Patriots," at Harvard Stadium.
Although its mailing address is 79 North Harvard Street in "Allston, MA," and the University is in Cambridge, the stadium is actually on the south, Boston side of the Charles River. Harvard Street at Soldiers Field Road. Unfortunately, it's not that close to public transportation: Your best bet is to take the Red Line to Harvard Square, and walk across the Anderson Memorial Bridge.
A short walk down Soldiers Field Road, at 65 N. Harvard Street, is Jordan Field, the 4,000-seat home of the Harvard men's and women's soccer teams. It was also the home of the Boston Breakers -- not a descendant of the USFL team, but the local XI in the National Women's Soccer League. The Breakers previously (2009-11) played at Harvard Stadium. They announced they were folding this past January.
In 2013, the Revolution and the Red Bulls played a U.S. Open Cup game at Jordan Field, the only time the Revs have actually played a competitive match within the city limits of Boston. (The Revs won, 4-2.)
Boston College has won the NCAA Championship in hockey in 1949, 2001, 2008 and 2010; Boston University in 1971, 1972, 1978, 1995 and 2009; Harvard in 1989. Northeastern has never won it.
* Suffolk Downs. Opened in 1935, this is New England's premier horse-racing track. On their last tour, on August 18, 1966, the Beatles played here. However, as horse racing has declined, so has the track, to the point that New England's best known race, the Massachusetts Handicap (or the Mass Cap) hasn't been run since 2008. Previously, it had been won by such legendary horses as Seabiscuit, Whirlaway, Riva Ridge and Cigar.
So, unless you really loved the film Seabiscuit or are a huge Beatlemaniac, I'd say that if you don't have the time to see everything on this list, this is the first item you should cross off. 525 McClellan Highway, at Waldemar Avenue, in the East Boston neighborhood, near Logan Airport. Blue Line to Suffolk Downs station.
* Museum of Fine Arts. This is Boston's equivalent to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I'm not saying you have to visit, but you should see one major Boston tourist site that doesn't involve sports, and it's a 10-minute walk from Fenway and a 5-minute walk from the sites of the Huntington Avenue and South End Grounds. 465 Huntington Avenue at Parker Street. Green Line E train to Museum of Fine Arts station.
* Freedom Trail. Boston's most familiar tourist trap is actually several, marked by a red brick sidewalk and red paint on streets. Historic sites include Boston's old and new City Halls, Massachusetts' old and new State Houses (old: Built 1713, with the State Street subway station somehow built into it; "new": 1798), the Old North Church (where Paul Revere saw the two lanterns hung) and the Old South Meeting House (where Samuel Adams started the Boston Tea Party and would be horrified at the right-wing bastards using the "Tea Party" name today), Revere's house (said to be the oldest standing house in Boston), the Boston Tea Party Ship, the U.S.S. Constitution, and the Bunker Hill Monument.
The Trail starts at Boston Common, at Park and Tremont Streets. Green or Red Line to Park Street.
* Cambridge. Home to Harvard and MIT, it is not so much "Boston's Brooklyn" (that wouldn't be Brookline, either, but would be South Boston or "Southie" and neighboring Dorchester) as "Boston's Greenwich Village," particularly since Harvard Square was the center of Boston's alternative music scene in the Fifties and Sixties, where performers like Joan Baez and the aforementioned Kingston Trio became stars. Later, it would be rock acts like Aerosmith, the J. Geils Band and the Dropkick Murphys that would make their names in Cambridge.
The city is also home to the Longfellow House, home of the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. And while it is worth a visit, no, you cannot, as the old saying demonstrating the Boston accent goes, "Pahk yuh cah in Hahvuhd Yahd." Harvard Yard does not allow motorized vehicles. Centered around Harvard Square at 1400 Massachusetts Avenue. Red Line to Harvard Square.
* Beaches. Despite being noticeably north of New York, Long Island and the Jersey Shore, there are beaches not just near but in Boston. L Street Beach and M Street Beach are in South Boston (a.k.a. Southie), 2 1/2 miles southeast of downtown. Red Line to Broadway, then Bus 9 to East Broadway and L Street, then walk 7 blocks south -- no further from the closest transit than the beach is from the train station at Point Pleasant Beach and the bus station at Ocean City, New Jersey.
Revere Beach is the oldest public beach in America, opening in 1896. 350 Revere Beach Blvd. in Revere, 7 miles northeast of Downtown Crossing. Blue Line to Wonderland.
But the best-known New England beaches are quite a trip. Cape Cod runs from Sandwich (57 miles) to Provincetown (119 miles). The island of Martha's Vineyard (90 miles), famed as a rich man's playground, but also the stand-in for Amity Island in Jaws), can be accessed by the Woods Hole-Vineyard Haven Ferry, about 50 minutes; while the separate island of Nantucket (100 miles) uses the Hyannis-Nantucket Ferry, about 2 hours.
Other notable New England beach towns include Newport, Rhode Island (74 miles); Mystic, Connecticut (98 miles); and Old Orchard Beach and Boothbay Harbor, Maine (97 and 164 miles).
* John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. Unlike the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, which is a 2-hour drive north of Midtown Manhattan in Hyde Park, closer to Albany, the JFK Library is much more accessible – not just to drivers and non-drivers alike, but to anyone. Maybe it's because it's more interactive, but maybe it's also because FDR is a figure of black-and-white film and scratchy radio recordings, while JFK is someone whose television images and color films make him more familiar to us, even though he's been dead for over 50 years now. (Incredibly, he's now been dead longer than he was alive.)
Sometimes it seems as though his Library is less about his time than it is about our time, and the time beyond. While I love the FDR Library, there's no doubt in my mind that this is the best Presidential Library or Museum there is. Columbia Point, on the Boston campus of the University of Massachusetts. Red Line to JFK/UMass, plus a shuttle bus.
Also on the UMass-Boston campus is the Clark Athletic Center, which hosted one of the 2000 Presidential Election's debates between Al Gore and George W. Bush. 100 Morrissey Blvd., 4 blocks from the JFK Library.
Other Massachusetts Presidential sites include the JFK Tour at Harvard, JFK's birthplace at 83 Beals Street in Brookline (Green Line B train to Babcock Street), those involving John and John Quincy Adams in Quincy (Red Line to Quincy Center – not to "Quincy Adams"), the house at 173 Adams Street in Milton where George H.W. Bush was born (Red Line to Milton, now has a historical marker, although the house itself is privately owned and not available for tours), and the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Library and Museum, in Northampton where he was Mayor before becoming the State's Governor and then President (20 West Street, 100 miles west of Boston, although Greyhound goes there). Closer than Northampton are sites relating to Franklin Pierce in Concord and Hillsboro, New Hampshire.
Salem, home to the witch trials, is to the north: MBTA Commuter Rail Newburyport/Rockport Line out of North Station to Salem. A statue of Elizabeth Montgomery as Samantha Stephens in Bewitched
was put there by the nostalgia network TV Land, instead of in Westport, Connecticut, where the show was based, because she's the most famous witch in American pop culture. Well, except maybe for Margaret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz.
Plymouth, where the Pilgrims landed and set up the Massachusetts Bay Colony, is to the south: MBTA Kingston/Plymouth Line out of South Station to Kingston, then switch to FreedomLink bus. And Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in downtown Boston on March 10, 1876, at his house at 109 Court Street. The Government Center T station is there now.
Lexington & Concord? Lexington: Red Line north to its terminal at Alewife, then switch to the 62 or 76 bus. Concord: MBTA Fitchburg/South Acton Line out of North Station to Concord. Bunker Hill? 93 bus on Washington Street, downtown, to Bunker Hill & Monument Streets, across the river in the Charlestown neighborhood, then 2 blocks down Monument.
The Bull & Finch Pub, which was used for the exterior shot and the basis for the interior shot of Cheers, was at 84 Beacon Street at Brimmer Street, across from Boston Common and near the State House. It's since been bought and turned into an official Cheers, with the upstairs Hampshire House (the basis for the show's rarely-seen seafood restaurant Melville's) also part of the establishment. Green Line to Arlington. A version designed to look more like the one on the show, complete with an "island bar" instead of a "wall bar," is at Faneuil Hall. Congress & Market Streets. Green Line to Government Center.
The Suffolk County Court House, recognizable from David E. Kelley's legal dramas Ally McBeal, The Practice and Boston Legal, is at the Scollay Square/Government Center complex. The official address is 3 Pemberton Street, at Somerset Street. Green Line to Government Center.
Boston wasn't always a popular filming location, or setting, for TV shows. But when Dan Wakefield sold the TV rights to his 1970 coming-of-age novel Going All the Way, he was tired of so many shows being set in New York or Los Angeles, so he set it in a city he knew, and so, in the 1977-78 season, James at 15 aired, and was set in Boston. Although Kevin Williamson filmed Dawson's Creek in his hometown of Wilmington, North Carolina, he was influenced by James at 15, and set the show in fictional Capeside, Massachusetts.
Also set in Boston (some filmed location shots there, but were mostly shot in L.A.) have been Banacek, Cheers, St. Elsewhere, Spenser: For Hire (based on the novels by Bostonian Robert B. Parker), Tru Calling, Crossing Jordan, Boston Public (David E. Kelley goes to school), the Disney Channel series The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, Rizzoli & Isles, and, in the realm of sci-fi and fantasy, Fringe and the U.S. version of Being Human.
On M*A*S*H, Boston was the hometown of Captain "Trapper" John McIntire (Wayne Rogers) and Major Charles Emerson Winchester III (David Ogden Stiers), and a one-time residence (possibly medical school and hospital work) for Mainer Captain Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce (Alan Alda). Yet Trapper and Charles never appeared onscreen together, Hawkeye didn't recognize Charles by face or name, and when Trapper's name was mentioned, Charles showed no recognition.
In contrast to TV, Boston has long been a film setting: The Story of Alexander Graham Bell, the film version of Edwin O'Connor's novel The Last Hurrah, both versions of The Thomas Crown Affair, The Friends of Eddie Coyle, The Verdict, the Terence Mann scenes in Field of Dreams, Blown Away, the basketball-themed Celtic Pride, The Boondock Saints, Mystic River, the baseball-themed Fever Pitch, The Departed, Gone Baby Gone, and the film about the Boston Marathon bombing, Patriots Day.
Lots of Harvard-set films have filmed in Cambridge, including Good Will Hunting. Ben Affleck also set The Town in Cambridge, but that was a working-class setting: As the saying goes, "Town, not gown." Louisa May Alcott set Little Women in her hometown of Concord. The seaport town of Gloucester was home to The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming and The Perfect Storm. Lowell, in addition to being the real-life home of novelist Jack Kerouac and actress Bette Davis, is the hometown of boxer Micky Ward, the subject of the film The Fighter. Manchester By the Sea was set in the town of the same name. Amherst was the setting for Carnal Knowledge. And the best-known Massachusetts movie of them all, Jaws? Martha's Vineyard, like Nantucket off the south coast, stood in for the fictional Amity Island.
The Prudential Tower, a.k.a. the Prudential Center (not to be confused with the Devils' arena in Newark), at 749 feet the tallest building in the world outside New York when it opened in 1964, contains a major mall. 800 Boylston Street. The finish line of the Boston Marathon, and the site of the 2013 bombing, is at 755 Boylston at Ring Road. Green Line B, C or D to Copley, or E to Prudential.
There are two John Hancock Buildings in Boston, although neither officially has the name on it anymore. The older one, at 197 Clarendon Street at St. James Avenue, went up in 1947 and is better known as the Berkeley Building. It is 495 feet high counting a spire that lights up, and is a weather beacon, complete with poem:
Steady blue, clear view.
Flashing blue, clouds due.
Steady red, rain ahead.
Flashing red, snow instead.
If it's flashing red during baseball season, when snow is not expected (except maybe in April), that means that day's Red Sox game has been postponed. When the Sox won the Series * in 2004, '07 and '13, it flashed red and blue.
The glass-facaded newer building, at 200 Clarendon across from the old one, was completed in 1976 and is 790 feet tall, making it not just the tallest in Boston, in Massachusetts, or in New England, but the tallest in North America east of Manhattan. Green Line to Copley.
I know lots of people in New York and New Jersey hate New England. This is unfair: The region is a terrific place, even if you don't like their sports teams.
American soccer fans have -- with the notorious except of NYCFC in 2016, the idiots -- gone out of their way to not be hooligans in the English style. Keep it clean, and Revs fans will welcome you as honorable opponents.
Just don't be surprised if the Revs players play dirty. The fans won't.
Good luck, but, just in case, remember: Safety first. Despite Boston's reputation of having several fine medical centers, if given a choice, it's better to be an uninjured coward than a hospitalized tough guy.