Editor’s Note: The Excelsior Senior Legion and Junior Legion teams are participating in a Rhode Island showcase tournament this weekend. Their first stop was Boston where the team enjoyed historic Boston and Fenway park. Excerpts of this story were from the EXLB Gazette.
Boston, MA - It was not your average travel day for the Excelsior American Legion senior and junior baseball teams yesterday. As the teams for the Rhode Island showcase and tournament this upcoming weekend, they took a trip to Fenway park where they received a tour, a view of batting practice from the famed Green Monster, and watched the Twins capture a 4-1 win over the Boston Red Sox.
It was more than just a game with batting practice as head coach Bruce Barron’s team. After arriving in Boston, the team took a drive downtown to the Quincy Market area that featured numerous eateries and several street performers. Faniel Hall and Quincey Market were built in the 1700’s to house merchants and their stalls for the purpose of trading and selling merchandise that came off the nearby ships and wharfs. The players were able to peruse the area for three hours and take in the sites and enjoy some of the food that included canoli gyros, meatball sandwiches, crab balls, and alligator chowder to name a few.
Some of the members of the teams walked to the Historic North Church and visited some famous folks in the nearby cemeteries. Benjamin Franklin, John Hancock, and Sam Adams, the founder of the craft beer company are among the notables buried there. Not far from the cemetery is the site of the Boston Massacre that the guys were able to see and it all gave them an appreciation of the historic setting they were in and according to Barron without direction from coaches or parents.
As departure for their next historical stop, Fenway Park, neared, Barron noted he did not have to look far for his team of Senior Legion players and said, “ All sixteen guys on the Senior team were together split between the open air pool table and the open air ping pong table. All sixteen. They stick together like no team I have ever seen, without instruction. (it is) like some magnet pulls them together and that is what real friendship looks like.”
Amazingly tucked into a neighborhood of narrow streets and old store fronts, Fenway Park oozes history and tradition. The Excelsior teams were taken on a tour of the park that included a lesson in baseball history and trivia. As Barron stated there were plenty of nuggets of knowledge from their tour guide such as who was the only pitcher to be voted top pitcher that never won the Cy Young Award? It was Cy Young, of course.
The tour continued with views of the Hall of Fame that included uniforms of old, plaques with dates back to 1907 and 1927. It was also noted that the Minnesota based group was thanked for sending the Red Sox number 34 (David Ortiz). They continued their walk past the roof top garden, a mini farm, that produces over 5,000 pounds of herbs and vegetables right there at Fenway Park. They viewed the Red Sox batting practice from atop the Green Monster. If things were about as good as it gets watching ball from the Red Sox soar over their heads and plunk off buildings and dent a sitting car not once but twice, according to Barron, the group made their way toward the visiting Twins dugout and home plate as they took batting practice.
“Our group didn’t know that Dustin Morse of the Twins was hooking up the Twins with our guys,” Barron said. “Paul Molitor came over to visit. Unlike TV, Paul smiled and laughed as he spoke with some of the group. We want to thank Joe Mauer and Brian Dozier for greeting us. Brian took the time to take a picture with every single Tonka kid that came over. Every single one. That guy is pure class, don’t ever trade that guy. Derek Falvey and Thad Levine had extended conversations with us that will continue in Minnesota and of course, the guys asked, who was that?”
Day one of the Excelsior trip was a really good day. Barron said it best and stated, “What a great day for our kids and program.”