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Take Me Out To the Ball Game


When I was a much younger bear growing up in Geneva, many of my friends at Bear School were already seasoned travellers. Unlike me, they had been lucky enough to visit many different cities from the time they were very young.  They would talk about their adventures, and tell me how much they enjoyed discovering new things. 


When they told me how much they enjoyed seeing new things, I assumed they would not really want to visit the same city more than once.  I was surprised to discover this was not always the case.  Many of them would return to a favourite city year after year.  I remember saying I thought this must mean they really didn’t like new experiences after all, and they just wanted to see the same old comfortable things.  Some of my friends were quite annoyed when I said this.  They said a return visit to a great city could be just like visiting a completely new place. 


At the time, I simply could not imagine how this was possible, but now I think I’m finally starting to see what they meant.  Usually when I visit a city, I only see a very small area.  Visiting another part of the same city could be like visiting a different city.  Even when you return to the same area, there could be a special festival that would make it a completely different experience.  Or you might visit during a different season.  I’m sure you can easily imagine that could make a very big difference.  As you can see, I no longer think it is boring to make a second visit to a city.  So when my traveling companion told me that we were going back to Boston, I was really quite excited.  Boston was my first trip after I moved away from Geneva, so I had very fond memories of it.  I was certain that I could find something new and exciting there, if I tried.  As it turned out, I had no idea just how exciting it would be.


On my first visit, Boston Common was one of my favourite sights.  A large park in the middle of the city seemed a very civilized thing.  It was the kind of thing a bear might do when planning the perfect city.  Lots of flowers, grass, trees, water, and quiet, make it the ideal place to relax and get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.  Of course, if it gets too relaxing, then the excitement, hustle and bustle of the city is right there just waiting for you.  It is the perfect combination for this bear.  So Boston Common was at the top of my list of places to see again on this trip.


My first visit was in the fall, and now it was spring.  The fall colours had been beautiful, but now the leaves were coming out, and the trees were in flower.  The spring weather was bringing people out into the park, and I was there to watch them.  Even though there were many people in the park, it was still easy to find a quiet place to be by myself.  That is what I love about Boston Common.




When I was in the park last fall I saw a lake, but it was completely empty.  Not this time!  There were boats taking people for rides on the lake.  The best part was that the boats weren’t powered by a noisy polluting engine.  Each boat had a large swan at the back of the boat to paddle.  I thought it was very nice of the swans to do that for the people.  I shouldn’t have been surprised though.  Most birds, and animals, are very generous.



On my way back from the park I met another one of those special animals that know how to be so still that most people don’t even realize they are alive.  We had a lovely chat, and he gave me a long ride, though we didn’t go all that far.  It brought back fond memories of my visit to the zoo in Berlin.



It was turning out to be a wonderful trip.  I was seeing the same things I had seen on my first visit, but they were all different.  My friends had been right all along.  Then, when I was least expecting it, I had the chance to do something completely different.


Growing up in Geneva, I never knew that much about baseball.  The main sport we played was football, or as my grade 3 friends in Stittsville like to call it, soccer.  We were all absolutely mad about it, especially when it was time for the World Cup.  The thing about the World Cup in football is that it actually has teams from all over the world.  I’m not as clever as you humans, but this seems very logical to a simple bear like me.  I like logic in everything, including sports.  So when my traveling companion told me that one of his friends had an extra ticket for a baseball game, I wasn’t all that excited.  I told him that I already had made plans to wash my fur that evening.  He laughed at that, but wouldn’t tell me why.  I think it must be one of those people jokes that I will never understand. 


My traveling companion is usually a very reasonable person, but sometimes he just doesn’t want to take no for an answer.  It is one of the things that annoy me about him, but it is also one of the things I like about him.  It’s kind of strange the way that can work, isn’t it? 


He wouldn’t take no for an answer when he first told me about Canada and I said that I had no interest in going.  He just talked about the amazing things you could see when traveling.  Before long I found I was getting interested in spite of myself. 


It was the same this time.  He told me that the Boston Red Sox had not won a World Series for ages, until they finally won two years ago.  During all those years when the Red Sox kept losing, their fans always stayed loyal and true.  He told me they played in a place called Fenway Park, and that it was the oldest and smallest park in baseball.  I couldn’t see why I should get excited about someplace being small, but he said that meant you could get an excellent view of the game.  In huge baseball parks you are sometimes so far away that you almost need a telescope to see what is happening.  Not in Fenway Park!  He also said the fans were friendly and that they especially loved bears.  I think he made that last one up, but by then I was beginning to be intrigued. I finally said yes. 


That is how I found myself taking the “T” out to Fenway Park.  We headed into the park along with thousands of other fans.  I was getting quite excited, but not as excited as the Red Sox fans.  Then we found our seats, and suddenly I understood why small was good.  We were so close to the players, that even with my short arms I could have thrown a ball and hit them.




I enjoyed watching the baseball game much more than I had thought I would.  It looked like it would be fun to play baseball, and I started wondering if I could maybe teach it to my friends the next time I was in Geneva. My only worry was that baseball would be very difficult for someone as short as me.   One of my traveling companion’s friends said that being short could actually be an advantage in baseball.  It might be harder to hit a home run with short arms, but it was also harder for the pitcher to throw a strike.  He told a story about one famous baseball coach who hired a midget because the pitchers could never strike him out.  (Being a bear, and a very short bear at that, I don’t think it is politically incorrect for me to say “midget”, is it?  Besides, bears aren’t known for political correctness.)  I was quite excited about the advantage I would have if I played baseball with my friends, until I remembered that all my friends are just as short as I am.  Darn!


Before we arrived I was worried I would have trouble seeing the game with all those tall people sitting in front of me.  Fortunately my traveling companion’s friends were kind enough to let me sit on their shoulders.  I had a perfect view of the entire game.



The Red Sox won the game 9 – 2.  They even hit a home run, just for me.



In the end I was very happy I let them take me out to the ball game.  Thank you very much Ernest! I had a fantastic evening.  When the game was over I was so excited about the Red Sox that my traveling companion bought me a Red Sox Baseball Jersey of my very own.  I liked it so much that I even slept in it.



The next morning was a beautiful sunny day, and I sat on the balcony of our hotel room on the 24th floor while my traveling companion had to attend another of his boring meetings.  I had a lovely view of downtown Boston, while he sat in a dark room listening to “exciting” technical talks.  It was the perfect end to another excellent adventure.  At least for me!




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