This may be a surprise to one or two of you who grace this blog with your occasional presence. Although the details have been finalised for some time, and the planning going on much longer, I’ve only got round to mentioning it to a few friends. This trip has almost crept up on me – the aforementioned planning and confirming seeming so long ago.
What is most remarkable is that this represents my third trip to the US inside a year, and I am very grateful to be in a position to be able to do that. Those Virgin Flying Club points keep rackin’ up!
First was New York with Kay, next was the “RTW” with me and a cast of thousands (and a few special co-stars!) and so this is with my brother, Nick.
The germ of a seed of an idea for this trip, for me at least, was sown many years ago in an episode of Aaron Sorkin’s masterwork, The West Wing (a classic; “The Stackhouse Fillibuster”). If I tried hard, I could maybe find the clip on Googletube to share, but as we are at 34,000 feet somewhere to the east of New York as I type, that will have to wait. The scene is Josh Lynham, the White House Deputy Chief of Staff, talking to CJ Cregg . Josh is trying to explain his enthusiasm for heading to Florida to see the NY Mets in Spring Training. “Will there be any actual games, like any games which matter?”, asks CJ. No, Josh replies, just the opportunity to watch the players training at close range. In answer to CJ’s understandable bewilderment as to Why On Earth….
A weekend at spring training. Mike Piazza is going to be standing in the batting cage. (strikes a batting pose) He's going to turn and see me. He's going to say,'Dude.'
CJ exits, still bewildered.
Substitute the Boston Red Sox, and perhaps David Ortiz, and you have mine and Nick’s fantasy “Dude moment”!
[No, I didn’t memorise all that by heart, I’ve looked it up since!]
If you want a somewhat less flattering look at Red Sox Nation and Spring Training, fast forward to about a third of the way in to Fever Pitch (the US version of Nick Hornby’s book, starring Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore). All will be, shamefully, revealed.