Spring has Sprung!

Ah, March. The snow is slowly disappearing, the sun is still out when I leave work in the evening and mitten-less walks are a reality again, but the biggest reason to celebrate spring is of course the return of America’s pastime. Baseball’s back. All major league teams have reconvened at their spring homes in Arizona or Florida to train for another exciting season. Though I may soon regret admitting it in the pages of this magazine, football is not really my thing. As far as winter sports go, I’m more of a hockey fan. But, ultimately, when it comes to my sports-viewing preferences, baseball trumps all. More specifically, Red Sox baseball.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a big Sox fan, and I make the 2.5-hour pilgrimage to Fenway to catch a game at least a few times every summer (I’ve already secured Yankees/Sox tickets for August; it pays to plan ahead!). Last summer (the season we should all pretend never happened) reignited a heartache in the Fenway Faithful that had been extinguished since 2004, but enough about that. Bobby Valentine’s out, John Farrell is back home in Boston, the team made some smart acquisitions in the off-season and retained key veterans, and I’m confident the Sox will secure a spot in the postseason this year. In honor of baseball season, I thought I’d share some fun facts I stumbled upon recently … play ball!

  • The record for lowest attendance at a game is 347 fans, set in 2011 when the Florida Marlins hosted the Cincinnati Reds after Hurricane Irene.
  • In 1963, San Francisco Giants pitcher Gaylord Perry said, “They’ll put a man on the moon I hit a home run.” On July 20, 1969, 20 minutes after Neil Armstrong became the first human being to walk on the moon, Perry hit the first, and only, home run of his career.

  • In 1965, the average minimum salary in Major League Baseball was $6,000. Many players worked jobs during the off-season to supplement their income.
  • On average, MLB goes through about850,000 baseballs each year. At an average of $72 per dozen, that’s about $5.1 million.
  • Running vertically down the scoreboard at Fenway Park are the initials TAY and JRY displayed in Morse code; a memorial to former Red Sox owners Thomas A. Yawkey and Jean R. Yawkey.
  • Miller Park is the only MLB ballpark that sells more sausages than hot dogs.

Coming in April

We’ll continue on the topic of baseball next month with a look at the art and science of infield maintenance. And, if you’re considering reseeding a field, or growing-in a new field, you’ll want to check out Horticulturist John Fech’s tips for selecting the right turfgrass variety for your location.

Katie Meyers