Young Yaz set for Fenway debut

Alan Greenwood

Age is said to inflict wisdom – or delusions of it.

This comes to mind as Mike Yastrzemski prepares for his first game at his grandfather’s home address for 23 seasons.

Part of passing barrier into one’s 60s is the ability to insist, despite all protests (even if they are rooted in sound logic), that the old days were better.

For instance, when grandpa Yaz played ball, the pitchers were better, as witnessed by his 1968 American League batting championship won with an average of .301.

In response to the most miserly batting championship in history, Major League Baseball lowered the pitchers mound, which helped a bit.

Still craving more offense, the American League adopted the designated hitter rule, which now represents the only reminder that there is any difference between the AL and National League.

Back then, there were AL fans and NL fans, for reasons that cannot be easily explained to those who weren’t there

In my mind, the NL represented old and drab. AL umpires even looked sharper, resplendent in their red blazers and white turtlenecks, when the weather allowed such attire.

But, we digress, which is another privilege that comes with age.

In 96 games (55 of them in left field) Mike Yaz is hitting .265 with 19 homers and 51 RBIs. He told reporters the other day that he isn’t sure what sort of reception he’ll get at Fenway.

Let’s go out on a limb and predict it will be one he’ll savor deep into old age.

TIME TRAVEL: Sept. 17, 1994 – “When he was quarterback of the Nashua High School football team last year, Craig Rochette got his hands on the ball on every offensive play.

“But Rochette would rather get the ball just when it counts. Now that he’s an all-purpose back, he’s getting his wish.

“The 5-foot-9, 155-pound senior scored one touchdown rushing, another receiving an set up a third with a fake punt to propel the Panthers past Spaulding of Rochester, 18-14, on a fireworks-filled Friday night at Holman Stadium.”

AND FINALLY: Normally, news of one more college football bowl game is greeted with eyes rolling and a cynical sneer. But the Red Sox are set to announce that in 2020, the Fenway Bowl will join the dozens of bowl games that exist mostly to provide programming for sports TV networks.

It will not be Rose Bowl East. The game will feature teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference and the American Athletic Conference.

There have been college games at Fenway since the John Henry group bought the Red Sox. Boston College and Boston University often used Fenway as a home field in the 1930s and 1940s.

And the Boston Patriots made Fenway home from 1962-1968. Pals who saw the Pats there say it was a great place to watch football.

Having missed opportunities to see Fenway football, this new bowl game is selfishly considered a great idea.

Contact Alan Greenwood at 594-1248, agreenwood@nashuatelegraph.com, or @Telegraph_AlanG.com.