Thursday, March 30, 2023

A different kind of Opening Day

 As March is coming to a close, and April begins, for those of us in New England thoughts go to Sox baseball.  The anticipation of what the long season has in store. If October will bring another championship or disappointment that many lifelong Sox fans had known for 86 years prior to 2004. 

My love of baseball & the Sox spans my entire 48 years, mostly because of Pops. From a very young age, there was a baseball in my hand and Pops was there to catch it. 

Pops started me young

VERY young

I was lucky enough to grow up where the Sox AA Eastern League farm club played. From 1983 to 1995 the New Britian Red Sox played at Beehive field, right around the corner from our house.  We were able to see many greats come through the system like Brady Anderson, Jeff Bagwell, Roger Clemens, Curt Schilling & Mo Vaughn. For some of these years my parents had season tickets and we could be found most games sitting on the third base side.  

Beehive Field

It was always a family affair to go to the ballpark. Even my older sister soon became an usher at the games, as one of her first jobs. 

I, of course, played little league baseball. Hopeful to make it to the big leagues myself one day. Little did I know, I would get closer to it sooner than I could ever imagine. 

Stepping into the batter's box

Taking a nice swing

That's me, third row from the front, center. 

My little league coach had friends at the stadium, and he heard that they were looking for a new bat boy. Luckily, being great friends with Pops, he thought of me. Pops took me down to the stadium and we talked to the manager. He must have liked what he heard, or was perhaps living vicariously through me, and said that if I wanted to take the job it was ok with him. Well, it was ok with me!

As a young kid, it was amazing to get to be in the dugout with the players or to be able to go with the team on away games and get to know them on a personal level.  I don't think I appreciated it as much as I should have back then. But looking back now, it's pretty amazing to think that Roger Clemens used to give me rides home after the games. Or that I would go fishing with my dad, Tom Bolton and Charlie Mitchell. That it was normal for players to come over to the house for dinner. It all seemed natural and fun, not like a job at all. I would have done it for free but getting paid $20 a game didn't stink. 

Eastern League Pilots from 1985 & 1986

Roger Clemens autograph from 1983

As I got older, I had several chances to go with Pops and Mom to Fenway Park to see the Sox play. We had plenty of great times visiting the park that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. 

What a view!

The Green Monster

The Iconic Budweiser sign

A view from the street.

A panoramic view

This will be my second opening day without Pops. If I listen hard enough, I can hear him upstairs, sitting in front of his computer, listening to the game on his little clock radio. "The best way to take in the game" according to Pops. 

A beautiful display by Pops, a lifelong Sox fan

Next week will be another type of opening day here in Connecticut that I will be gearing up for in the coming days. 

But I think today I will get comfortable in Pops chair, turn on the radio, and enjoy the game. 

                                                              Go Sox!!

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

A Marthon Trip

 This past Fall I had the pleasure of taking a trip with a friend Peter to Seabrook, New Hampshire for a deep see fishing trip. 

We got up early and made our way to the Eastman's Dock Fishing Fleet for 4am. We started our morning by enjoying a delicious, freshly made breakfast sandwich and coffee from the restaurant on the dock. The perfect start, to the chilly morning.  

Eastman's Dock 

The Eastman Fleet is a family run business, since 1946, of seven diesel powered boats. They do fishing charters, private charters, whale watching, and sightseeing trips. 

We were there that cool fall morning to set sail on their marathon trip, a 12-hour fishing trip geared towards die-hard fishing fans. Peter had been on this trip previously, but this was my first time joining in on the fun. 

Black Water River

We boarded the Lady Merrilee Ann III, a 90-foot Lydia vessel, capable of 20 knots and able to hold up to 70 people for fishing. She is equipped with satellite tv on both the upper and lower deck, outside benches for sitting and heated railing with built in rod holders. The marathon trip comes with custom rental rods with Penn 113H/3:75 gear ratio for deep sea fishing perfection. 

We set sail with 50 on board and took the 30-mile trip out to sea, off the tip of Nova Scotia, to Jeffrey's Ledge in the Gulf of Maine, enjoying the beautiful sunrise on the horizon.  

The Beautiful sunrise

The boat was full of comradery and excitement on the trip out to the fishing grounds. Everyone bringing abundances of food and drinks to share with everyone else on board. Tables filled with everything from sandwiches to crockpots full of chili. A real festive atmosphere, filled with the anticipation of what lay ahead. 

Rods at the ready

After a two-hour trip out to sea, we arrived at Jeffrey's Ledge, the North East's most productive fishing grounds, that stretches off the coasts of New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine. Due to the relative inaccessibility, and limited recreational fishing allowed at Jeffrey's Ledge, the area is largely unspoiled. As a result of present regulations and limits that are now in place, this area continues to recover from overfishing in past years. 

The tip of Nova Scotia in the distance

Ready to start fishing

As soon as we reached the fishing grounds, the lines started to hit the water. On this particular day we were trying our chances at haddock, pollock, and cusk, a cod like fish, with no limits on any of them.  We were using squid as bait and had to fight off the sand sharks & sea gulls to allow the squid to do its job. 

All the adrenaline flowing, and the anticipation of the first bite. Hoping that we are pulling up a keeper, and not a sand shark. They are abundant this time of year because of the warmth of the waters having baked in the sun all summer long. 

A seagull floats atop the water trying to get whatever he can being dropped from the boat; unaware he had competition directly below. 

Soon the fish started biting. People pulling keepers onboard as the two mates hustled around lending a helping hand wherever they could.  The captain and two mates on board were very friendly and knowledgeable. A great group to spend the day on the water with. 

Not long after the fishing started, we were interrupted by a low moan in the distance of a humpback whale. For a moment everyone paused to get a glimpse of the majestic creature that few get to experience this close. Just as quickly as he came, he disappeared beneath the dark water, and everyone turned their attention back to the task at hand. 

The fishing was non-stop. I quickly realized why this is called the Marathon Trip, 12 straight hours of fishing is not for the faint at heart. Luckily for me, fishing is in my blood, so I enjoyed every minute of the day.  Peter is the best fishing partner for such adventures because he is like the energizer bunny and keeps your energy going too. 

As our day started to wind down, we had one more visitor. Hopeful to monopolize on the loose chum around the boat, a mako shark started circling. I watched in amazement as his jaws snapped at the pieces of squid and guts in the water. Another splendid creature that disappeared as quickly as it appeared. 

As we started to head back in the two mates filleted all of our keepers and we packed the fillets in to coolers of ice for our three-hour ride back home. The only thing left to do was to enjoy our catch with the family. A little bit of Ritz crackers with butter for a coating, and a squeeze of fresh lemon is all that is needed to achieve perfection. 

A great day of fishing come to an end.

This was a great trip. Great fishing, great company, and surrounded by the beauty of the ocean. A completed marathon. 

The season for them opens back up this coming weekend...I think I see another Marathon in my future. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Hello Spring

 "Happiness? The color of it must be Spring Green." -Frances Mayes

Warm, glorious days of fishing are just around the corner!


Friday, March 17, 2023

Luck of the Irish Giveaway winners

Unfortunately, comments are not allowing us to reply to anyone, hopefully we will have it figured out soon.

But without further ado, we have the winners for the Luck of the Irish giveaway.

                        #1 Patrick-NJpatbee

                        #2 Mark Kautz

                        #3 Brad from Potter

                        #4 Beaverdam

Congratulations to all the winners! Please send your name and mailing address to so we can send your prizes out to you. 

Thank you to everyone that commented and continues to interact with SSR, we appreciate all of you! We thank you for helping us to keep Pops legacy alive. 

                            Happy St. Patrick's Day to you All!