How Did Mike Greenwell Disappear?

I first became a Red Sox fan in 1988. My siblings attended college in Boston so I adopted the Red Sox as my favorite team despite being a New Yorker. While my brother rooted for the Mets, I rooted for Roger Clemens, Jim Rice, and Mike Greenwell. While the first two players are remembered, there are times when I often ask myself: How did Mike Greenwell disappear?

Greenwell was a great player during his days with Red Sox. He shouldered the pressure ofGreenwell Disappear playing left field where greats like Ted Williams and Carl Yastrzemski once played. Greenwell never really had Hall of Fame numbers. They were good enough though to earn a Silver Slugger and two All-Star appearances. In fact, he holds a few distinct records. 1988 saw Greenwell set the American League record for most game-winning RBIs in a single season with 23. In 1996, Greenwell set another record by driving in all nine runs in a 9-8 win over Seattle. So while he was never a real MVP contender, his reliability cannot be denied.

Then in 1996, Greenwell retired. Where did Greenwell disappear to?

Greenwell Disappeared to Japan, Then Became a Race Car Driver

In 1997 Greenwell signed with the Harshen Tigers of Japan. It was a short-lived career with Greenwell retiring only a few months into the season after sustaining multiple playing injuries. After a few coaching stints in the Reds’ organization, Greenwell tried his hand at racing. Greenwell started racing model stock cars at New Smyrna Speedway in Florida where he won the 2000 Speedweeks track championship. He retired from racing in 2010. Greenwell now grows fruits and vegetables on his farm in Alva, Florida. He also owns and operates Mike Greenwell’s Bat-A-Ball & Family Fun Park.

While he didn’t have the longest career, Greenwell retired with a .303 average and 726 RBIs. On a larger level though, Greenwell represents that Red Sox nostalgia that made me fall in love with the team. From hanging his poster over my bed to watching him play back in the 1980s, Greenwell was a staple of Fenway Park for many years. I only wish he’d make more appearances at Fenway Park.

All Green Line Trains but the E

green line

Picture from www.flickr.com

With the Red Sox Season only a hand full of weeks away, its only right to talk about the easiest way to get to Fenway during game days. For many years I have journeyed to the park and each time tried to figure out a different route before and after the game to avoid the large crowds that pack into a prehistoric subway system.

The world famous green line is basically your only way. The historic green line was the first underground train system in this fine country when it was installed in the late 1800’s (and it doesn’t look like they have made many changes since). 90 minutes before and after the game us humans are packed in like we are in a cattle car going to the abattoir. Just picture a hot summer day when the AC is struggling to hang on and the humidity in the car  is rising so high that at any moment it might start raining inside. But as all us fans know, the train ride is all part of the Red Sox experience.

When I took classes at the BAC, I would have to be in school by 7,which means being on the green line in the peak of Sox travel, going 1 stop before Kenmore while carrying models and art supplies for my architectural class. Then when the class got out at 10 I got the same jamokes coming back, this time drunk and obnoxious. As much as I would get annoyed, I understand its all part of the journey to the Mecca of baseball. One learns to love the train, until that one day I hit the Mass Millions and can afford a limo driver. The best part of the experience is telling an out-of-towner to make sure when they get to the green line, they take the E train to the end and let them now its the quickest way to Fenway Park.