BOSTON -- Five things every Cubs fan should know about the Red Sox:
1. We had our Monster before you had your ivy.
And it’s all because of a fire. A five-alarm, four-hour fire wiped out the renovations that were being undertaken at Fenway in 1934. When they rebuilt the place, they built a 37-foot left-field wall made of concrete and tin, and in 1936, they placed a 23-foot screen on top of it. The screen is gone now, replaced by “Monster” seats that will set you back a C-note or more. Your ivy was planted by Bill Veeck in 1937. It’s Boston ivy, by the way.
2. Johnny Pesky is our Ernie Banks.
If you’re just checking Hall of Famer credentials, then Ted Williams or Carl Yastrzemski would be more apt comparisons. But when you talk about someone who has never fallen out of love with the game, it’s Pesky, who has been with the club for 60 years, including the last 43 in a row. JP, who just this season moved into an assisted-living facility, was born in September 1919, one year after the Sox beat the Cubs in the World Series.
3. Jerry Remy is our Ron Santo.
And we can only imagine how much you miss Santo since he died last December of complications from bladder cancer. Remy is truly one of our own, growing up here, playing for the Sox and then returning here as a broadcaster and morphing into a local institution. Remy has had his own health issues, having been treated for lung cancer and sidelined recently during a bout with pneumonia, but he’s back and going strong. If you hear someone yelling for “Remdawg,” that’s who they’re talking about. And yes, that’s his restaurant around the corner.
4. We had Gene Conley before you had Leo Durocher.
Most Cubs fans of a certain age can recall how Durocher in the middle of a pennant race in 1969 called in sick, when in fact he had flown up to a kids’ summer camp in Wisconsin, Camp Ojibwa, to spend his birthday with his stepson. We have our own AWOL story. In 1962, pitcher Gene Conley hopped off a team bus in New York and wound up going to the airport, where he tried to buy a plane ticket to Jerusalem but didn’t have his passport.
5. Lansdowne Street is our Waveland Avenue.
And “Cask and Flagon” is the closest thing we have to your “Murphy’s Bleachers” for those in search of an adult beverage. We don’t have apartment buildings across the street that allow you to watch a game from the rooftop, but when ex-Cub Sammy Sosa was here in 1999 for the All-Star Home Run Derby, he deposited a lot of balls.
Bruce Levine provides a similar service for Red Sox fans here.