the memory palace - Episode 167: A Brief Eulogy for a Minor League Baseball Team

<p>The Memory Palace is a proud member of Radiotopia, a collective of independently owned and operated podcasts.</p> <p>A note on shownotes. In a perfect world, you go into each episode of the Memory Palace knowing nothing about what's coming. It's prete

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Content Keywords: kid home some immigrant
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This is the Memory Palace. I need to mail.

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A brief eulogy for a minor league baseball team upon hearing that as a result of the global pandemic the Red Sox in Pawtucket, Rhode Island would not be playing and what was scheduled to be its final season before the franchise is moved to, Worcester, Massachusetts.

00:01:07
If you've heard of the city at all, it could be because as the tourist brochures will tell you is the home to the old Slater Mill National Historic Landmark where in 1793 a recent immigrant named Samuel Slater who had worked in an Innovative cotton mill in England copy that Mills design and build himself. One of his own does kicking off the American Industrial Revolution by an Essence stealing the British one.

00:01:34
Or you may have heard of it as the Chamber of Commerce will tell you as the home of Hasbro the toy making giant behind me. Mr. Potato Head in My Little Pony and Transformers and Play-Doh and many other popular brands.

00:01:48
But if you are sports fan.

00:01:50
You probably have heard of it is the home of a AAA baseball team the highest level of the sports minor leagues the final hurdle on a young players multi-year quest to make it to the majors and play four teams like the Chicago Cubs or New York Yankees or in this case the Boston Red Sox. If so, you wouldn't like me heard it from her broadcaster feeling the ample time between the action in that most ambling of American games to pass time in what was once truly America's pastime butt waxing poetic you're into that or feeling that are if you're not with the biography of some batter speculating say on whether the rookie just brought up to Boston was ever going to reach the heights predicted for him by some scouted for seen him at 14 track down a long Fly ball that got lost in the lights in the summer bugs at some Ball filled out by the water tower like he was made for it. You like me would have been told he led the league in triples at Pawtucket and dust you would have been told wrong.

00:02:47
It is spelled Pawtucket, but it is pronounced Pawtucket the W silent maybe in the a Pawtucket perfect for freshening up. Any Nantucket base dirty Limerick in a difference in pronunciation is a kind of shibboleth is the broadcaster often a former player pronounces it right then, you know, he passed through town on his way up or maybe he grew up near there like me spend summer nights in the grandstands or in the Box Seats just a few rows down if your parents could spring for the extra couple of bucks to get a little closer to the field.

00:03:19
Hot dogs and peanut shells and Hey Batter Batter a pitcher not a belly itcher all that. He probably cut a couple of holes in a milk jug in the local tradition cut one for a string and another to make a kind of door. So you can lower your jug down over the edge of the Dugout hoping a player would reach into that jug to find a baseball and a pen. So he'd sign it and send it back up you were fishing for autographs. Hoping to reel in a good one some future star take it home with the souvenir cup would always celebrated e33 any game that took place in that stadium in 1981 the longest one in baseball's long history. Maybe you've heard of Pawtucket for that.

00:04:03
I worked there one summer the last before I left for college. The first one. I had my own car. I rolled out the tarp during rain delays swept up a lot of popcorn posedown spilled beer scoop ice cream into little plastic helmets, which sounds fun but was murder on your wrist one time on my way to work. I was cutting through the players parking lot. When one of the pictures called out to me, he was leaning against the door of his truck. He started asking me questions about school and what it was into weather had a girlfriend the whole thing lasted a couple of minutes and at the end he said something I don't quite remember but in my head all these years later, it was some version of hold onto 16 as long as you can and it still holds up as far as advice goes.

00:04:46
If it most of the season in the concession stand in the first base side to face the field and angle to be there. The biggest stands in the main Concourse downstairs were intense Men by young adults who seem to be working there still but who live for baseball season and spent home stands hazing new kids and figuring out who's apartment they were drinking at that night and talking trash and talking up plans for their lives. They never seem to reach beyond the city limits. It was all a lot for me at the time since I found my footing in the stand up stairs, you have its perks you couldn't see the game, but you could hear it was great. Sometimes there's a breeze and I usually close down around the 7th inning, which meant I got to leave early which was the real selling point.

00:05:30
I did have a girlfriend and I had friends who had Cars 2 you can meet me out after work and I knew then as now that there are only so many Summers.

00:05:41
And I tell you this and pour one out for the Pawtucket Red Sox not because it was the place that I worked one summer, but because it was one of those places when worked in the summer and there are other minor league teams and cities I first knew because I heard some play-by-play guy mentioned them when I was a kid. I knew Toledo is the home of the Mud Hens Chattanooga is the home of the Lookouts Durham as the home of the bulls and sometimes those teams get bought get moved to cities with more generous tax rebates looking to seize their place on the map to be a minor league City.

00:06:16
Did you have the plans for the ballpark in Pawtucket the 1930s? It was the mayor's Pet Project There Was An Old Pond that a dried-up when the factory Boom at the turn of the previous Century had re-routed Pawtucket waterways. It was just weeds in rocks and mud and Mary McCoy pictured open field for kids for people finishing their shifts the Mills and in the center of it all would be Stadium world-class facility with enough seating Taylor professional football team to this thriving industrial town to host championship boxing. It would be an architectural Marvel the largest cantilever roof ever built sure to be an internationally recognized symbol of this city on the rise, but they couldn't build in.

00:07:01
After years of excavation and rock breaking and landfilling the found that the former Pond was still to punt like the ground was too soft to support the weight of their Ambitions in the plan fell apart but a new deal administrator pulled it off the scrap Heap and revise the plan. It wasn't quite as Grand but it employed hundreds of men for years Masons and painters in Teamsters, man, who sanded wooden bleachers and both of them into place to fix to plaques for the wall one identifying the stadium as works progress administration project 38423 in another dedicating it to the memory of Mayor Thomas P McCoy died before he could see it completed.

00:07:45
Was dedicated in June of 1946 more than a decade after they first broke ground. There were brass bands benedictions from local clergy performances organized around a theme of international cooperation. So inspiring during that first post-war summer.

00:08:02
There were contests and field games for 10,000 kids though there weren't nearly enough seats in the new stadium for all of their parents to watch instead of some 20,000. It seems to be fine. It's smaller roof was no architectural Landmark, but it could keep them on this crowd and shade McCoy Stadium wasn't Grand enough to host the World Heavyweight Championship or an NFL team. There was something to be proud of

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summer evening in peacetime

00:08:33
trying to spot your kid on the field flanked by factories not knowing that those factories would be shuttered before most of those kids grew up with at the textile industry. Would move to the American South in a couple of decades.

00:08:46
overseas after that

00:08:49
but it was big enough for baseball.

00:08:52
Purse for the Pawtucket Slater's named after the industrial spy turned industry giant who first put the town in the map and since 1966 the Pawtucket Red Sox which kept it there.

00:09:04
And gave generations of people in the fourth largest town in the smallest state in the Union the point of Pride to Hometown. Whose name meant something.

00:09:14
Give him a place to work or place to sit after work with a hot dog and a beer and ice cream scooped into a plastic helmet leather kid went fishing for autographs.

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Enter today. We remember the Pawtucket Red Sox.

00:09:29
Send me the Worcester Red Sox.

00:09:32
Remember that there are only so many Summers.

00:09:54
Newest episode of The Memory Palace is distance from lies McGraw Engineering Systems from Elizabeth obear.

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You need is a proud member for Utopia from Purex the collective of artists and small business owners. Do you want to support Independent Media during this time of consolidation and conglomeration corporatization did something else equally troubling that starts with C. You can make a donation to radiotopia. FM good follow me on Twitter and Facebook. Yeah Facebook. I'm at Nate at the Memory Palace. Us me to talk to you guys a couple weeks. Meantime stay safe wear masks. We got for one another.

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