Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Lynn Roots

Steve DelVecchio, North Shore Navigators Sports Information Staff

“Stephen, that’s an engine.”

This is only the most recent sarcastic remark my father has made about my lack of knowledge when it comes to grease, engines, and the world of automotives. Well Dad, in case you were unaware, this is what we call a sports article. Don’t get me wrong, my being a sports guy and my father being a gearhead makes our relationship what it is, and has always been the main source of firepower in our never-ending father son heckling matches. By now you may be wondering if I have a point with all this, and yes of course I do. If I don’t, I’m in trouble because I’ll lose this internship before it even begins. The point is this – isn’t it strange how things more times than not seem to work themselves out?

There was never a dull moment growing up in Lynn, MA. Those of us who have lived here all our lives have come to know this very, very well have we not? The home of the high school that sank within a 4 year span, and the place where peanut butter originally began cheating on jelly when it found its new lover, Marshmallow Fluff.

Maybe your dad took you to the ballpark when you were a kid, or maybe he was the one who pushed you to be the best little quarterback, pitcher, slugger, shooter, shot-blocker, gymnast, or softball star you could be. Sure, Dad was supportive every step of the way, but he’s the type of guy that if he saw Tom Brady drop back in the Super Bowl with a catcher’s mitt on his left hand, and a baseball in his right ready to fire it downfield, he probably wouldn’t even notice something (because it wasn’t a loose lug-nut or rusty carburetor) was fishy.

For me, Mom was the sports fan. I have no doubt people in other families have the same type of relationship with their parents, one that’s a little backwards from “traditional” standards. Although a little strange, I’m a firm believer that this type of relationship help get me where I am today. And you know why that is? Mixed up and abnormal has somehow never failed to become a common theme in Lynn,MA year after year after year.

Remember the Lynn, Massachusetts Mad Dogs? Man, that was fun. Some of my earliest childhood memories include cheap tickets, Stop and Shop burgers and dogs, free t-shirt give-aways, that big, dusty couch you could sit on behind home plate if you entered a contest and lost (or was it won?), and of course George “Boomer” Scott’s “what the hell am I doing here” attitude every time the legend himself was introduced to the crowd of a few hundred faithful fans. Of course, I was always there with Mom and a few friends, but what a blast it was while it lasted. Then, devastation came over the hearts of many as the Mad Dogs were to be no more. Fraser field had a few (thousand) architectural issues and the fans just weren’t showing up anymore, so it was time for the Mad Dogs to go. The pride of Lynn,MA took a huge blow.

The pain was eased when a few years later plans were announced that Fraser field would be completely renovated, and even I must admit they have done a fantastic job. In would come another semi-professional baseball squad, by the name of….ummmm….hang on I’ll get it….oh yeah the North Shore Spirit. Excitement at Fraser was renewed, and decent attendance numbers seemed like this team would be here for a while. Wrong, again. Maybe I’m exaggerating, but it sure feels as though I fell asleep one night, woke up the next morning, and baseball had once again disappeared from Lynn. Fraser Field, the home of The Golden Greek Harry Agganis, was no longer the home of the North Shore Spirit. We all remember it. The only other time I could remember being this devastated was when I found out that Mayor Pat McManus would no longer be gracing Lynn with his nasally snow emergencies because there was a new sheriff in town (no offense Chip but those things were fun). Stay with me people, there’s a light at the end of this tunnel. Has Lynn ever let you down for an extended period of time?

As I mentioned when I began this rant, things somehow have a way of working themselves out. We’re trying it again. It’s up to all of us to give a warm Lynn, MA welcome (actually, better just make it a plain old warm welcome), to the North Shore Navigators. Unlike when the Spirit came to town, I have a fantastic feeling about this one. And if you’re thinking I’m required to say that because I work for the organization, well you may be right, but take my word for it I do believe it’s true. The players on this roster are motivated, because they’re still playing at the college level. I challenge anyone to tell me that the intensity of the NCAA Men’s Division 1 Basketball Tournament can be rivaled by the NBA Finals. Baseball will be no different. These players have something to prove, and we’re all hoping they can prove it in front of as many fans as possible. No one knows better than I do that Lynn rarely gets it right, but threes a charm.

Here in Lynn we don’t do things normally, but in my experiences more times than not it’s turned out right. Look at me. I grew up in the house of a brother and father who constantly wore a tool belt around their waist, and a mother who would sit in front of the TV and have just as many choice words as I would when the Sox were having their annual meltdown. Now, I somehow find myself blogging for the newest addition to Lynn’s continuously growing baseball history. We Lynners may do things backwards, but we all know we can get them done. This is why we owe it to our city to keep a team here, and not allow them to pack up and leave town as fast as the Mad Dogs and Spirit.

The Navigators can only add to the legacy that has over the years become "Fraser Field". Baseball belongs here and my gut tells me we’re about to see we’ve found a keeper.

“Stephen, that’s an engine.” A phrase that is all too familiar to me. “Stephen, this is a Baseball Team.” A phrase that with a lot of fan support, and a little luck, will become even more familiar to me.


Wooden U. Lykteneau said...

1) You're glazing over what Nick Lopardo did for Fraser field. That was an amazing rebuilding job and, quite frankly, Lopardo gave the city of Lynn a gift by NOT selling out. He could have very well sold that franchise and stayed on as a minority partner in order to satisfy that lease's condition.

2) The North Shore Spirit were NOT "semipro" -- they were fully professional. And the players played as much or they were gone. Let Joe tell you about how quickly Derrick DePriest was let go... just for not living up to that franchise's standards for fan interaction.

Anonymous said...

Great artical - I'm not a native of Lynn nor do I live there, but I am curious, what do you mean by the hight school sank in 4 years? Was it built on a marsh or something???

Steve DelVecchio said...

To the first person who commented: You're taking the artical far too seriously. It was intended to be humorous, and many thought it was so I decided to post it. I didn't want to discredit anything that Lopardo did, which I didnt. The main point about that section of the story was the frustration Lynn people feel when a team comes and goes. Regardless of what they brought, some of us want the teams to stay here. If you take things on this blog too seriously, theres no way you'll enjoy it and I think Joe, Joe and Zander would agree with me on that

Steve DelVecchio said...

To the second person who commented: Thanks! As far as the high school goes - it was built on a landfill brand new about 8 years ago. Slowly, the high school sank into the ground because the ground underneath it wasn't stable enough. When I was there some of the first floor classrooms were 5 or so inches into the ground! Now, the first floor isn't even suitable to be using, so the incoming freshman have to go to the old classical on the commons. All quite the mess haha. Anyways, I'm glad someone enjoyed it and I appreciate the curiosity!


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