For the second year in a row I found myself in front of a television watching hockey. Hockey, can you believe it? I can honestly say I have absolutely no knowledge of hockey and I could not explain one hockey rule.
So what would cause an avid baseball fan to stop and watch an entire hockey game? It can best be summed up in two words, “Winter Classic”. I am not sure whose idea it was to come up with the Winter Classic but I would like to shake his hand.
It is a hockey game played outdoors on New Year’s Day. That alone is a novelty in this era of multi-million dollar state of the art venues but would not be enough to get me to tune in. It is the outdoor venues they select that pulled me into the telecast.
Last year the game was played outdoors at Wrigley Field, the oldest National League stadium. It was amazing to see a baseball stadium under a blanket of snow and configured with a sheet of ice across the infield.
This year the Winter Classic moved to Boston and was hosted within the confines of Fenway Park. The ice rink went from the visitor’s dugout to the Red Sox dugout across the infield and short outfield.
The seating was standard Fenway Park and fans were lining the stands and even sitting atop the Green Monster in left field. There is just something intriguing seeing a hockey rink in a baseball stadium.
I kept expecting to see Dustin Pedroia emerge from the dugout with his cleats on and walk across the ice and take his position at second base. The game featured the Philadelphia Flyers versus the Boston Bruins.
The Flyers took a 1-0 lead and it looked as though the visitors would leave Boston with a victory. In typical Fenway Park fashion they played Sweet Caroline by Neil Diamond. Shortly after that the Bruins scored to tie the game and send it into overtime.
In the extra period the Bruins would score again giving the home team a victory in front of 40,000 cheering fans. After the game Team USA announced their roster for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
Overall it was an interesting game and a great idea. Hopefully they will continue to form a partnership with Major League Baseball and utilize MLB stadiums to showcase hockey.