[Editor’s note: Tim Tawa graduated from West Linn HS in 2017 as perhaps the most decorated athlete in Oregon history. A rising junior on the Stanford Cardinal baseball team, the 2016-2017 MaxPreps National High School Athlete of the Year is in Cape Cod for the summer trying to get better while also trying to catch the eyes of professional scouts in the toughest wood bat summer collegiate league in the nation. Every Monday will share his experiences in the Cape with you. This is his third installment]
Being a member of the Cape Cod Baseball League has its perks. One is getting to spend the day working out at venerable Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox.
Last Thursday, on an off day for the entire league, each team buses north in comfortable luxury coaches, a refreshing change from the yellow school buses we take to and from games. As we sat in traffic on the way up, my thoughts were racing. I thought about the history of Fenway Park and how many incredible sports moments have happened on that field. I knew that soon I’d be running, hitting and throwing on that field. I felt so fortunate to have the opportunity to play baseball there. At the same time, I was not nervous, intimidated, nor feeling that the opportunity was over my head. I was simply excited, ready to do well and, most importantly, enjoy the day.
We arrived in Boston and walked into the stadium. Our team was instructed to sit on the right field side of the bleachers. Just watching other teams practice was great entertainment because of the location and beauty of the park. Then the real fun started when we stepped on the field to stretch. Naturally, I went to stretch next to the Green Monster, the iconic wall in left field. There happened to be a small “window” open on the wall. I peeked inside and saw hundreds of numbers and other potential additions to the old scoreboard lying around. What an incredible job it must be to work the scoreboard inside one of baseball’s oldest relics!
Seeing some of my Stanford teammates made the day even more enjoyable. I greeted Christian Molfetta as we were getting off the bus and Austin Weiermiller as we were walking into the stands. Later, I saw Nick Brueser and Jacob Palisch on the field. Seeing any of my college teammates during the summer is always welcome and an easy way to relieve the stress from a game filled often with inevitable struggles. In Boston, these reunions only two weeks or so after the conclusion of school were just about catching up and seeing how everyone was doing. I always miss my teammates when we aren’t at school; they’re all my best friends. Although I was only able to see four of those guys at Fenway, it was still one of the best parts of my day.
The highlight of the day was getting to take batting practice where David Ortiz, Carlton Fisk, Ted Williams, and so many other great players, past and present, left their mark on baseball. With hundreds of scouts in the stands, as I walked to the plate, I repeatedly told myself to have a disciplined approach. My goal was to hit the ball to all fields, low and hard, and really show that I could use the whole field. This approach went right out the window when I dug in and took a quick peek at the Green Monster in left field. It was too tempting not to swing for, and even though I did try to hit the ball low and hard, I was trying equally hard to hit a ball into the seats 310 feet from home plate and 37.2 feet above the playing surface. Eventually, I achieved the goal one time, something I will not forget anytime soon. Not too many people can say they have hit a homerun over the actual Green Monster in Fenway Park!
In the end, this day trip to Boston was a nice break from the strenuous games and grueling schedule that is summer baseball. Instead of stressing about getting hits off of really good pitching or bad hops on high school fields, my major league dreams were given hope for a few hours. It was an experience that I will remember the rest of my life.