SNOWBIRD HEAVEN

     While the weather hasn’t been great in Fort Myers, it is better than New England this time of year.  Thousands of fans flock to Florida to watch their beloved Sox prepare for the season.  You cannot walk more than 50 feet without seeing someone wearing a Red Sox hat, jersey or t-shirt.  City of Palms Park has sold out  a hundred and one times in a row.  The power of The Nation.

     On Saturday, I drove across town to the Twins facility to watch the PawSox play against Rochester.  It was a 4-1 loss, as Michael Bowden labored through his innings.  Jeff Natale knocked in the only Pawtucket run with a fielders choice.

     As I watched the game, I noticed some familiar faces sitting in the aluminum bleachers, under an awning on the first base side.  It was PawSox season ticket holders, Rich and Yvette Dumaine, of Warren, RI.  The retired couple has had seats in section 8 at McCoy for the last 6 or 7 years (row F, seats 1 and 2). Rich, a retired CEO of the Notre Dame Community Credit Union, says the pair retires to their home in Arcadia, Florida every October and stays until April. “It’s like being back home.  You can’t get Boston tickets, so we come to all the PawSox games.  It’s about a 45 minute ride from Arcadia to Fort Myers.  It’s worth it.  We started going to games in Pawtucket.  First a few, then 30 or 40 a year.  Finally, we got season tickets.”  Yvettte was an organist at St. Michaels Church in Swansea, Mass. for over 40 years, and has found similar work down south.  According to Rich, she wasn’t always such a big baseball fan.  “At first, I had to talk her into going to the games, now even if I can’t go, she’ll go without me.  I created a monster, making Yvette a baseball fan.”

     The Dumaines have seen a lot of games at McCoy and they have their favorites. “Youkilis, Pedroia, Ellsbury.  We’ve seen a lot of good ones.  It’s fun when you can see the players develop.”  Rich predicts that another young outfielder will be the next big thing at Fenway.  “Josh Reddick is going to be a good one.”  They also say they are ready for the start of the Torey Lovullo “era” although they’ll miss the lovable Ron Johnson.  “RJ’s a nice guy.  He deserves his promotion to Boston.  We’re happy for him”.

     What started out as a visit to see their daughter Suzanne 5 years ago, has turned into a new lifestyle for Rich and Yvette.  “We’ve made a lot of nice friends down here over the last 5 years.”  They busy themselves with golf and books, family and friends, and of course- PawSox Baseball.   

  

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