Red Sox Legend's Grandson Hits Home Run at Fenway Park

By , WEEI 93.7

(WEEI) -- I couldn't help but wonder if a good chunk of Red Sox fans were curious as to what all the hub-bub was about.

It was easy for a certain generation to get giddy at the idea that for the first time in nearly 33 years a Yastrzemski was playing left field at Fenway Park. That's a lay-up. It was when calling all those spring training games when a minor-leaguer named Mike Yastrzemski was one of the sacrificial lambs to make the trip from Sarasota to Fort Myers -- allowing us to break up the monotony of exhibition baseball with Yaz did this or Yaz did that -- and it certainly was Tuesday night.

The photos. The videos. The pregame press conference. The postgame press conference. The standing ovation for a visiting player after hitting a home run. None of it was a surprise to most. But did the younger set really get what was going on? Because if they didn't I wouldn't really blame them.

This was a 29-year-old rookie from St. John's Prep with a memorable last name. For a minority of sort-of-baseball-fans that was the extent of it. Fair. They had no idea this guy's grandfather had bread named after him.

But I want to at least offer the meaning of Tuesday night from my perspective.

The second-half of Carl Yastrzemski's career was my sweet spot. That would be 1977-83. He was the best batting stance to emulate in Wiffleball. He represented the first image of the athlete all the other athletes looked up to. He was the guy I whose 3,000 hit I wasn't allowed to stay up to watch, leading to one of my all-time Little Robbie temper tantrums.

Yaz who proved my instincts correct when coming through with a key home run in Game 163 of the 1978 season. He was also the player I would have chosen over all other human beings on the planet to face off with Rich Gossage with the game on the line that day. His game-ending pop-up then became the first hard slap-in-the-face when it came to understanding sporting events don't always go as you might script them.

The git. The gut. The guile. The "I just gave the world everything I possibly could, don't really care about anything but baseball and now I'm going to smoke a cigarette" image always offered.

For others getting to relive their Yastrzemski memories in the press box Tuesday night what I'm talking about might be crapped on. They will tell me Yaz's true identity can be found in 1967. Sorry, I wasn't born yet. I only know what I know. And in this case that was enough to appreciate why his grandson's emergence at Fenway was a big deal.

I had actually gone through this a bit before with Yaz, having intently followed the career of his son, Carl Jr. (although he was always called "Mike"), as he trudged his way through the minor leagues. (My chief Cape Cod League memory is still chasing down a Yastrzemski foul ball on the Cape only to be told I had to give it back.) But the elder Mike. never got past Triple-A (although he did get a chance to play in Hawaii), ending both of our dreams in 1988.

Out of nowhere, however, we had this.

At first, it was a nice little side-story, Carl's grandson finally getting his big league shot with the Giants. Still, the idea that he would somehow make it to Fenway still seemed like a longshot. He couldn't crack that code with Baltimore, and unless there was a career-about-face the odds of joining San Francisco on this trip initially seemed remote. But now he has 20 homers. Now he is a legitimate major-league starting outfielder. That is his well-deserved payoff. For us, it was seeing that name on the back of a uniform again. For us, it was hearing the Fenway public address announcer bellow "yuh-STREM-skee" for the first time since 1983. For us, it was seeing Carl and Mike walk through the outfield side by side.

I know that some were applauding and lauding just because they figured that was the right thing to do Tuesday night. Understood and accepted. Just know that sometimes in the midst of an almost-six-hour-baseball game we are reminded why we started watching this game to begin with.

Just wanted to let you know.