Thursday, April 5, 2012

Boston Baked Beans for Opening Day

Baseball comes back today!  The Detroit Tigers' home opener will be at 1:05 p.m. against the Boston Red Sox.  I'm so excited!  Of course, I have to be at work this afternoon ... sigh.  But it's the principle of the matter!

Opening Day, for me, is usually when the New York Yankees play their first game of the season; they're not playing the Tampa Bay Rays 'til tomorrow, though.  But I've lived in Michigan for more than 30 years now, after moving from New York ... there can be a bit of wiggle room.

It is simply required to eat a hot dog in honor of this occasion - what's a baseball game without a hot dog, after all?  And I'm offering the perfect accompaniment, since the Tigers are playing the Red Sox from Beantown: Boston-Style Baked Beans, featuring the rich sweetness of molasses.

Now, I know that there are folks who don't share my excitement today, who aren't serving ritual, traditional foods.  Many people think that baseball is boring, because they don't understand it.  I'll spare you my rants about other sports which I simply cannot endure or which I ridicule with great glee, and rather focus on what I consider to be the great joy of baseball.

Sure, I'll grant you that there are lots of foul balls, causing significant delays in the games.  Sure, there  are plenty of superstitious players going through repetitive rituals, making it tedious to watch sometimes.  Sure, baseball players are prisses who can't play in bad weather.  Sure, there are performance-enhancing drugs and other scandals.

But baseball can be watched intently, play by play, or it can be company in the background; it can be whatever you need it to be.  There are thrilling moments that people remember - and debate - for decades.  People have been so devoted to the sport that their hearts have been broken by teams that have abandoned cities and by players who have abandoned teams.

Most importantly, though, the true beauty of baseball is this: with every single pitch there is the potential for something magical.  It doesn't always happen.  But the chance is there, and the hope is there.  And every so often, you get to witness a spectacular moment.

Today, a Mom or Dad or maybe a Grandpa is taking a child to his or her first baseball game.  They're wandering through the stadium, buying peanuts and Cracker Jacks and a souvenir program.  They're looking for their section.  They're heading toward the usher.  They're about to climb to their seats.

And in an instant, they walk out from the dark corridor and into the blinding sunshine.  A field of the brightest, most vibrant green lies before them.  Players are casually tossing the ball around.  Vendors are calling out with offers of pretzels and ice cold beer.  The scoreboard is zeroed out, waiting for the first hit, the first ball, the first run.

There are so few moments as special as that one instant when you walk into the ball park and the excitement surrounds you and transports you!  It elicits a gasp, and brings both a smile and a tear.

Today is a day of celebration.  It's Opening Day!  And all things are possible ....

Quick 'n' Easy Boston-Style Baked Beans

1 28-ounce can vegetarian baked beans, drained
1/4 cup unsulphured molasses
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons brown mustard
2 tablespoons honey barbecue sauce
1/4 cup finely chopped onion

Place all ingredients into a small saucepan; bring just to a boil, then lower heat to "low" and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Serves 6-8.


Unknown said...

I love your insight into baseball. It actually makes me want to become a fan now!!! I love it! And speaking of love... oh yes, I do love me some Boston baked beans! I could eat them daily!

Candace said...

We may not agree on the outcome of this particular game, my friend; but, we definitely agree on the awesomeness of Boston baked beans. I am loving your description of today's special day. I've never had the opportunity to see a live professional game. It's definitely on the bucket list. I enjoy baseball; but, I know the day that I make my first game (hopefully at Fenway!), it will be more about the whole experience of being there and the food than it will be about the actual game. Someday.... :)

Miriam said...

My son starts baseball for the first year in a few weeks, I can't wait! What a fun post! Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

lindalou said...

Opening day does seem to be the official start of Sprint. Do you remember back when Channel 4 used to do a countdown to opening day. Such a great way to build anticipation.

I am the "baked bean girl" in the family. Your version is very similar to mine. I just sauté up bits of bacon until almost done, add chopped onions and sauté together until soft. I then add that to the beans with all the other ingredients you have listed. Although I frequently use dry mustard.

I'm making them for Easter. Big surprise.

Carla from The River said...

I love your post Mary! I love baseball too. The Milwaukee Brewers are my team! I love to listen on the radio. Of course you know Bob Uecker. You lucky girl, you have Prince Fielder this year! Good Luck to the Tigers.

Happy Easter to you too.

Chris said...

It's hard to believe that it's just now opening week when my Nephew just played his last collegiate home game yesterday. I'm not big on pro ball but I have caught a few games this week. Love High Def for baseball.

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