Red Sox and Baseball: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know
CGS Summer Institute to focus on America’s pastime| From BU Today | By Rich Barlow
Fenway Park’s 100th anniversary prompted this year’s Summer Institute on baseball and the Red Sox.
Photo by Chase Elliott Clark
Baseball is a sport. No, it’s an art. No, it’s science. No, it’s history.
Actually, it will be all of the above. Even the most die-hard Red Sox fan should be sated by the immersion into Bosox and baseball afforded by the College of General Studies’ first Summer Institute, which will be devoted to the sport in honor of Fenway Park’s centennial. The weekend-long event, titled Baseball: An Interdisciplinary Summer Institute, will run July 20 to 22.
The institute, mixing lectures, film, and tours of Fenway and Nickerson Field (site of the Sox World Series games in 1915 and ’16), is sponsored by the CGS Center for Interdisciplinary Teaching and Learning (CITL). The activities are open to the public, but the institute particularly hopes to draw BU alumni and parents, says CITL director Natalie McKnight, a CGS professor of humanities and associate dean for faculty research and development.
Among the weekend’s lectures, all by CGS faculty, are When the Red Sox Ruled: Baseball’s First Dynasty, 1912–18; Baseball and Myth (about the film The Natural, to be screened Friday, July 20, as part of the institute); The Science of Baseball: A Discussion of Statistics, Sabermetrics, Physics and Biology (sabermetrics is the study of baseball stats); and The True Church Universal: Baseball as the American Religion.
Lecturers are Tom Whalen, a CGS associate professor of social science and author last year of When the Red Sox Ruled; Leonard “Andy” Andres, a CGS senior lecturer in natural science, who moonlights as Major League Baseball’s datacaster at Fenway, transmitting the result of every pitch to MLB headquarters; Chris Fahy (GRS’97,’89), a CGS lecturer in humanities and a coeditor of Framing Films: Critical Perspectives on Film History; and Joshua T. Pederson (GRS’08), another CGS lecturer in humanities.
BU’s history is woven with that of the Sox. Nickerson Field was the former site of the stadium used by the Boston Braves, Beantown’s National League MLB team before they left town in 1953; the Braves allowed the Sox to play their World Series games there in 1915 and ’16 because it could hold more. Harry Agganis (SED’54), whose football prowess amazed BU fans and led to his name gracing the University arena, played first base for the Sox.
Participants needing lodging may stay either in a Student Village dorm room for $62 per person a night or in the Hotel Commonwealth ($249 per night) or Hotel Buckminster ($170 per night), both in Kenmore Square. BU can reserve rooms for those choosing StuVi, but participants choosing the hotels must reserve those rooms themselves by June 20, 2012, and mention the BU Baseball Summer Institute to receive a special rate. Those going the dorm route should register by July 5 (see registration link below). The registration deadline for everyone else is July 13.
“We plan to continue offering a couple of Summer Institutes a year,” McKnight says. Possible topics include the Irish in Boston, featuring Irish history, poetry, music, and politics; the city’s art and architecture; and creative writing. The CITL supports undergraduate research and internships, teacher training for graduate and postdoctoral students, and forums for discussing interdisciplinary education.
Registration for Baseball: An Interdisciplinary Summer Institute costs $275; there are additional fees for the institute’s optional events, such as a tour of Fenway Park, a Sox game on Saturday evening, July 21, against the Toronto Blue Jays, and dinner on StuVi’s 18th floor. Find an events schedule and register here. Note: tickets for the Red Sox game are severely limited, so register early.