Celebrating Boston Red Sox baseball great Carl Yastrzemski.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Secret Fishing Hole

From the Brunswick Times Record

BRUNSWICK — The privacy and serenity of Walter Reil's Bath Road property became a favorite vacation spot for one of the most legendary Boston Red Sox players ever — but after 38 years owning and operating the New Meadows Motel, a frustrating discord with railroad operators stain his otherwise fairy tale memories.

If you're not looking for it, the quaint motel campus can be easily lost behind the trees next to Bath Iron Works' boisterous Harding Plant on the Bath Road in Brunswick.

"I don't know how many times I've heard people say, 'I've been driving down this road for 20 years and I never realized you were there,'" remarked Reil, who plans to sell the approximately 16-acre property and its small neighborhood of cabin-style buildings.

That relative anonymity is precisely what attracted Carl Yastrzemski, a 1989 inductee into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and the last person to lead the Major Leagues in batting average, homeruns and runs batted in during the same season. The legend, known to Red Sox fans everywhere as "Yaz," could settle in for long summer stretches at the New Meadows Motel and sneak out to the Kennebec River to fish without wading through seas of adoring fans.

Reil, an avid Red Sox fan himself, still remembers the day Yaz checked in for the first time, back in 1996. Early in the week, Reil had gone about his regular morning rounds volunteering to drive patients to dialysis appointments.

"When I got back (to the motel), my wife said, 'You're never going to believe who was here,'" he recalled. "I said, 'Who?' She said, 'Carl Yastrzemski,' and I said, 'You're right, I don't believe you.'"

But sure enough, the following weekend the famous ballplayer showed up for his stay. After Reil fixed the Hall-of-Famer's boat a summer day thereafter, the two became fast friends. The man whose No. 8 is now retired from use by the Sox became a regular visitor to the east Brunswick getaway.

Thursday afternoon, Reil stepped out of the August heat into his air conditioned workshop. Hunting trophies and family photos cluttered the comfortable surroundings, as did a signed Yastrzemski jersey, a "Yaz" poster and numerous pictures of Reil and the Red Sox legend celebrating heavy stripers freshly pulled from the Kennebec.

Stories rolled off Reil's tongue, like the time Yaz surprised Reil's buddies by showing up for a Tuesday night poker game unannounced. Naturally, the starstruck players didn't object when Yastrzemski wanted to change the card game from poker to baseball.

"I told those guys that the six of us were probably the only people in the state of Maine that can say we've played 'baseball' with Carl Yastrzemski," Reil recalled.


  • At 7:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Meeting Yaz was an awesome experience for me. I met him for the 1st time at the West Bath Store when he was filling up his boat with gas for a day of Stripper Fishing with my dad (Walter Reil) Later that day my dad got Yaz to autograph a photo for me. It is sign To Doug From Yaz HOF(Hall of Famer). Hope I get to join them for fishing someday.


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