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March 26, 2008

Breakfast menu: home fries and home runs

METHUEN — Mike Solomon of Methuen got a little extra spice with his two scrambled eggs, home fries, wheat toast and coffee early yesterday morning at Al's Family Diner in Methuen.

A front row seat to the Red Sox.

Solomon and about 100 customers were up and at 'em early yesterday eating their breakfast while taking in the Red Sox opener against the Oakland Athletics from Tokyo, Japan.

The game started at 6 a.m. and the last pitch wasn't thrown until nearly 9:50 a.m.

"I woke up and put the game on TV while I was getting ready," said Solomon, who owns a vending company. "My wife (Kathy) said, 'Why do you have the TV on?' I told her, 'It's the Sox opener.' "

He caught two innings at home before making the trek to Al's, where he sat 15 feet away from the TV.

"It was a perfect seat," he said. "It feels a little weird watching a game this early the morning. But I love the Sox. I'll watch them whenever they are on. I have to leave here and go do some work. I listen to the rest of the game on the radio."

Owner Al Silva had planned for yesterday (and today, another 6 a.m. start) for a few weeks. He was going to open about 30 minutes earlier (it is open 6:30 a.m. every day) with two TVs set up.

At about 6 a.m. he went outside to put up the American flag, letting people know it was open. When he tried to get back in, he realized he locked the door.

"I basically watched the first inning, alone in the hallway. I was not happy," said Silva. "Then the guy next door (in the auto dealership) brought over a crow bar and we broke open the lock."

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