It took me a long time to get there, but I can finally check off "gong to Fenway Park to see a Red Sox game" from my bucket list. No, I'm not really about to kick the bucket, but don't we all construct a sort of bucket list as we go through life anyway?
Being a Yankees fan, the legendary charm of Fenway Park is something we'd all heard about: the quaintness; the small arena; the rickety, aging architecture; the infamous Green Monster. As much as I despised my baseball fan nemeses, I kept secretly hoping to go to Fenway Park one day to see for myself what made it such a special place. The wait is over.
At the moment we entered the Park and the playing field came into full view, a chill went up my spine. As great as it looks on a high-definition television at home, being there in person is an experience like no other. Each and every fan is an integral cog in the wheel of the game experience: passing Fenway franks down the line to the person 12 seats over; smiling every time (well almost every time) someone needs to exit your row in a symphony of standing and sitting to accommodate them; becoming one with passionate cheer every time the home team makes a great play or sends a run across the plate. And the sheer determination of the wave initiators is something to truly behold. Like starting a cold lawn mower, waves tend to growl and fizzle a number of times before they finally come to life, merging the minds of the masses and giving us a wave so grand it would make the Beach Boys proud.
Something I really wanted to be treated to was a Green Monster home run, and in the sixth inning Bosox banger Kevin (You Kill Us) Youkilis obliged, lining a shot over the great left field barrier so hard it nearly tore a hole through the billboard above. And from where we were sitting in the right field grand stands, we could see this ball was still headed in an upward trajectory as it flew over the fans atop the monster! God I hate Kevin Youkilis. I have a recurring nightmare where it's the bottom of the ninth in game seven of the Championship Series and Youkilis is facing Mariano Rivera with two men on and trailing by one. I won't say exactly what happens next, but it ain't pretty and I always wake up screaming and crying.
There's a good chance the fans at Fenway will have a laugh or two during most games as well. Watching Big Poppy, a.k.a. David Ortiz, slam one toward the gap or off the monster—as he did twice on this night—usually brings with it the torturously funny spectacle of seeing him make the huge turn at first and approach second base as if it were a bridge too far. Somehow, Poppy gets there safely, though it often takes him a few minutes to get back on his feet. Even funnier is seeing him try to avoid being overtaken on the bases by a teammate who hits a gapper right behind him. My hunch is that Big Poppy has never scored from first base on anything other than a home run.
The Red Sox won the game last night 9-3, which is as it should have been. They were the better team. But more important, my family and I won a night we won't soon forget, and got to see baseball at its best. The beer was cold; the franks were tasty; the peanuts were salty and crunchy, and the grand old game gave us a thrill. Yankee fan or not, Fenway Park is one magical place to watch baseball.
2 years ago