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Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Fenway Park

If you’re going to experience one MLB game in your life, there is probably no better choice than to watch the Red Sox play at home in historic Fenway Park.

Fenway, which celebrated its centennial in 2012, is the oldest Major League ballpark still in use (the Minor League Rockwood Field in Birmingham, AL dating from 1910 is the oldest in the world) and arguably the most famous sporting venue in the United States.

Yawkey Way
Located just south of the Charles River Basin between the Downtown and Brookline areas Fenway shows its age by having no parking facilities worth mentioning. Drivers can get parking in private garages and supermarket parking lots for anywhere from $25 to $50 depending on the proximity to the ballpark.

We were lucky to get a lift to the corner of Boylston and Yawkey which is about as close as you’ll get to the stadium on game-day since all streets adjacent to Fenway are cordoned off for the duration of the game. Each corner has several lines for ticket and bag checks but they move pretty rapidly and shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes or so to get through.

The concession stands outside the park and inside, below the stands offer a wide range of beverages and snacks. Onion Rings were good, Fries average but we didn’t much care for the Italian Sausage which was bland. I’ve been told that Fenway Franks are the way to go and I’m sorry we didn’t try those instead. Be prepared to pay a premium; Fries, Rings, Sausages, Bottled Water and a 100 Year Fenway keepsake cup of Soda set us back nearly 50 bucks.

If you’re a little late getting into the ballpark and your seat is near one of those support columns that hold up the upper deck, you might find that the person who booked the spot behind the pole is occupying your seat (as we did) but you should be able to sort that out with a minimum of fuss.

It is obvious from the cheers of encouragement, the roars of approval and the occasional cat-calls directed at the visiting team that Red Sox spectators are die-hard baseball lovers and it’s hard not to get caught up in their enthusiasm. Pretty soon you too will be participating in the Mexican Wave, whistling at an unpopular linesman decision and yelling for that potential homerun hit to “Get out of here!”

Spectators in the bleachers and on top of the Green Monster are particularly dedicated, braving 3 hours of scorching heat while cheering on their teams. It is no surprise that MLB’s cameras which take time out to zoom in on fans in the stands during the interludes between innings, pay special attention to those folks out in the sun.

Being from Europe and used to seeing football fans separated by fences and police I was surprised to notice the Lighter Blue of the Texas Rangers fans dotted around the stands, surrounded by a sea of Red, Kelly Green and Navy. Unmolested, even when the game ended with the Rangers up by one point, opposing team supporters smiled, shook hands and filed out of the ballpark. True sportsmanship which, unfortunately, seems to be becoming more and more unique to the fans of baseball.

After the game we initially joined the shuffling throng bound for Kenmore Station (Green Line) but after a few steps down the subway stairs we decided to about turn and head for fresh air.

TIP: If you have the time, the weather is cooperating and you don’t mind hoofing it a bit consider walking to a station further away from the Stadium to avoid the press. Since we were headed South, we instead made our way to the Orange Line at Ruggles, a pleasant walk of about 15 minutes.


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