Fenway Park: Sox and a Monster

On Tuesday I arrived in Boston in the afternoon, checked-in at the Longwood Inn, and walked to Fenway Park. I’ve wanted to see Fenway Park for a long time, so I was very excited to finally walk along Yawkey Way and experience baseball in the 100 year-old ballpark. It was a hot and humid summer night in Boston. I arrived before the gates opened so I waited, people continued to accumulate, until Yawkey Way was a sea of color.

Waiting on Yawkey Way for the gates of Fenway Park to open.

And then the doors were opened, the gates unchained, and the mass of humanity slowly moved into the stadium. I walked around the concourse, looking at the beams and structure of the park–and I couldn’t stop smiling. The first sight of the field inside a ballpark always quickens my pulse. I was struck by how close the Green Monster is to the infield, and how small the park feels inside. My ticket was for grandstand 8, row 2, seat 5.

My seat in the Fenway right field grandstand.

Batting practice was underway on the field. The visiting White Sox were hitting, tonight would be a battle of the Sox. I walked back to the concourse, spent $14 on two Fenway Franks and water, then returned to my seat. I loved that the music being played through the public address system was organ-based.

Watching batting practice from my seat at Fenway.

I noticed that a support beam nearly obscured my view of home plate. Fenway Park is beautiful, full of history, and a treasure–but it is not the best place to view a baseball game. Between support beams and overhanging decks many of the seats offer obstructed views of the field. My view was okay, but the guy seated to my left could almost see the plate around the beam (you can see a bit of his face on the left side of the picture). Well, unfortunately he frequently learned toward me and forward to see around the beam, leaving me the choice of looking at the back of his head or leaning forward to see around him.

My view from grandstand 8, row 2, seat 5.

As someone who values space, the proximity of my neighbors was a bit distressing (take a look at the picture of my seat again, note the thickness of the shared arm rest). For three hours my personal space was invaded. I was nearly constantly being touched by both neighbors, including a moment when one of them placed his hand on my leg instead of the arm rest and I nearly impulsively swatted him (that would have made the next two hours uncomfortable).

But I do not want to give the wrong impression. I enjoyed Fenway Park despite of this.

It was fun to watch the scoreboard operators in the Green Monster.

The scoreboard operators at work. How many humans do you see in this picture?

I did not realize that the base of The Pesky Pole is covered in signatures–I’m assuming those are from fans.

Signatures on The Pesky Pole.

The temperature at game time was announced as 95 °F. During the first several innings of the game the sun was intense, baking the right field side of the stadium. As those of us in the right field side of the stadium faced the wrath (or maybe affection?) of the sun, we could look across and see the left field side ensconced in shade. But I would not have traded my seats for the other side, because I had a great view of the Green Monster all night. The heat made it a lucrative night for beverage vendors, especially those selling lemonade (I would like to see a section by section comparison of the right and left side of the park–I bet the side in the sun purchased more beverages). One interesting note, alcohol is not sold by vendors in the seat, you have to walk to the concourse to get it. It was strange not hearing cries of Cold beer here! during the game. 

It was a good night for beverage vendors.

Kevin Youkilus was making his return to Fenway for the first time as a visitor. He got cheered and a standing ovation during his first at-bat. When he hit a home run over the Monster later in the game he was cheered again.

When the starting Red Sox catcher, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, came to the plate he had some fans in center field. The picture below is of low quality because I did not have a long lens on my camera when I took this picture, so I needed to crop it (the fans were far from me).

Fans hold signs for Jarrod ‘Salty’ Saltalamacchia, the Ks are for Jon Lester.

The Red Sox fell behind, rallied to tie, fell behind again, rallied to make it close, and lost. As part of the late rally Kelly Shoppach hit a home run while pinch hitting for Salty. The fans rejoiced.

Celebration in the stands after Kelly Shoppach hit a home run.

It was a glorious summer night to watch baseball.

Fenway under the lights.

The White Sox won the game 7-5. After it ended I sat in my seat and watched the fans filing out. Eventually I wandered to the top row of the right field grandstand to see what the view looked like from under the overhang. The short answer is very obstructed. You won’t be seeing fly balls or the sky at all if you’re seated there.

The view of the field from the upper row of grandstand 8 at Fenway.

I took pictures for some Red Sox fans at the top of grandstand 8 as the security guards made the rounds and nicely asked us few stragglers in the park to move toward the exits.

Two anonymous Red Sox fans at Fenway Park.

I’m glad I had the opportunity to visit Fenway in its 100th season. It was great to see a field where Babe Ruth roamed [1]. Just thinking about the players that spent time on this diamond gives me chills. I love baseball.

[1] Babe Ruth also played at Doubleday Field, which I saw earlier in the week, so I saw two ball parks this week that the Sultan of Swat graced in his lifetime. How cool is that?

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3 Comments

Filed under General, Sports

3 responses to “Fenway Park: Sox and a Monster

  1. Great post, and outstanding photos.

    Incidentally, I usually avoid the grandstand seats for the reasons that you listed here. But there is a site called http://www.preciseseating.com that will tell you if you have an obstructed seat or not. That’s not my site…just passing the word!

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