It was a dream come true.
Ever since I was a little kid, I always dreamed about visiting Fenway Park.
And for a long time I figured it would never happened.
For starters, when I was a kid there was no chance that my mother was going to take me and my sister across country to see a baseball game. I also never wanted to fly because I was scared to death.
In fact, one summer — 1992 — the three of us took a trip to Missouri to visit relatives and instead of flying, we took the Greyhound bus. Yeah, my mom had a lot of patience with us.
I digress. So, in May, my dream came true as my wife and I made the trip to the East Coast — yes, we flew — and everything turned out perfectly … but there is a good story to all of this.
We spent a week visiting New York City and Boston. And I am lucky enough to have a wife who supports my zest for all things baseball — over our seven days away from home, and our 1-year-old daughter, we attended two games, ones sat Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park.
The visit to Yankee Stadium was a special one. Sure, it would have been nice to visit the old Yankee Stadium, the one with all the history, but this was special nonetheless because this was a Red Sox-Yankee game at Yankee Stadium.
Before heading to the game, I decided that I was going there as a baseball fan only. This meant I was not going to don any Red Sox gear, partly because I didn’t want to be involved in any crossfire between fans of the two teams.
I learned this tactic worked out just fine as on the way home from the game — which included a Red Sox comeback that was spoiled in the ninth by a Alex Rodriguez game-tying homer and a Marcus Thames walk-off — we took the subway and witnessed one of the toughest crowds ever.
In fact, the main person doing to chiding of a Red Sox fan was a woman who continued to yell, “suck my ovaries.”
Speechless. Welcome to New York, I guess.
While the New York experience was awesome — even though the Red Sox lost, it was a hell of a game — I knew that things would get even more intense for me at Fenway just two days later.
On the night before the game, the heavens opened up and rain poured all throughout the Boston area. I feared that the one chance I had to see the Red Sox at home — against the Twins and reigning American League MVP Joe Mauer, no less — was going to get washed out.
As it would turn out, those rains actually set the tone for a majestic night at Fenway.
The grounds were wet and there was a crispness in the air. My wife and I arrived at the ball park about 90 minutes before game time so as to allow us time to get something to eat and get all touristy and stuff.
The sight of the pale Fenway green and red brick structure set against a gray sky backdrop is something I’ll never forget.
Once inside the ball park, things began to feel even more surreal. Not only was I looking at the Green Monster, Pesky’s Pole, the press box and suites behind home plate, but I was standing only feet away.
After soaking in the scenery, we headed to our seats which were in the grandstand area behind home plate that still uses authentic wooden seats that were installed nearly a century ago. And while the tickets were clearly marked “obstructed view,” there was no way of knowing exactly what that meant until we got there.
Well, when we got closer, I knew things were about to take a turn for the worse.
True, we were sitting maybe 30 rows from home plate, but between us and the field was a giant, steel pillar that was directly in front of our face.
I let out a sarcastic chuckle and my wife’s jaw dropped for this pole is what we would be fighting for the next three hours to catch a glimpse of Red Sox baseball.
Alas the baseball gods had one more gift up their sleeve: two empty seats to our left. And they were numbered 8 and 9, the same numbers that Carl Yastrzemski and Ted Williams wore.
Before we could sit down in our assigned seats, an older gentleman named Tim from three seats down motioned for us to slide on over. He advised us that the two seats next to him belonged to a pair of season ticket holders from New Hampshire who said they might not make it to the game … because of the weather.
For a few innings, my wife and I sat with one eye on the game and the other on the people walking up and down the aisle. We were certain that the ticket holders were going to arrive.
But by the fourth inning it was clear that fate was on our side — the rain that had threatened the game was enough to keep the season ticket holders away for this night.
The game lasted for about three hours, but it wasn’t long enough. And by the time it was over, I didn’t want to leave. In fact, before we exited the stadium, for what I believed would have been the last time, my eyes began to well up with tears.
As we walked away from Fenway, I looked back a few times to take in the scene: The Citgo sign
towering over the area, the multiple banners
hanging off the side of the building and the Cask n Flagon
beyond the Green Monster.
Two days later, just hours before we were to board our flight back to California, we got lost driving in Boston and ended up again at Fenway Park.
While we intended only to take a few pictures of the ballpark, we also ended up taking spur-of-the-moment guided tour of the legendary structure. What a fitting way to say goodbye.
View from the press box.
In the days after our visit to Boston, I intended to write this blog to share my experience, but due to extenuating circumstances I did not. In fact, had it not been for a pair of Father’s Day gifts from my wife, I might not have ever written this piece. Her gifts: a 3-feet long canvas of a panoramic picture she took from “our” seats, and a serial numbered ceramic collectible of Fenway Park, a gift she purchased at the stadium while I was in the restroom collecting emotions in the minutes before we left.