Archive for Fenway Park

A Dream Come True: My Visit to Fenway

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , on June 23, 2010 by Cardboard Icons
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.

Living a fantasy

Posted in Newspaperman with tags , , , , , , , , on January 26, 2010 by Cardboard Icons

Tomorrow marks the 40th day since I last opened a pack of baseball cards. It’s pretty big milestone for a guy who at times can be addicted to ripping packs and thumbing through new baseball cards. But I know that tough times are ahead as 2010 Topps baseball has already started to hit the market.

But what has made this 40-day journey easy on me is a bit of fantasy and reality. You see, about two weeks ago I bought my first 2010 fantasy baseball magazine, and just yesterday I purchased a second one just to give me a few different views on things. I’m currently involved in a pair of long-term keeper leagues with some friends, and over the last week I’ve managed to make some trades that have netted me Prince Fielder, Felix Hernandez and Jon Lester. Needless to say I am super excited about the 2010 season, even though my early start is going to make the next three months agonizing.

In terms of reality, my wife and I have booked a trip to the east coast in May which will lead us to two major destinations: New York and Boston.

The trip is to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary as well as our 30th birthdays, all of which fall within a month of each other. This will be my first time to both cities. During our seven-day trip, we’re also making two stops that any baseball fan must make: Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park.

As a Red Sox fan, this is a dream come true. As it turns out we will watch the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on May 17, and then two days later we’ll have the fortune of watching the Sox at home against the Minnesota Twins. For those counting, that is two games in three days at two of the most storied ball parks — well sort of. I kind of wish the Sox-Yankee game was at the old/original Yankee Stadium, but beggars can’t be choosers. I’m just happy to have the experience and to share it with my wife, who has been nothing but supportive in my desire to visit these parks, particularly Fenway.

These two items — fantasy baseball and our east cost trip — have left little time for me deal with baseball cards. I’ve not made any additions to my collection over the last month with the exception of my 1954 Topps Ted Williams. I’m actually trying to decrease the amount of stuff I have in the garage and reclaiming whatever money I can. (See eBay items here)

But as I noted earlier, tough times are ahead. Over the weekend I checked eBay to view some of the 2010 Topps cards and some of them are appealing to me, particularly the Red Sox stuff. So what am I to do?

If history has taught me anything it’s that the new base Topps set of every year sends collectors into a feeding frenzy for about three weeks for two major reasons. First off, it’s NEW baseball cards, not stuff we’ve been looking at for months or years. And secondly, we’re all feeling baseball withdrawal right now so in some way the release of the new Topps set is our way of welcoming in the new season, even if the players don’t start to report to spring training for another three weeks.

As these packs start to trickle into retail stores — where I do most of my shopping — I just need to remember that this urge to buy every pack on the shelf is temporary. It won’t hurt to buy a couple packs to celebrate the 2010 season, but there is no need to buy more than just a few. I think I am done with the idea of trying to build sets, and the abundance of 2007 Topps inserts sitting in my garage serve as a reminder as to what can happen when you buy way too much of a product that offers very little in return.

1991 Fleer Pro-Vision Mike Greenwell — an iconic card for a hell of a player

Posted in Red Sox Collection with tags , , , , , , , on June 16, 2009 by Cardboard Icons

1991FleerProVisionMikeGreenwellI know guys who have been out of the collecting game for almost two decades. But all of them remember one thing about Mike Greenwell — his 1991 Fleer Pro Vision card. Greenwell was a stud for the Red Sox in the late 80s and early 90s. By now everyone knows how Greenwell feels about Jose Canseco’s MVP in 1988. But regardless of his on-field accomplishments, this 1991 card remains his cardboard legacy. I recently added this image to my on-going Red Sox Collection project. I’ve still got about 1,500 cards to add, many more to scan, but soon enough I’ll be making a call to all collectors to help fill the gaps.

Card of the Day: 2007 Upper Deck Star Rookies Daisuke Matsuzaka autograph*

Posted in Card of the Day, TTM Success with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 10, 2008 by Cardboard Icons

matsuzaka1Holy bleepin bleep! Look what showed up in my mail box today. For the last two weeks I’ve gotten a weird feeling every time I’d checked my mail when returning from work. I sent out nearly 100 autograph requests during Spring Training this year and really didn’t have much success. But for some reason I got a feeling recently that one or two might trickle in now that the season is over. But never in a thousand years did I expect to see Matsuzaka — whom I sent to in July 2007 and had already written off! Continue reading