Saturday, June 29, 2013

Day 90: These are a Few of My Favorite (Fenway) Things

Ahhhhh... a Friday night in late June at Fenway Park. Definitely not a bad way to spend a few hours. Every time I step foot onto Yawkey Way, I feel like a kid again—ridiculously excited to walk into the bustling concourse and up the ramp that reveals the field in all its green glory. As I sat there last night witnessing yet another hard-fought win by the Red Sox over the Blue Jays, I tried to pinpoint what makes this ballpark so special.

Maybe it's the history. The 101 year old Fenway Park is the oldest Major League ballpark still in operation. This park has been home to some of the greats like Babe, Ted, Yaz and Pedro. It has seen glorious championship celebrations in 1912, 1915, 1916 and 1918 but wouldn't see another one for 86 years. It has seen dramatic home runs and no hitters and strike out records. And it has seen the ultimate in disappointment (but I won't go there, for all our sakes.)

Maybe it's all the green and the red and the blue. The meticulously maintained field... the Green Monster, the green fences surrounding the field. The one red seat in a sea of blue in the bleachers in honor of a Splendid Splinter. The Citgo sign. The blue Boston Strong logo fueling a team to try just a little bit harder because "This is our f---ing city."

Maybe it's the sounds. The man behind me explaining to his two small children each play as it happens... The food vendors pedaling their peeeeea-nuuuuuuts and haaaaaawt doggggggggs... The PA announcer's introduction of the batter at the plate... a "Let's Go Red Sox" cheer started somewhere in the right field corner that quickly spreads from section to section.

Maybe it's the smells—good or bad. Peanuts and popcorn and hot dogs and sausages and cotton candy and pizza and beer. The current temperature has quite a bit of an impact on whether those smells make you want to pig out or vomit. Just for the record, when you stuff yourself beyond capacity pre-game at Boston Beer Works, those smells have an adverse effect.

Maybe it's the closeness. By Major League ballpark standards, Fenway Park is not considered voluminous. Quite the contrary... while you never feel far from the action, you also never feel far from the person sitting next to you. Sometimes they're just too close. Like the fat guy who sat next to me for a few innings... and who also spilled over just a tiny bit into my seat.  *gag* Some might say there's not a bad seat in the house. But those people probably never sat in the right field corner, or behind a support beam.

Maybe it's the energy. While I'm not one to do the wave (call me a commie if you must), I love the fan participation in all parts of the game. Whether it's the guy next to me passionately singing the National Anthem... or the kids in the bleachers belting out Take Me Out to the Ballgame... or the slightly drunk, middle-aged ladies on the Green Monster dancing like nobody's watching to Sweet Caroline... it all makes me smile.

Or maybe it's just the passion. The love Sox fans have for their ball club, win or lose. How we live and die with every pitch, every swing of the bat, every deep fly ball, every diving catch... hoping that in the end, when the last out is made, the sweet sounds of the Standell's Dirty Water fill the park and send fans home with a smile on their face.

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