Fenway at 100

I’ve written enough times that I’m a fan of the New York Yankees. So, cause and effect, I automatically hate the Boston Red Sox. It’s just what Yankee fans do.

Here’s how bad it is. I was standing in line today waiting to take a tour of the Rose Garden at the White House (That’s a separate post to come later), and a girl walked by in a T-shirt that said: “I only kiss Red Sox fans.”

Now, it never crosses my mind to kiss women on the street, but I REALLY wanted to get her attention to say, “Hey, I’m a Red Sox fan.”

Not to get a kiss. Just to get the kiss and then say: “I was lying. I’m really a Yankees fan. Red Sox suck!”

But I didn’t. Which is sort of a mark against me, because a true Yankee fan would have gone out of his way to be a jerk and done that.

Anyway, now I’m going to further erode my Yankee credentials by saying this.

Happy birthday, Fenway Park!

The home of the Boston Red Sox turned 100 years old yesterday. In this age of new high-tech ballparks specially designed to include as many luxury suites as possible, there’s something admirable about a baseball field that has lasted 100 years and served a loyal (though obnoxious) fan base.

The best seats I’ve ever had at any Major League Baseball game were at Fenway Park. I was in Boston about 17 or 18 years ago to visit a friend who worked at the Boston Globe. She had to work one night, and since I was with my 3-year-old son, I decided to take him to a baseball game.

We arrived at Fenway somewhere around the beginning of the second inning. I hadn’t ordered tickets in advance, so I went to the ticket booth and asked for two. There was no line and no one was behind me, so the woman in the booth asked where I wanted to sit, and I didn’t have any idea, because I’d never been there before. Then she says:

“If you’re willing to pay a little more money, I can give you two really good seats.”

“How much?”

“$25 a piece.”

(Remember when $25 was a lot of money to see a baseball game.)

So I bought the tickets, took my son by the hand and headed in. We got to the designated section on the first level. Behind home plate. Awesome! Then the usher escorted us to our seats, and I realized we were getting closer and closer to the field. Second row directly behind the catcher. It was one of those experiences when you realize your seat is better than anything you could have seen on television. Watching a fast ball come in from that angle is nothing like looking at a big screen television and watching a fast ball arrive.

I don’t remember who the Sox were playing that night. I think it was the Texas Rangers because I remember Jose Canseco was in right field. When the game was over, we went back to my friend’s house and watched SportsCenter. And when the Sox highlights came up, there we were, my son and I, right behind home plate. I’m sure that during the game, someone saw my son bust my lip, when, in a bit of 3-year-old craziness, he lurched back and drove his head into my mouth.

I don’t think he remembers that night. But that was one of my favorite MLB memories. And it took place with the hated Red Sox.

Here’s a little history of Fenway from the Chicago Sun Times and MLB:

The Red Sox won the opener on April 20, 1912, 7-6 in 11 innings over the New York Highlanders (who would soon change their name to the Yankees). Boston went on to win the ‘12 World Series and three more in that decade, but then embarked on an 86-year title drought in which the ballpark became the franchise’s biggest star.

“This ballpark has created as many memories for people in this area and around the world as any venue in the world,” Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said before the ceremony. “The park here has at least a life of its own. A magic to it. It’s the baseball land of Oz. People dream about this place.”

Doomed for the wrecking ball before the current owners bought the team in 2002, Fenway now has seats above the Green Monster and an HD video screen — not to mention lights above the upper decks and black and Latin players in the field — all unimaginable when it opened the same week the Titanic sank.

But you want to know the best part of the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park?

The Sox and the Yanks wore replica uniforms to match the ones the teams wore 100 years ago. And when the game was over the score was 6-2.



3 thoughts on “Fenway at 100

  1. Well done! I have been a “surfer dude, Dodger fan” since I could carry around Vin Scully around on my 9 transistor radio. However, I’m fully aware of the Yankee-Red Sox thing. Glad to see you give a “tip of the cap” to 100 years of great baseball at Fenway.

    Congrats to the Yankees and A-Rod on his 631st homer too!

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