Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Boston 100


I made my way towards Fenway Park.  I had intended to scout out the area the night before but I was tired so I went back to my hotel instead.  I figured that the traffic would be crazy for Opening Day 100 so I parked at the very first parking garage I saw.  It was two miles away from the park so I figured it would be way cheaper and I would get the opportunity to walk through Boston a little bit.  I asked Siri on my iPhone and she told me where to go.  As I was walking I saw a big sign that said Cheers.  Several people told me I had to go visit one of the Cheers’ while I was in Boston so I gladly went in.  I was a huge fan of that show growing up.  I remember watching it with my parents every time it came on.  I walked in and it kind of almost looked like the TV show cheers just a lot smaller.  Apparently there are two locations, one is the bar that the show was based odd of and the other is a replica of the show.  I went into the gift shop and got a super awesome Cheers’ shirt.  The only t-shirt I’ve purchased so far on this trip. 

I continued my way towards the park and the excitement continued to build as I got closer.  For the millionth time on this trip I just couldn’t believe I was here.  The streets were packed with people and everybody had a smile on their face.  I had purchased a standing room only ticket a while back and was in no rush to get to my nonexistent seat.  I went to the outfield bleachers and stood by the wall for a very long time.  I watched all of batting practice and just stood there looking around.  I was in awe of this place.  Every great baseball player in the last 100 years has played on that field.  Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Joe Dimaggio, Cy Young, Ted Williams, etc.  One of the things I noticed standing near the bleachers is that the Green Monster didn’t seem so big.  Clearly I’m not the one out there trying to hit a ball over it.  I couldn’t help but imagine my grandfather watching games here.  I imagined my great grandfather listening to games played here on the radio. 

I loved walking through the corridors and seeing all of the rich Red Sox history.  At every turn there was something awesome to look at.  I have no shame in being the guy in the ballpark standing in the middle of a crowded corridor trying to take a picture.  Yea, I’m that guy, stop by and say hi next time!  At the bottom of this blog there will be a link to the pictures I took from that game.  You have to check them out. 

I found an ok place to stand to watch the first pitch and National Anthem.  Watching the National Anthem was pretty awesome.  They had an Air Force unit on the field and they received a standing ovation.  The flag that they draped over the green monster was outrageous.  The thing was absolutely huge.  At the end of the Star Spangled Banner there was a fly over of F-16’s by an Air Force National Guard unit out of Vermont.  Apparently I was standing in a no standing room only zone so an usher asked me to leave.  There was several of us standing there and some of the men got extremely upset.  They commented on how the staff at Fenway has taken a turn for the worst over the last several years.  I don’t know if that is accurate or not but the guy just seemed to be doing his job. 

I found some seats that nobody was sitting in because they were directly behind a pole.  All I had to do was lean a little to the left and right to attempt to see what was going on.  As I looked around the park I noticed that there were a ton of these poles all over.  The thing I dislike most about Fenway Park is that nearly every view is an obstructed view.  It’s hard to say that they should build a new park.  This park is an absolute amazing part of history and should live in Boston forever.  But it certainly has its drawbacks. 

I walked around a little while and found the perfect place to stand.  It was on the first base side just beyond the beer patio/standing room only section.  At the top of the 100 level there’s a tiny walkway, maybe big enough for two people, and it has a little ledge behind it.  I stood on the ledge and could see most of the ballpark.  When a fly ball was hit I couldn’t follow it so I would just watch the field for player reactions.  The man who was standing next to me was a loud Sox fan.  That is one thing I loved about the Boston fans, they were loud and very passionate.  When the Sox would make a good play this man would slap my back or shake me a little bit.  He was really into the game and it was really making for an enjoyable experience.  We started exchanging stories and I found out his name is John and he is a fourth generation Firefighter on Cape Cod.  He was a nice guy and kept thanking me for my service.  After a while his daughter Sarah came up and her dad introduced us.  I talked to her for a while and she was just as much a Red Sox fan as her father.  Once again showing the hospitality of the average American person she offered me a place to stay if I’m ever in Cape Cod.  It still shocks me that people actually do this.  After a good conversation I parted ways with Sarah and John and went on to meet Bill Pritchard whom I met on www.ballparkchasers.com.

I met up with Bill and his friends who were in Boston via New Jersey.  Bill and his brother are huge Sox fans and their buddy is a Yankees fan.  Their friend was afraid to wear his Yankees gear so he bought a San Francisco Giants hat instead.  I guess anything is better than wearing a New York Yankees hat.  The group gave me tips about Boston and other cities they’ve been to.  Me and Bill discussed out journeys to get to all 30.  I told them I was going to walk around for a bit and they invited me out for beers after the game.  I had to get to Philly for a game the next day but I had plenty of time so I met up with them.  We went to a pizzeria Uno (which didn’t seem anything like the pizzeria Uno in Chicago to me) and had a beer.  I had a lot of fun hanging out with them and hopefully our paths will cross again at some point. 

My next stop on the journey was Philly and I wasn’t sure what I should expect.  The Philly fans have a reputation for being rather harsh. 

Keep On Smilin- It’s Baseball Season

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