See part 2 here.
Up bright and early (well, 8am, which is bright and early after getting checked in dark and early), I had a quick bite to eat and headed down the road in great weather towards the subway that would take me to Fenway park. The subway was pretty packed with people, due to early Thursday morning commuter traffic. I’m not very comfortable in confined spaces full of lots of people I don’t know, and it was sort of unsettling to have to stand in the middle of the packed subway car. Nevertheless, I made it to the ballpark stop unscathed.
It was a short walk to Fenway from the subway station, and within five minutes, I was standing in front of the box office trying to figure out where to buy tickets to the ballpark tour. Having arrived just before 9am, the box office wasn’t open quite yet, and we (there were about a dozen of us standing outside for the same reason) were told by a helpful Red Sox employee that we could purchase tickets for the tour in the large team store across the street. So the lot of us shuffled across the street and into the team store in search of tickets, only to be told that the box office had just opened up across the street.
The tour cost $12, and was worth every penny. It started with a brief history of the team and the ballpark, all while seated in the oldest (and most uncomfortable) seats in Major League Baseball. These seats are the original wood seats that were installed in Fenway Park back in the early 1900s when it was first opened. They remain today due to city zoning that would require widening of the seats and an increase in the distance between each row. If they were to replace them with new seats, they would have to bring those sections of the ballpark up to those codes which would require a drastic change to those sections of the ballpark and would greatly reduce the number of seats available. The tour wound its way throughout the ballpark, stopping in the right-field roof-top bar seats, paying a visit to the private suites, and stopping on top of the Green Monster.
The tour finished up at around 11:45am, just in time for lunch at the GameTime bar and grill. I had it on good authority that the clam chowdah there was outstanding, so I started with that and followed it up with steak tips and fried shrimp. A great meal. After settling the check, it was back to the hotel for me to catch a couple hours of sleep before the game that night.
I got back to ballpark just after 5pm. They’d blocked off Yawkey Way completely, which nicely extended the “mingling space” of the ballpark, allowing people to socialize and listen to live music while enjoying the best of the Fenway Park ballpark food selection before going into the ballpark to find their seats. It was a real party atmosphere!
I walked into the ballpark to mill around a while and take some pictures. The ushers were all very helpful in giving me an idea of where to get the best pictures. It’s a pretty cramped ballpark, especially in the older parts behind home plate, but I managed to move all over the place with relative ease, eventually ending up at my seat in the right field boxes. Of course, I stopped to pick up a tray full of Fenway Franks smothered in mustard.
The game was over in the 3rd inning, as the Red Sox scored eight runs against the Rangers. I got up and milled around Fenway some more, soaking in the experience of the nearly 100-year-old ballpark. The one thing that stood out to me over anything else was the passion of the Red Sox fans. Of course, the fan’s passion is pretty obvious in that the games are all sold out well in advance. Fenway Park’s history and atmosphere made it a very pleasurable experience for me.