'Where everybody knows your name'
In what has become an annual tradition, my college friend and I hit the road and cross of another Major League Baseball park off our list last month. Like the other previous two trips, the destination of said trip was held at the negotiation table and over a couple of beverages.
The first part of the negotiations revolved around seeing the Minnesota Twins on the road. During the past two trips, which included a loop of Kansas City and St. Louis the first year and a loop of Detroit and Cleveland the second, we stopped and saw random teams take the field. The ballpark experience was still fun, but with the Twins looking like a contender, we thought being a groupie would add something to the trip.
In my crosshairs was a road trip that saw the Twins play both the White Sox and Cubs in Chicago followed by a trip north to face the Brewers in Milwaukee. It was a solid play, but since my friend had already visited these stadiums (and he wanted to put another dent in his quest to see all 30 ballparks), it was out of the question. Just as we were at a stand still, he made a suggestion out of the blue.
“Let’s go see the Twins play at Fenway Park.”
Fenway Park, of course, is home to the Boston Red Sox. It’s one of baseball’s crown jewels and most historic ballparks, but since sports editors don’t make too much money, it was a place I never thought I would see. After mapping everything out and doing a little bit of budgeting, I realized that making the trip would work and after seven months of saving, we shipped up to Boston on July 26.
On its own merit, the city of Boston is unique. There’s plenty of old school buildings and the streets are lined with brick. Although the amenities of the town are modern, there’s plenty of history ranging from the Boston Harbor all the way down to Quincy Market’s downtown area.
All of this was cool, but Boston is also a place where everybody knows your name. A stop at the “Cheers” bar was a must and standing outside of the venue was a cool feeling. Although Norm wasn’t sitting at the end of the bar to make a wise remark, it was still a very cool place to visit.
However, the sights around Boston were just a warm up for the main event as we headed down to Fenway for the July 27 and 28 games. If you’re a fan of old school baseball, the feeling of walking around the ball park is right in your alley. There are plenty of bars to hang out at before the game, but the best one may have been the Bleacher Bar, which runs underneath the bleachers in center field and features a garage door that gives a view of the outfield.
Walking into the stadium, you’re greeted by the same shade of green that covers the Green Monster in left field all over the ballpark. It’s not the wide open concourses that you would see at Target Field, but the concession is more than worth it.
Once walking into the ballpark, the aura of the place hits you. The Green Monster in left. Pesky’s pole in right. There’s even a red seat threequarters of the way up in deep right field where Ted Williams unleashed a 500-plus-foot bomb. Seriously, this place will give you goosebumps.
There are more issues such as beams in the way of the playing field (because it was the only way they could figure out how to support an upper deck in 1912) and narrow seats, but they were minor things compared to the experience that is Fenway. The crowd sings Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” in the middle of the eighth inning and The Standell’s “Dirty Water” after a victory and even thought the Twins failed to pick up a victory in the two games we went to, the feeling of being at the ballpark was a blast.
If you’re a baseball fan, this is a trip you have to take. The aura of Fenway combined with a team that is usually one of the best in baseball makes for an experience you’ll never forget.