Game of musical chairs breaks out at Fenway
BOSTON — It was a night a 10-year-old kid dreams of.
Despite the swarm of bodies, it was like being alone in a historical moment rich with history and tradition.
Fenway Park was the main reason for flying to Boston. Yes, all of the Freedom Trail was traveled and experi- enced, including a glass of ale at The Bell In Hand, reportedly the oldest tavern in this city where history lives every day.
Hats and T-shirts were mandatory and had been bought in advance just for the game.
And no, the Boston Red Sox are not a favored team. This was about iconic stadiums, and the three that stand atop the list of Major League Baseball parks are Fenway, Wrigley Field and the old Yankee Stadium, which was visited years before it was demolished.
This was a bucket list trip that yours truly didn’t know existed. It was an idea that started one evening and was made possible through the great planning of Monica Timpani, who found two inexpensive flights on Expedia and two train rides that were memorable.
Getting there early was, well, part of being a kid again.
It would have been nice to have real in-your-hand tickets, but Fenway has entered the 21st century even though it’s been the Red Sox home since 1912. Tickets are printed on your own computer.
That was a small thing, and as the gate attendant scanned our $40 (each) tickets in the right-field grandstand, nothing mattered but the sights, sounds and smells of this baseball shrine.
Surely the spirit of Ted Williams was there that night.
Over the years, improvements have been few and far between, but that’s why they call it the Fenway Experience, and it was experienced in full.
Buying a $7.50 hot dog (wiener and bun only), $12 local brew, and a glass of awful red wine and peanuts for $14.50 was just the beginning.
Our seats were surprisingly, and thankfully, on the end of the row. The Green Monster glowed at us and, not so thankfully, we were in seats that Fenway doesn’t warn you about — partially obstructed view.
Monica couldn’t see the pitcher, but that was better than not being able to see the second or third baseman.
We did see former Razorback Andrew Benintendi single in his first at-bat.
We had plenty of room, but that changed before the Minnesota Twins were out in the first inning.
It was like the first pitch set off an alarm, and people scrambled to their seats, making for more of an obstructed view at times.
Two rows in front, in the middle, a man and his two sons spread out over five seats, but almost instantly a family of seven showed up to claim the seats. The squatter squawked and gestured that there were plenty of seats, so the family of seven took other seats. Within minutes, the ticket-holders for those seats showed up and the disturbance started again, with the mother of the family and some loudmouth exchanging words.
The guy and his sons moved to their seats, with an obstructed view, but before the family of seven could get settled more fans showed up, and the family of seven had only five tickets in that row.
In the third inning with the Twins on their way to a 6-3 win, it happened next to us. Some folks who seemed nice — they were from Minnesota but in town for a wedding — were two seats short.
After what seemed like the 10th time, someone got up to go for refreshments and the two without seats edged by us to sit until the refreshed people returned. Monica turned to the guy next to her and said, “Just take our seats.”
As we left, the pole that had obstructed our view was hit by yours truly. Probably wasn’t the first time.
Tomorrow’s column: Trains, planes and Wrigley Field.