Monday, May 11

The Real Fenway Park Experience

It's a rare night off for all local sports teams in Boston tonight; actually that might not be true, I have no idea when the Revolution play. The Celtics and Bruins are off tonight and resume their series' tomorrow night and the Sox are traveling to Anaheim for their last west coast trip of the year.

Last night I was fortunate enough to be invited to the Red Sox game, really good seats too, section 30 box 160 on the third base/left field line. It was prime foul ball territory and two actually landed pretty close to me.

The game itself was great, good pitching from Beckett and Garza and the Sox were able to take the lead in the 8th and hold on in the 9th to take the rubber game of the series. I can't even remember the last time the Sox took a series from the Rays.

Now I'm going to get on my soap box and complain about Fenway Park, and not the small seats or the price of beer, both of which I could write volumes of books about.

The Crowd at Fenway Park sucks.

Sure, everyone is loud and cheers and knows the name of most of the players. However if that was the requirement trained monkeys would suffice. My issue with Fenway is the atmosphere during the game, it's not about the baseball anymore.

In the 8th inning the game was tied 3-3 and the beach ball was making it's third or fourth appearance in my section, never leaving a 20 foot square area. The beach ball has never bothered me before, however I don't recall it ever being contained to such a small area, it flies all around the bleachers.

A collection of drunk assholes are going back and forth with it when it lands near me, I deflated it and put it under my seat. My apologies to Cape Cod crowd but it's a tie game against a division rival and the go ahead run is on the second base, can we focus? I have expected to get jumped, but I'm a man of principle and it would have been worth the trouble.

After Bay doubled Ortiz home 50% of the park is standing and cheering for Lowell when a guy behind me dressed like the Gordon's fisherman yells for me to sit down. Again, seriously guy? First of all I'm jumping at the chance to stand up and stretch, never mind the Sox just took the lead. Of course I'm sitting in the section from hell that's only wants the beach ball and everyone sitting to have a good time.

And the highlight for every Red Sox fan who signed up in October 2004, Sweet Caroline. When this phenomenon first came about I thought this was fun, everyone gets into it and has a good time. Now Sweet Caroline embodies everything I hate about Red Sox Nation and the pink hats.

I liken last night's experience to the Cape Cod Baseball League and what it's become. When I was young I did the baseball clinics and went to just about every Wareham home game, it was free and my mom would just drop me off.

Soon all that changed, as word of the league spread and it was no longer just about the best college baseball players in the premier summer league. It turned into the "the event" for the vacationing Cape Cod crowd to go to. Attendance in Wareham went from 100 people to 2,500 easy.

In 2004 word spread about the Red Sox.

Now I'm not stupid, I know that the new Sox ownership has opened millions of dollars in new revenue streams through pink hat nation that has allowed the team to win 2 World Series this decade. The team wasn't cursed from 1918 to 2003, that just had shitty owners. You're never going to win with Pete Schourek and a 45 year Andre Dawson. As my friend Chris commented last night, thank god we aren't old enough to really remember how crappy some of those Red Sox teams were in the 90's.

I enjoy the Red Sox success as much as anybody, but did we have to sell our souls to capitalism to achieve it?

One day the Red Sox will suck again, and hopefully the pink hats and Neil Diamond give the rest of us Fenway Park back. Until then enjoy the Fenway experience and the beer prices. Look at that I found away to complain about the beer prices anyway.

(Also, I had to google Schourek to see how it was spelled, who wants to bet $10 that is the first time anyone has googled Pete Schourek?)


Dale Sams said...

Oh....I'd give Sweet Caroline a pass. But I agree with the problems with the beach ball and Captain Ahab behind you.....especially if the people in front of me are standing and I can't see.

displacedsoxfan said...

I can't believe that many people attend the Gatemen games!!! I remeber when there would barely be enough fans to fill those crappy blue bleachers.

So I guess I shouldn't buy Leah a cute little pink Sox hat huh?

DVicino said...

I must agree man, for better, and for worse, Fenway Park is just not the same place. You can place part of the blame on the cost of beer, ticket, parking and food...effectively pricing out many of the true fans, and bringing in the see and be seen fans from Weston.

Joe Murph said...

I gotta say I disagree on this Fenway nostalgia. Personally, I think this picture of an intense, focused crowd is a myth. You look at photos from the oldtime games and guys are there smoking cigars, reading the papers, chatting each other up. It was a cheap way to pass an afternoon. I really don't think that there's ever been a period in baseball where it was more than a diversion, but for the small minority of devoted baseball fans. 1890's or 1990's, I don't think they've ever been more than a majority. So I don't harbor any ill will against the pink hats. They're the real difference now. Before, the casual fan didn't spend much money on the team. Now, it's fashionable, so they do. And we get a better team out of it. Doesn't mean the fans are any more casual now than they were before. At least that's my take on it.

Joe Murph said...

meant to say "ever been more than a minority"

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