Author Topic: AL: Boston - Fenway Park  (Read 2961 times)

HudsonHawk

  • Administrator
  • High Order of the Ferret
  • *****
  • Posts: 42236
  • Gentleman About Town
    • View Profile
AL: Boston - Fenway Park
« on: July 27, 2005, 04:11:31 pm »
AKA:
FKA:
Opened: April 20, 1912
Style: Open
Surface: Bluegrass
Capacity: 36,298
Dimensions: LF-310* ft LCF-379 ft CF-390 ft RCF-380 ft RF-302 ft

* Measurement published by Red Sox.  Red Sox management refuses to allow accurate measurements.  Speculation of actual distance based on aerial photos ranges from 287-295 feet.

Tidbits:

- Oldest park currently still in use in the Major Leagues
 
- Smallest capacity of any Major League park.

- Famed "Green Monster" in left field is 37' 2" tall.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Fenway-related info submitted by Kevin, 8/13/07:

I was in Boston earlier this summer and as luck would have it, the visit coincided with a Yankees/Red Sox series. Like you, I have my own perceptions of Red Sox fans and Yankee fans, and this was a great opportunity to validate them. And Fenway Park is a shrine besides. So $120 on StubHub later, I had an excellent seat for Sunday night’s rubber game.

I made some mental notes of the experience and figured I could contribute something to the Road Trip section, which due to its lack of population I hereby claim as my own. This is really sort of a disjointed ramble, but maybe it paints a picture for folks that haven’t gone to a game up here.

Sunday afternoon - first thing I do before I head to the park is run across the street from my hotel and pick up an overpriced SAHX sweatshirt, as it is unseasonably cold and may rain tonight. I don’t own any Astros paraphernalia manufactured after 1999 on general principle, but I now own new Red Sox gear. Go Figure™.

There’s a fine mist in the air and its already in the low 60s. I will freeze my ass tonight if it starts raining, but I had already decided that I would happily sit in the rain if I could get into the ballpark. I close my tab at the bar and head out.

Upon joining the rank and file who are sluffing along Boylston Street to the yard, I realize that these are my people. Initial conversations verify this in spades. A guy walking next to me holds one nostril shut and blasts a ribbon of phlegm out of the other. It slaps the pavement hard, but no one really notices. Unpolished, undisciplined and uber blue-collar, these good folk are a refreshing contrast to the slick, pretentious, monied bastards I had spent most of the day around.

Southies on giant tricycles holler “HEY YA WANNA RIDE TA FENWAY” at the throng. Every now and then a few tourists capitulate, $6 in hand, which is actually a BAHGIN. I’m walking with my people though. Brokers of unofficial merchandise are up ahead on the corner. Shirts that say “F*** U RAJAH” and “JETER SUCKS A-ROD” are going like hot cakes. I almost buy one, but then I remember the “I Got Blown By Katrina” t-shirt that I once purchased from a similar operation and how it shrunk to infant size after one wash cycle, so I keep my twelve bucks. I also notice that it is possible for a chick to be hot and unattractive at the same time - this is rampant in Boston.

Have reached Landsdowne Street now, which runs behind center field and DA MONSTAH. Further down the street the new pricey seating bolted to DA MONSTAH looms above. There are quite a few noisy bars on the right side of the street and thousands are hollering at each other, either to extend greetings, messages of damnation or both.

This is not news to anyone, but let me just strongly reiterate that if you hate New York, this is the epicenter of your universe. That point really can’t be overstated, despite the Yankees/Red Sox cliché and everybody outside of NY and Boston being sick of hearing about what we perceive to be an overblown rivalry. Overexposed, definitely. Overblown, not even close. Astros fans occasionally like to think they have a rivalry with the Cardinals, Cubs, Mets, Rangers (please) and so forth, but even legitimate rivalries pale in comparison to what goes on up here. These people have hated each other for hundreds of years and are professionals at it. During this visit, I noticed that there is a difference in how each side does it though - the Boston people actually do most of the active hating, while the New York people just enjoy reveling in the hate. That offers interesting insight to the mindsets of both.

For example, one of the local sports talk stations is broadcasting from a room in Fenway at street-level, with a big glass wall so knobs like us can stare at the commentators. A couple of Yankee fans position themselves in front, nodding, gesticulating and pointing to the NY on their lids. One of the tech guys with the production behind the glass tells them to fuck off with an exaggerated gesture. The Sox fan next to me says “LOOKIT DIS, FUCKING TYPICAL.” A chant of “ASS-HOLES, ASS-HOLES” begins, which reminded me of LSU home games and that this is really football weather up here today.

Anyway, you really have to tip your cap to the Yankee fans and their arrogance. At this point, they are like 13 and a half games behind Boston and battling with Tampa Bay in the East cellar. Does not matter to these guys. They stand in front of the window, acting an ass until they get bored with doing so, then move along to exacerbate another portion of tonight’s crowd.

The thing is, that 2004 and their current position in the standings notwithstanding, they know that the Yankees own the Red Sox. They own the Boston hatred, they have it on demand, can take it out and play with it whenever they want. As such, they own the rivalry. These two particular bastards in front of the window might not understand why, but they know they own it. It is a scene that will take place throughout the evening all over the ballpark.

Meanwhile, I notice the differences between the typical Boston and Houston baseball fans. It is known that Astros fans, present company excluded, are fair-weather, distracted and possess a baseball obtuseness that would put Tim McCarver to shame. You hear about passionate fans and wonder what that is like en masse on a daily basis. In Boston an accurate description would be harshness as opposed to passion. They talk harshly about Sox baseball. They cheer harshly. They love the team harshly. It’s far from subtle. I also noticed an amazing lack of cell phone usage at the game by Houston standards.

I have turned the corner onto Yawkey Way and it is more of the same, so I go ahead and enter the chain link fence. My only experiences with the Fenway concourses to this point are from Field of Dreams and Spenser for Hire. The corridors do not look any different today from what I remember on TV. Cozy is a polite way to describe it.

My seats are in the grandstand between home plate and the pitchers mound on the Sox side, and thankfully under the overhang. My seat is wooden, hard as stone yet comfortable, and seems old enough that there may have been an ass in it whose owner was watching Babe Ruth play for the locals. Overall, the place looks restored – quite sharp for the erector-set-esque, asymmetric heap of concrete, steel and wood that it is. You can tell where they wanted more seats and just slapped them on, aesthetics be damned. For instance, there are some metallic looking high school bleachers attached to the top of the stadium down the right field side, and the luxury boxes above the left field corner appear to be just a mobile home they bolted up there and painted green. In person, you can really appreciate the way MMPUS reflects this place in its outfield configuration.

Whitey Gammons, who is a rocker by the way, is sitting near the Sox dugout splashed with hi-beam halogens. I had not seen him in person before, and this is what it really takes to understand how accurate the nickname is. His whiteness radiates strong, like a quasar, or more appropriately a front porch bug light as ESPN lackeys flit around.

A-Rod takes a step in no particular direction during warmups in right field. A cataclysm of boos and profanity rains down from everywhere all at once. This will happen regularly. I have no real problem with A-Rod, but I do as the Romans do, grabbing and thrusting up the “Red Sox” stitching on my sweatshirt so he can see and be afeared. An unusual number of males are sporting blond wigs, and I am told this is because A-Rod was just in the newspaper with some blonde chick. Allrightee.

I need something to eat, so I head back down to the concourse. The Fenway Frank is the signature ballyard delicacy. What makes it a little different from what we’re used to is the bread, which is that weird Texas toast/bun hybrid thing they use for LOBSTAH rolls up here. I would describe the meat as a tube-shaped slab of Underwood Deviled Ham with a little spring to it, like calamari if you’re real imaginative. The first bite attempt was unsuccessful as my teeth doinked off of it. Fenway Frank not strongly recommended.

The signature frozen and reheated personal-size pizza at Fenway is the Gino’s Pizza. Southies stomping the aisles with their aluminum boxes hollering “HAT PIZZA RAT HEE” let you know that this is available. I tried one and it sucked. The DiGiorno’s offerings from MMPUS rule by comparision. It isn’t even close, and DiGiorno’s ain’t nothing to write home about. Big points for Gino’s though, in that they don’t sponsor between-inning contests that uproot overweight families from the upper deck and plop them down right in front of your Field Box seats.

I should go ahead and say now that my aim was to lambaste MMPUS food and laud the Fenway fare, just to be an asshole, but it just can’t be done. I wasn’t real hungry and didn’t try much, but the small sample size suggests that Sheriff Blaylock kicks these yankees’ asses nine ways from Sunday.

They do something interesting before the game, and I really hope they don’t do it before every game, or even every Yankees game. An elaborate video of the 2004 ALCS plays on the diamondvision. It is at least seven minutes long, chronicling the dramatic turn of events that saw the Sox famously come back from a 3-0 deficit. The hell of it is, most of this video is of the Sox getting their ass kicked. Then they show the clip of the shirtless chowderhead with his rally cap on at the end of game 3, holding up a giveaway “BELIEVE” sign, and the crowd starts to go nuts. It’s like Papi has stepped in with the game on the line. A couple minutes later, the Sox are in the 2004 World Series and the folks around me are well pleased.

Game begins, Pettitte versus Beckett, but I could really give a shit about the game. My indifference towards baseball continues to alarm me, but I will continue to ride it out. I am kind of pissed that the Clemens re-debut was bumped back until next week, because that would’ve just been perfect. The palpable hatred for Rajah here is enjoyable regardless. Lots of handwritten signs confirm this, most of them misspelled (“ROGAR YOU SUK”). They actually appear to hate A-Rod and Johnny Damon more though.

A thunderous booing sound fills the stadium, and I figure either A-Rod has moved his head slightly or Jose Cruz is stepping in. Actually, Sox 1B Kevin Youkilis has come to bat. I wonder if the whole “OOOOO” thing started with Cheo in the Astrodome. I’m willing to bet it didn’t, but I don’t recall hearing it before then.

A little while later, some asshole is trying to start a wave here in the third inning. I know that he is an asshole because that it what everyone is shouting at him. The guy, no doubt fueled by bourbon on a night like this, soldiers on and a few half-heartedly participate. A fat one of them grumbles loudly “YAY YOU FUCKING RETAHD.”

I admire the behemoth and iconic Citgo sign. This thing looks like it’s directly behind left field when you see it on television, but it’s actually the equivalent of several blocks away on the other side of  I-90, or what locals call the Mass Pike, which coincidentally is what they used to call me in college. Anyway, I estimate it to be about the size of Reliant Stadium. The sign I mean. Probably has its own substation. Useless trivia: they turn it off at midnight.

Nearly every Sox jersey seen in the stands was Manny, Papi or Dice-K. Side note - they love Big Papi.

The Red Sox have an interesting mascot - it appears that Youppi has resurfaced and painted himself green. Either that or Grover got into a truckload of bad lobster and hasn't thrown it up yet.

More huge booing. A-Rod has taken offense to a strike call. A guy a couple seats over bellows “CALM YA LIVVAH, YA FUCKING DOUCHEBAG.” I love this. Somebody ask Drayton if we can play all our games up here.

I found out where the term “chowderhead” comes from. Evidently back in the day people would take a huge pot of chowder, freeze it and then slide the frozen chowder out of the pot. Then whenever somebody got hungry they broke a piece off with a hammer, heated it up on the stove and got themselves full. After this had been done a few times, the huge chowder popsicle started to look like a head. So there you go.

The game goes on and it’s actually a pretty good game. Fans are cocky after the locals erase an early 4-0 deficit, right up until the point that A-Rod launches a game-winning HR to right center in the ninth. It was reminiscent of the ball El Jugador hit off of that asshole Tavarez in the ’04 playoffs, in that he golfed it out of the yard when most hitters would be doing good just to get a piece of it. A-Rod has got to love the hell out of this. Three seconds of silence stadium-wide, followed by about two minutes of guttural squalling, pounding on the concrete and stream of consciousness profanity. Then eventually, everyone is shaking their head and saying something like “HOLEY MOLEY, THAT FREAKIN DOUCHBAG CAN HIT.”

We trudge along in the rain across to the Back Bay. I am freezing my ass, and the blonde wigs do not appear to be holding up well. People mutter about A-Rod while the guys on the big tricycles holler does anybody want a ride. I think to myself that despite 2004 and the team’s present-day domination of the east, the modern Red Sox experience is still defined by losing and adversity. The relative comfort of the visiting Yankee fans, the seven-minute video, and the reaction when things go to shit reflect that. Probably a lot of teams’ fans can relate to that.

That’s about it. Oh, just about any bar in the area is OK once you get outside the immediate radius of the park. Some have been around for like 200 years. I wasn’t in town very long, and there’s probably better seafood to be had along the coast outside the city, but I learned that locals frequent Skipjacks ($$) and it was excellent. Davio's steakhouse ($$$$) also good eats and Legal Seafoods ($$) is a reputable chain with very fresh stuff. There are statues of the great patriots you remember from your history books everywhere, several in the process of kicking ass. No bronze likeness of Robert Urich yet, and that’s a damn shame.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
« Last Edit: August 13, 2007, 04:31:08 pm by Kevin »
The rules of distinction were thrown out with the baseball cap.  It does not lend itself to protocol.  It is found today on youth in homes, classrooms, even in fine restaurants.  Regardless of its other consequences, this is a breach against civility.  A civilized man should avoid this mania.