on June 14, 2010
Yankee Stadium may be "the house that Ruth built", but it is Fenway Park as a Red Sox that Ruth first rose to prominence in the majors. Any baseball fan knows about the Curse of the Bambino. The Red Sox was one of the most successful franchises winning the first World Series in 1903 including four more titles with Babe Ruth. The Red Sox owner decided to sell Babe Ruth to the mediocre New York Yankees and in 1920, Ruth donned the famous pinstripes and the curse was born. The Red Sox did not win another World Series title until 2004, ending an 86 year old drought. The Yankees, on the other hand, became one of the most successful franchises in baseball, winning a record 27 World Series titles, the first one in 1923. The curse also led to one of the biggest rivalries in all of sports. Although I am an Orioles fan and forced to share the same division with both the Yankees and the Red Sox, I would never pass on an opportunity to visit Fenway. However, acquiring tickets to Fenway is another matter altogether. The Red Sox has a loyal fan base, nicknamed "Red Sox Nation", and they are responsible for helping the Red Sox sell out every home game since May 15, 2003. In 2008, the Red Sox set a Major League record with its 456th consecutive game sold out. I was ecstatic when I found out a friend of a friend has season tickets and since she knew that I would be in town, she offered me her two seats. If you find it hard to get tickets, the only other alternative is auction sites like Ebay, Stubhub, or you can depend on the old-fashioned scalpers outside the stadium. There also a limited number of tickets sold two hours before each home game at Gate E. The line begins five hours prior to game time and line jumping or holding a spot is strictly prohibited and enforced. If you would rather avoid waiting in line, then online sites is the best bet. Visiting Fenway Park is like taking a step back in time for a number of reasons. First, Fenway is the oldest ballpark in the majors. It opened in 1912 and unlike more modern ballparks, the seating capacity is limited to 39,928 making it the fourth smallest in the majors. Attempts have been made over the years to increase the attendance, however limited, which has added unique features to the ballpark. Towering over the left field wall is the dreaded Green Monster, a 37 foot wall that is the highest of any Major League team and has denied many a players a home run that would have been one in any other ballpark. Located next to the Green Monster, is the "Triangle" where the center field walls meet forming a triangle, making it 420 feet from home plate. Located down the right field foul line is Pesky’s Pole named for Johnny Pesky. The foul pole is only 302 feet away from home plate, making it the shortest in the majors. It may seem like hitting a home run would be easy except for the fact that the fence curves away from the pole sharply. Fenway Park has not sold out to Corporate America like most other teams. Stadiums nowadays are called Petco Park, PNC Park, US Cellular Field, but only a handful has managed to avoid selling out. As I sat there in the stands watching the game, I couldn’t help but think that this same stadium has been home to the Red Sox for nearly 100 years, mostly unchanged. Although, most of the seats in the ballpark provide good views of the field, there are a number of seats that are obstructed because of concrete pillars, which is common among old baseball stadiums. The tickets are sold as such so there should not be any surprises. Although all of the home games are sold out, that doesn’t mean that every seat is filled unless maybe their arch nemesis, the Yankees are in town. I found that it was easy to move around as I abandoned my seats in the right outfield for a pair of seats behind home plate. You may find that your seat is a little different than the others if you are sitting in Section 42, Row 37, Seat 21. This seat is known as the "Lone Red Seat" and it signifies the longest home run ever hit at Fenway, 502 feet by Ted Williams. Getting your tickets to the game is only half the battle. The other part is getting to the stadium. If you are staying in Boston, public transportation, bus, taxi, or subway is the best option. Since I was driving up from Hartford, Connecticut, I had to decide whether to park at the ballpark or take the subway. Parking in Boston can be a nightmare as well as costly. I noticed rates around the ballpark for $30 and then not to mention traffic after the game. I opted for the subway and drove out to the end of the Green Line, the Riverside Station, where I could park my car for $6. The subway fare was $2 and it is about a 25 minute ride to the ballpark. The Green line has four different lines, B, C, D, and E. All of the lines, except for the E will take you to the ballpark. There is a Fenway stop on the D line, but the best stop for the ballpark is the Kenmore station which is serviced by B, C, and D. While most other ballparks strive to be the most modern with all the new high tech gadgetry, it appears that Fenway Park is content with its role to keeping the spirit of baseball just like it was at the turn of the century. While the stadium has progressed with technology in most areas, it still uses a manual scoreboard in the outfield, the last one in Major League Baseball. To some it may seem like Fenway Park lags behind the other ballparks, but its originality is what makes this "America’s Most Beloved Ballpark."
©Travelocity.com LP 2000-2009