We waited in line for an hour and a half to be sure that we would get tickets; my sister, Jessica, and I. I’m not what you would refer to as a baseball fan and I’d never been to a game at Fenway Park before, but every movie I’d ever seen about it and every story I’d ever heard about it made me sure it was yet another part of Boston I would fall in love with.
Sitting on the curb in line, I looked out over the street at Gate D. I could feel the excitement mounting in the air as the food and clothing vendors took their places and were immediately swarmed by fans. You can imagine that these are the exact spots the vendors take every game day. A personal tradition as important outside the stadium as “Sweet Caroline” is inside the stadium.
In the movies it always looks like a huge party where everyone is smiling, having fun and what appears to be the best day of their lives. It is no different in real life. Actually, Boston as a city feels like a big Fair. There’s always something tasty in a food cart on every corner, there are people playing music in random places, and everyone looks like they are having a good time! But I digress.
Fenway is a street fair all its own with street performers on stilts, foam fingers, and tons of food including (what else) the Fenway Frank. Jessica and I each got a frank first thing when we entered the stadium. There was a lot of hype built up around this little dog and I was anxious to try one. I wouldn’t dare tarnish the name of the Fenway Frank by saying anything other than it was delicious, which it was. But we didn’t stop there, oh no. During the course of the game we shared French fries, cotton candy, and peanuts in the shell (which went a hundred times better than the sunflower seeds!). We had planned on also getting nachos, but were too full by the eighth inning to get anything else.
The Red Sox were playing the Oakland A’s that day. The spirit of Red Sox’s fans showed when a player on the A’s who had been on the Sox last season got up to bat for the first time (I don’t remember his name. I know, that’s terrible journalism. I am not proud of myself). The entire stadium stood to their feet and gave him a standing ovation for at least a full minute. It was truly touching and was a wonderful example of how loyal Sox fans are. It had a feeling about it of “once you are in the family you are always in the family”. Very Italian/Irish mafia.
I can understand why Bostonians feel about baseball the way they do. I’d been to baseball games before, but somehow it felt different here. It was like its own little culture and every stranger was welcomed in with open arms (as long as they weren’t wearing a Yankees jersey) and given food and a nice place to sit and watch all that happened. Even though the Red Sox lost, it was still a good time and I would go back to Fenway Stadium again in a heartbeat. If I lived here I might even become a real baseball fan.