7/24/13 at Fenway Park (TB @ BOS)
I’m sure as you all know, you’ve seen Natalie before. Well, her sister’s birthday was a few weeks prior, and since she’s a big Boston Red Sox fan and has never been to Boston, we decided to take her to Fenway for her birthday.
Aren’t we nice?
Everything was good until we hit Boston traffic: Which was, well.. it sucked. Eventually though, we checked into our terrible hotel and got to Fenway: Nevermind the guy doing the vogue photo shoot. If you’ve never been to Fenway before, you can start here, on Van Ness Street. If you walk a little closer, you find the honorary statue of Ted Williams, Johnny Pesky, Bobby Doerr, and Dom DiMaggio: If you go further down Van Ness, you come around to Yawkey Way, one of the most famous streets in sports: I distinctly remember there being a foul sulfur smelling odor coming from somewhere nearby. A Red Sox employee told me that it must be a neighboring building draining sewage.
I’ll give the Red Sox credit for a few things. I love Fenway Park, for one. The history, the tradition, not tearing it down to build a corporate empire… ahem… and keeping it feeling like a ballpark. For example, during pregame, this whole area: gets blocked off once the gates are about to open and it’s basically a street festival atmosphere. And also you can enter all the team stores and restaurants freely as long as you stay inside the fenced in area. You won’t see that in New York.
Now you do. Once we made the usual lap around the park, we lined up for BP. If you go to Fenway Park, you can sign up to become a member of “Red Sox Nation”, which enables you to enter the park an entire hour before the rest of the seating bowl opens. You are restricted to the Green Monster, center field, and right field until an hour has passed. It’s worth $15, and I think it’s worth the money, mainly because you get to bring in a guest with you for free. You line up at Gate C on Landsdowne Street: and you also get one of these lovely no-tear wristbands:
Now, hang on a second. Take a closer look at the photo before the wristband picture. Did you see anything funny? Out of the ordinary? Recognize anyone? Take a closer look: It’s none other than Mike Davison, who was at the Helicopter Drop only a few weeks prior! How weird. Not that weird though, since Fenway is his “home park.” But weird in a sense that he was on line photo-bombing my picture at that moment… I think you get the idea. And of course, Jenna (Natalie’s sister) and I were excited: Enjoy the glimpse of me in a Sox shirt, it doesn’t happen often. About 20 more minutes had passed maybe, and our bags were checked and I ran inside, and up the Green Monster staircase: Around those two guys (who were walking INCREDIBLY slow) … up another stiarcase… until I saw this before me: Quite mesmerizing. At least if you’re a baseball fan. I was very excited to be on the Green Monster, but I was also a little disappointed. There must have been a private party or something, because every single seat was taken on the Green Monster. The cross aisle in back was open though: We did, however, manage to grab a spot towards the very end of the Green Monster, near where it meets the center field wall: I’m sure you know that I do the sign picture for every new stadium I go to. I’ve been to Fenway before, but not when I made the signs. So there ya go. After a few minutes I noticed that not only was no ball getting hit my way, I was wasting my time. Everything was either going down the line, or out completely, so I decided I’d had enough and I went over to center. On the way, I noticed this plaque: You can click to make it larger. If you want to read it. Now, when I got to center field, I got the attention of a Red Sox pitching/bullpen coach, I couldn’t tell who. He tossed me a ball, but it was sailing to my left right at Jenna. I wasn’t going to be a jerk and take it from her, so here she is with her 1st snag: Excited would be an understatement. Here was the view to my right: and to my left: So as you can see, not much of a crowd. It’s only as much as the line for Red Sox Nation is. Oddly enough, I wasn’t snagging anything. I wasn’t getting good luck as of yet. I headed over to right field to mix it up: but there was a season ticket holder event on the field, as you can see, so anything hit in that region was tossed to them. Fast forward to when the Rays were hitting, since I didn’t get anything from Boston. I got Jeremy Hellickson to quickly toss me my first ball of the day: Hellickson is the guy on the left. I decided I’d exhausted my resources (for now) in this area, so I ran around the entire stadium (since you can’t go through the Green Monster) to left field: …where I asked coach Tom Foley to hit me a fungo into the crowd, but he tossed it to me instead. Fine with me. If you’re not familiar, here is the different configuration for left field: Fenway is all about quirks and weird angles. You have this, the Green Monster, the “triangle” in center, the sharp curve in right, Pesky’s pole, all wonderful baseball junkie type stuff. While I was in left, I noticed this: That’s Fernando Rodney. He pretty much teased an entire section for a good 10 minutes by tossing the ball up the Green Monster just short enough where they couldn’t catch it, but enough where it looked like he was making an effort. And those people never realized a closer with a 95 mph fastball couldn’t make a toss up the Green Monster? C’mon guys. I ran all the way BACK around the park to the triangle: and was unsuccessful in catching a few drives that came near me. I went back up to my original spot in center, but at Fenway you have to either go through the staircase on the concourse, or over a few sections, and then back up and over to center. Here, take a look: You see how the center field wall goes into the right field bleachers? Well, it’s not that big of a deal, but when you’re all the way down in the corner where the triangle is and you want to get back up to center quickly, it can pose a bit of a time-consuming nuisance. Also, the two bullpens eat up a LOT of the BP homers. Most got thrown back onto the field. While I was in front of the bullpens, a ball hit by someone I can’t recall slammed off the wall. Chris Archer tossed the ball into the crowd, but to my left was a little girl maybe no more than 5 years old with her father. They weren’t looking, but I snagged the ball on a nice grab on a bounce, and saved her from being hit. Her father thought I was taking the said ball from his daughter, even though both of them weren’t looking at the time. To ease the situation, I gave the ball to the girl and her father was immediately overjoyed. Archer, seeing all of this, pointed me out:
and tossed me another ball. So technically, I snagged 4. But, I like to number all of my baseballs, so for mygameballs.com purposes, I counted it, but as for my personal collection, I am not. So, at this point, personally, I am at 3. I headed down towards the right field foul pole, and after a short while I got bullpen catcher Scott Cursi to throw me my 4th (really 5th) ball of the day: That one was nice and clean. That about did it for BP. We went for a walk back out onto Yawkey (remember how I mentioned that earlier?) : Like I said, this is how a ballpark neighborhood should be. We went back in, and I tried for a pregame ball by the Rays dugout: I really really wanted a ball from Longoria, but he tossed it to someone else. A kid wearing a Rays shirt but a Boston hat. Explain that one. I normally take a photo at the top of upper decks at new stadiums, but since the upper seats behind home plate at Fenway are all press and suites, this will have to do: As for the game, here were our seats: I feel like the picture doesn’t do it justice. Anyway, I was hoping for a Ortiz homer, but nothing came my way. Fast forward to the 9th, where I was here: …and promptly got denied by the Rays coming into the dugout. I couldn’t help but change my usual line score format and use Fenways… so… final score:
David Price pitched a masterful game, throwing a complete game, on only 97 pitches. Of those, a whopping 72 were strikes, good enough for 74%. Nuts.
- 4 balls at this game (5 snagged but I gave 1 away.)
- 143 career balls
- 30th straight MLB game with a ball