I grew up loving baseball and taking road trips with my dad. So when I got the chance to check out Fenway Park for the Red Sox and Yankee game, I couldn’t pass it up.
Growing up, we didn’t have a professional baseball team in Tennessee. There was only a minor league baseball, the Nashville Sounds. We would take car trips to see the Atlanta Braves, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Cincinnati Reds. We even went to the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta just to attend 10 baseball games as our summer family vacation.
After moving to Cincinnati almost two decades ago I have attended many games. But with COVID and my travel schedule, it’s tough to get to the ballpark as much as I would like. This year I was able to attend a game at Reds stadium with my brother. I got to see a grand slam when he visited Cincinnati.
Last week Fenway Park hosted the biggest rivalry in baseball: the Boston Red Sox versus the New York Yankees. I have been working a lot in Boston since February, so I decided this was the perfect night for my first visit to the historic baseball park.
Fenway Ballpark is a classic park that was built as the home of the Boston Red Sox in 1912. It was re-built in 1934 but remains the oldest stadium in professional baseball. Most major league ballparks across the country have been updated so it was a little strange to see an original stadium.
The stadium is home to the Green Monster which is a popular nickname for the 37-foot-2-inch-high left field wall. The wall is 310 feet from home plate and is a popular target for right-handed hitters. It is a popular place for fans to sit and try to catch home run balls.
The Green Monster was part of the original ballpark construction in 1912. It remains the tallest standing wall in all major league baseball stadiums.
To get to the stadium from downtown, I took an Uber but traffic was tough through the city. As I got close to the stadium, I abandoned the car. I walked the last 0.5 miles since it was almost game time. The trains and buses were also crowded from the games but it is part of the adventure with the fans.
The game was exciting with Garrit Cole (arguably maybe the best pitcher in baseball right now) on the mound for the Yankees. The matchup of the #1 and #2 teams was very close, so it made for some good baseball. Two of the Yankees’ best players couldn’t take the field, Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo were out. I was worried the game wouldn’t be as exciting but was proved wrong.
In the third inning, Yankees’ third baseman Josh Donaldson hit a grand slam. Then Aaron Hicks followed with back-to-back home runs. It’s rare to see a grand slam much less two back-to-back home runs. There is a reason the Yankees are 14 games ahead of all the other teams.
I was surprised to see so many Yankee fans in the crowd. The team took the lead and ultimately won the game in a close 6-5 score. Boston is notoriously tough to be in the stands with the visiting team. Boston fans are proud, loud and love their Red Sox.
I went to the game alone but found some new friends in my seats right above the Red Sox dugout. Lunch was skipped to enjoy all my favorite baseball food treats. I had a footlong hotdog, peanuts and Cracker Jack — all the game-time traditions.
There were long lines for food and drink at Fenway, especially for a sold-out game. The venue has not been modernized with a variety of food and beverage stalls like in the newer stadiums. You should plan to arrive early if you don’t want to miss part of the game, while in line.
Everyone took credit cards, even the food vendors selling products in the aisles. They didn’t seem happy not to have cash but they did take credit after giving you a side-eye look.
I didn’t realize until visiting the park that it was a movie location for so many films as well. There is a wall inside that shows the posters of the movies that were made at Fenway. Movies such as “Field of Dreams,” “Fever Pitch” and “Moneyball” were all baseball movies and were filmed in Boston. Others like “Blown Away,” “A Civil Action” and “Town” also had scenes filmed at Fenway Park.
All in all, baseball games are still a favorite childhood pastime I will make time for as an adult.