FENWAY: Franks, Fellowship, & Fun
To help us set the stage, I have a song they played a lot this season at Fenway. When it played everyone would dance, trying to be caught on camera. It was simply FUN! No matter how long the day, this song made me want to DANCE :-).
>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen
“You can sit around and compare ballparks all you want, but no park in baseball compares to Fenway. If you want to see a baseball game…and have a chance to see everything that baseball can provide, then Fenway is the place to see it.” ~ Carton Fisk
As some of you may know, I recently began working at Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox, as an employee of Fanfoto. Now that our season is over, I would like to pay tribute to a place that has truly become a part of me. Fenway, now celebrating its 100th anniversary, has become near and dear to my heart. It has been an honor to work there during this anniversary year.
To prepare for this epic tale, I made a trip to the Boston Public Library, checked out some books about this historical landmark, and did some READING! One of my favorites turned out to be Fenway Park: A Salute to the Coolest, Cruelest, Longest-Running Major League Baseball Stadium in America.
Fenway has seen few changes since it first opened in 1912, the same week the Titanic sank. If you have been to Fenway, you know it is truly one of a kind. From my research, I could inform of historical facts about every famous ballplayer who has stepped foot on the green grass of the field. Instead, I want to share this story from my perspective; a day in my shoes, working at Fenway. After all, you have access to Google and as a baseball fan, you probably already know plenty about Babe Ruth and Ted Williams. Personally, I find myself learning more of Fenway’s history every day.
My commute is truly amazing. I begin by walking through the North End of Boston to the train, where I hop on with lots of Red Sox fans. I get off the T at Kenmore Square and head toward the stadium, already hearing the sounds of the Fenway crowd. “Red Sahx! Have Tickets, Need Tickets?” The chant doesn’t quite have the same effect without that thick Bawstin accent. As I walk along Brookline Avenue, getting closer to Lansdowne and Yawkey, the crowd, along with the sounds and aromas welcome me! I bustle through the masses mingling in front of all the bars and restaurants that create the Fenway atmosphere: Cask’n Flagon, Game On!, The Bleacher Bar, The Lansdowne. On Lansdowne Street, there are usually several street performers (a college kid with bagpipes, a guy with drum buckets, and several others), yummy food, and of course Fanfoto photographers eager to snap your photo before you enter the park.
Yawkey, on the opposite side of the park, is another hot-spot to enjoy before a Red Sox game. Once the officials close off the street and start letting ticket holders in through the turnstiles, the festivities begin. There are numerous vendors positioned on Yawkey Way, ready and eager to serve. Stand-up tables allow fans to enjoy a bite and rendezvous before the game. Take a step inside the Team Store for some souvenirs, to help you look the part while you enjoy the game. Now you are ready to head inside the Concourse of Fenway; there is nothing quite like it.
“Fenway is the essence of baseball” ~ Tom Seaver, Hall of Fame pitcher
Mixed aromas of Fenway Franks, popcorn, and fresh peanuts fill the air. The sounds of vendors in the stands yelling, “Peanuts, get your peanuts!” can be heard echoing throughout the park. Children excitedly display hand-made signs for their first Red Sox Game and cheering for their favorite players. The atmosphere is truly one of a kind. Fenway is its own little world and people transform as soon as they step inside…they become Sox fans. If you like baseball at all, you truly have to experience Fenway for yourself. You feel that you are part of history, part of a landmark that has experienced limited changes since its opening day on April 9th, 1912. People travel from all over the world to see the Red Sox play, simply to say they have watched a game in Fenway Park.
“When I brought my kids to Fenway, they never complained about the inconveniences of the ancient ballpark…I still take some weird comfort in the knowledge that the poles that occasionally obscure our view of the pitcher are the same green beams that blocked the vision of my dad and his dad when they would take the trolley from Cambridge to watch the Red Sox in the 1920’s.”
~Dan Shaughnessy, Boston Globe sports columnist
One time I was working up in the grandstands behind home-plate and took a seat for a moment in order to allow fans an unobstructed view. As I sat there, I realized that due to one of the beams stabilizing the Pavilion, the people behind me couldn’t possibly view the game clearly. I turned around and asked the woman behind me if she could even see. She responded cheerfully, “EVERYTHING but home-plate!”
The Green MONSTER
The Green Monster is every fans’ favorite spot to be near, hear about, and talk about. However, working up on the Green Monster is another story. It is a difficult to maneuver while taking photos of fans due to the tight quarters and steep seating, not to mention that baseballs come soaring in this direction. This becomes even more difficult during pre-game batting practice when balls fly to the Monster every few seconds! Balls even occasionally take flight beyond the Green Monster, landing on unsuspecting cars outside the park.
Fenway Park Tours
My aunt and cousin recently came to visit me here in Boston. Fenway was, of course, one of the destinations on our must-see list. I now share a few pictures of us on our Fenway Tour. Guided tours are offered year around allowing visitors to sit in the grandstands overlooking the field, hang out on the Green Monster, relax inside the press box, and hear Fenway’s history from some excellent guides. I am so glad that I was able to share this historical landmark with my aunt, Alonna Bailey, and cousin, Sarah Bailey Duckworth.
Part of the historical skyline from Fenway is the huge and undeniable Citgo sign. This monstrous 60’x60′ sign was erected in 1965 in Kenmore Square and has become an icon associated with Fenway. Even as far away as East Cambridge, I could locate Fenway with help from the Citgo sign!
The Lone Red Seat
Amongst the sea of green bleacher seats, there is one single red seat which resides in section 47, row 37, and wears the number 21. It commemorates Ted Williams’ home run hit back on June 9th, 1946, the longest measurable (stayed in the ballpark) home run in Fenway history to this day. The ball traveled a total of 502 feet and made impact with a patron by the name of Joseph A. Boucher, hitting him in the head and puncturing his straw hat.
One time I was working in the bleachers before a game, trying to take photos up near The Red Seat. The couple who had the misfortune of being seated right behind The Red Seat were being asked repeatedly to stand in order to allow people to take photos sitting in No. 21. I laughed and told them they weren’t going to get to sit much that night!
Before games the players take the field for some warm up swings to make sure they are ready to play ball. Allow me to share a few shots of the players during batting practice before one of the Sox games. You can plan to join in the fun by take the batting practice tour three hours before game time on a game day. You may even have a chance to catch a ball from atop the Green Monster!
Johnny Pesky, Mr. Red Sox
Johnny Pesky passed away this season on August 13, 2012 at age 92. Pesky was an integral part of the Red Sox family even after his days as a player. He served the Sox as a player, coach, manager, broadcaster, and goodwill ambassador. During his career he hit 17 homers down the right-field foul line, around the bright yellow pole that is now famously called, “Pesky’s Pole.”
Fenway paid tribute to Johnny Pesky in several ways. During the first home game after his death, the Red Sox players honored Pesky by wearing his retired uniform number 6. Later on September 23, 2012, they held a more formal tribute with several players from all around the country in attendance. The following photos were taken before the September ceremony.
“Other places have spectators; Fenway has 35,000 participants.” ~ Bill Veeck, longtime owner and baseball executive
Fenway is a place to come savor time with good company, drink a few cold ones, and appreciate the Red Sox (Win or Lose). Whether you are a hardcore sports fan or not, this is a fun place full of history, camaraderie, and family. I enjoy going to work, and who wouldn’t? It’s Fenway!
As we come to our close, I would like to thank you for joining me on a virtual tour of Fenway Park. I hope to see you next season!
For more great photos from my time at the ballpark, check out my iphone/Instagram gallery which includes wonderful sunset photos from my time at work, the Bruce Springsteen concert, and Bill Cosby throwing the first pitch for the Red Sox!
Sources: Fenway Park: A Salute to the Coolest, Cruelest, Longest-Running Major League Baseball Stadium in America
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