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The Very Best Place to Be Is a Ballpark

Tuesday, May 17, 2011, 14:34 EST Leave a comment Go to comments

And Fenway is the best ballpark to be in, especially when the Sox win in dramatic fashion like they did last night. It might have been chilly (48°F throughout the evening), damp (rain/drizzle/fog), and raw (a light win on top of it all), and the game might have been ridiculously long (almost four hours for a nine-inning game—thanks, Daisuke). But it was, as usual, a great experience. As I often say, a bad day (or night) at the ballpark is better than a good day almost anywhere else.

There is an advantage to having friends who know season ticket holders. One such friend managed to get a pair of tickets for last night’s Red Sox vs. Orioles game for free. Then said friend wimped out because of the inclement weather. Fortunately, I know hordes of people who would drop everything at a moment’s notice to attend a game. Karen and I schlepped into Boston with hope in our hearts that the weather wouldn’t be too miserable and that we’d come away with our fourth win in a row.

I’ll leave the game recap to others and move on to the general ballpark experience. At 99 years old and counting, Fenway is better than ever after yet another off-season of upgrades and improvements. It’s something this ownership has done every year since they bought the franchise: find a little more space somewhere in the old building and make it useful, add a new section of seats, open up new concourses, add concessions, expand available food choices, renovate and expand restrooms, give every box seat a cup holder, install new electronic display boards—all while leaving the charming features like the quirky field dimensions, the left field wall, the manual scoreboard, the brick facing behind the grandstands. Yes, you still have to turn your head sharply to the left to see the infield from the seats down the right field line, the wooden grandstand seats are still uncomfortable and not quite wide enough, and the aisles are still narrower than you’ll see in any other park. But those are minor trade-offs for everything else you get.

Someone I recently overheard in a restaurant said that Fenway has undergone a seven year facelift, but that analogy is all wrong. Instead of having plastic surgery, it’s had a multi-organ transplant with an external accessory makeover. The wrinkles and age spots and gray hair are still there, but that hat and those sunglasses and that fabulous scarf manage to turn the flaws into very fashionable assets, like the graying temples and newly necessary reading glasses that make the aging executive look distinguished.

The cherry on the Fenway sundae is that the Sox mounted a come-from-behind offensive to win in a walk-off. At that moment, while total strangers were high-fiving each other and singing “Dirty Water” at the tops of their lungs, the cruddy weather really didn’t matter.

And with that, I leave you with a few pictures, the best I could do on a drizzly evening with my BlackBerry.

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Categories: recreation, sports
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