Earlier this summer my colleague here at ModelSportsFan.com, the uber talented Nick Konarowski (@NKonarowski2) did a review of three amazing Major League Baseball stadiums that he was fortunate enough to tour this summer including Yankee Stadium in New York, Camden Yards in Baltimore and Citi Field in New York. I was lucky enough to hit the road this summer for some great baseball as well and I wanted to give my review of the legendary Fenway Park in Boston.
Situated in Eastern Canada, the trip to Boston for a ball game is a only a 6 hour adventure to downtown. Myself along with five other half wits from our local men’s softball team jumped in a mini van at 8am on September 5th and it was go time. We hopped on the train in Portland, Maine and a true baseball adventure was set. We had booked tickets to take in a couple games between the host Boston Red Sox and the visiting Toronto Blue Jays.
Atmosphere/Fan Friendliness: A+
These were September baseball games between two teams that were not in a playoff race and the ball park was packed. For the first game we were in centerfield and there were more high fives exchanged during these 10 innings than in a couple playoff hockey games I’ve attended. While a fair distance away, the view was amazing with every hit in fair view in front of us. To top it off there was a (guessing) 9 year old kid three rows in front of us giving a middle aged Jays fan absolute shit face to face the entire game – I loved it. The second game we were one section back behind home plate so we had an entirely opposite perspective on the ball game and saw every hit going out. Getting to and from your seats was easy and we felt a live part of the game each time. There were nooks and crannies to manoeuver around each time and this felt like character. The stadium feels old in the absolute best meaning of the word possible.
The Stadium/Sightlines: B+
While in center field we saw everything in front of us, we were still a mile away from home plate. Distance aside we could literally touch the Green Monster and that was priceless. We had the vantage view of the Red Sox bull pen as well and made sure to give proper encouragement to each reliever and this was an added bonus. During the second game behind home plate there were issues with beams that restricted views in certain areas. This was annoying but not a major detriment to the overall experience. Washroom facilities at the stadium are easily accessible from any section and there are enough options that line ups are never unbearable. Getting to your seats from outside the stadium is quite easy as well as there are many entrances near major sections to access your seats so you don’t need to wander through many areas of the stadium away from your seats.
Look, let’s be honest at ANY stadium, arena or field of a pro sports team in North America you need to take out a second mortgage to afford a beer and a snack. Fenway is no different cost wise. However I’ll be clear our group was not shy in checking out all beverages available; from multiple spirits, sizes and varieties of beer and even wine! Avoid the pretzels, but don’t leave the park without a bag of peanuts – just make sure not to spill the peanuts! There are multiple venues around the stadium that are easy to access for refreshments.
The Games: A+
At this point in time the Blue Jays were on a 5 game winning streak and still had a semi-realistic shot at the playoffs if they were able to get on a run like they had in May. The schedule was lined up in their favour for the possibility. They started the game off hot and were not shy putting up runs. The Red Sox overcame an 8th inning lead that forced extra innings. The Blue Jays took the lead again in the 10th, however…the Red Sox tied it up in the bottom half of the inning and recently acquired Yoenis Cespedes hit a walk off double to win it. You cannot possibly imagine being inside Fenway Park as the Red Sox win a game on a walk off against a divisional rival. It doesn’t matter in Fenway Park if the Red Sox have been out of the race since May – these fans are rabid! The Red Sox beat the Jays the following game on Saturday in another tight one a – 4-3 in a match that effectively killed the Blue Jays slim playoff hopes.
This is a historic pall park and over it’s one hundred plus years has been home to some of the most iconic moments in baseball. Walking through the gates, buying Sam Adams beer, listening to ‘Sweet Caroline’ and sitting in those old wooden seats should be on the bucket list of every hard-core baseball fan!
Photo credit: baseballpilgramages.com