It was to say the least an interesting day on Friday. It was going to be my first visit to Fenway Park in the 2007 season, after the game against Atlanta I was going to earlier this season got rained out. My friend Leah once again got me her tickets that she could not use. So I was really psyched to see America's Most Beloved Ballpark on Friday night.
I decided to once again take the Fung Wah Bus out of Chinatown. I've used it on three other occasions in the past, and it's always been fine. (It's had some well-known troubles in the past, put it's always been an economical way to get to Boston.) It costs just $15 each way, and it gets you from Chinatown in Manhattan to South Station in downtown Boston. The buses are generally pretty good, and better than you would imagine. I've gotten to Boston in just about four hours, and back from there in about the same amount of time.
I left at 12 noon on Friday. We hit some traffic getting out of New York, and were a little behind schedule. After a short 15 minute break in Connecticut, we hit the Massachusetts Turnpike shortly after 3:30 PM. I was planning on meeting my friend Joe, who was also going to be at the game, at about 5 PM on Yawkey Way so we could watch batting practice.
But at about 4 PM, I saw a sign near the Worcester exits that said, "Accident, Traffic Slow Ahead." Not only was traffic slow, it ground to a halt. I put on the radio to discover that there was a serious accident up ahead, and it would take time to clear. And boy, did it ever. Over the next two hours, we moved about two miles. It was so bad at one point, I saw drivers getting out of there cars, wondering when the traffic would move again. (It reminded me of a night two years ago, when I got stuck on the New Jersey Turnpike for 5 1/2 hours when I got stuck behind a fatal accident coming home from a Red Sox game in Baltimore.) It was beyond frustrating, and I called Joe to tell him that I had no idea what time I would be at Fenway. I was even fearing I might miss about half the game.
But by 6, the traffic cleared. I was still about 38 miles from Boston, and figured I'd have no shot of getting there by the start of the game. Thank goodness there was no traffic going into Boston, and we actually got to South Station at 6:45 PM. I got off the bus, and flew through the station. I got to the subway ("The T" as its known to the locals), changed at Park Street for the Green Line. I got off at Kenmore Square, and hustled my way to the ballpark. It was 7:15, and as I entered the park, I saw Josh Beckett pitching to Jim Thome with two out and one man on.
It was a miracle I got to see any of the top of the first. Fenway looked absolutely beautiful. And I also made a decision. No more bus trips to Boston. I'll spend the money and take the train next time.
My seat was bewteen third and home, in the loge section, five rows from the box seat section. One of the best seats I've ever had at Fenway. My buddy Joe and I were able to hook up during the game. It was great start for the Red Sox, but the umps clearly blew a J.D. Drew home run, calling it in play, when it really had cleared the top of the wall and should have been a homer. Manny Ramirez was tagged out at home, so it meant one run instead of three. Terry Francona absolutely blew a gasket (pictured), and I think the recent frustration of the last few nights boiled over. He got tossed, and the Fenway Faithful gave him a standing ovation as he departed.
Beckett allowed a three-run homer to Thome in the third, and it looked like it might be another incredibly frustrating night. But the Red Sox came alive, scoring four in the fifth, capped by a Coco Crisp bases loaded triple. David Ortiz singled in a run, but was thrown out trying to get to second, and sprained his shoulder in the process. It's not considered serious.
Beckett went six, and the bullpen shut Chicago down the rest of the way. The Red Sox added five in the eighth to ice it, which included a grand slam by Julio Lugo to finish off a 10-3 win.
I took the bus back after the game, as I had a round-trip ticket. It was a roller-coaster ride of a day. The Yankees were murdered in the Bronx by the Devil Rays, 14-4. (When the score of 10-1 went up in the eighth, the crowd loudly cheered.) The Red Sox lead is now back to eight games. (Both teams won this afternoon, the Red Sox wiping out the White Sox, 11-2, so as of this writing the lead stays at 8.) I listened to the Mets 4-1 win in Los Angeles on the radio going home, so it was definitely a happy ride home.
I walked through my door at about 4 AM. I was exhausted and went though a really difficult day, but seeing the Red Sox come alive like that and win made it all worthwhile.
Heck, any day at Fenway Park is well worth the aggravation to get there.