Friday, April 25, 2008

The Hallowed Ground of Fenway Park

It was a quite a memorable and historic day for me at Fenway Park on Thursday afternoon.

The fact the Red Sox lost to LA didn't really put a damper on the day. I took Amtrak up to Boston, and as soon as I got off the train I ran into some difficulty (I'm never getting off at Back Bay again), and had to take a cab to the park. After hoofing it up Lansdowne Street, I hooked up with my friend Chris and some other people for the Fenway Park tour. I was incredibly excited as we immediately walked on the field at 11:55 AM and stood with some other folks on the warning track behind the batting cage as the Red Sox took batting practice. (I had to bend down and pick up a couple of rocks as souvenirs!) We saw David Ortiz hitting shots while Peter Gammons was chatting with some folks at the cage. I also had a pleasant surprise seeing my friend and fellow blogger Jere of "A Red Sox Fan From Pinstripe Territory" at the foul screen and we chatted briefly. Manny Ramirez then came out of the dugout and signed autographs with Julio Lugo with the fans next to me and even posed for photos with them.

We stayed on the field for about 15 minutes before the tour took us over to the Green Monster seats. (One of these days before I die, I want to sit up there for a game.) It is such a great place with a fabulous view (pictured), and I can't believe I was once against the idea of seats being up there. I snapped a lot of pictures, and as I did, a couple of ladies from the Red Sox brought over a replica 2007 World Series ring, and I tried it on. It is a rock and a half, and I bought a ticket to the Rings Lottery the Sox are holding to give the fans 9 rings this coming July.

While I was on the Monster, I saw my sister and nephew in their seats in left field, and tried to call them on my cell, so I could wave to them. But unfortunately, they couldn't hear me. (My sister, her husband and their kids just happened to be there yesterday, and I met them in the park just before the tour began.) It was loud in Fenway during the pregame, as it is in most MLB parks.

The tour finished off in the upper level right field seats, underneath the "Budweiser" sign. We saw the bar that is 60 feet, 6 inches and made of the old bowling alley that used to be there. The view is also really fabulous. (Thanks to our guide Kevin, who was really knowledgeable and friendly. And thanks for waiting while I was late!) When the tour finished, my buddy Chris and I went to our seats. (We did stop for lunch before we went to our seats, and I had a "Remdog," which is the biggest hot dog I've ever eaten. It was good too.) We thought it was in section 18 just behind home plate. Turns out we were in section 18 in the left field pavilion. Those seats are in the new "Coca-Cola" section that was just built this season.

It took a few minutes to reach the seats, as we had to walk up a number of levels. But those seats are really incredible, and you get a wonderful view of the entire park. (The only thing you can't see is when the ball goes into the left field corner and those seats next to it. I had to watch the players in order to see if a ball went foul.)

Once the game ended, we went to a reception at the Players Club in Fenway, as the movie I appear in "Blessed: Still We Believe 2" was being honored. Chris and I chatted with a number of folks, including Dennis Eckersley, who was there representing the club, as the film was being shown on a big screen TV. The Eck is a really personable guy, and we told him about the film and Professor Thom's. We took photos with him, and we talked with him about Bill Lee, who has been to Thom's on a few occasions. (It was quite the animated conversation too!)

After the event, everyone was given a gift bag, which included a copy of the current film, plus the original as well, courtesy of Bombo Films, who made the films. (And as the night was ending, I was almost alone in Fenway Park, the first time I had ever been there when it's been so empty. It was an almost indescribable feeling.)

It was simply one of the more memorable days of my life at Fenway (my 18th game there), and the fact the Red Sox lost really didn't bother me that much. My thanks to all of you at Fenway Park and the Red Sox who made it so great.

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