Monday, August 23, 2010

Out & About in Boston: Fenway Park

Recently, I was in the Fenway Park area in Boston. As a local, I feel like I lose a lot of appreciation for the atmosphere and events around this area. When I am fortunate enough to acquire the long sought after Red Sox tickets, I like to spend the entire day outside Fenway Park and enjoy what it has to offer. The first part of the afternoon and night has to start on the T. Driving into Fenway Park is a nightmare and let’s be honest, the T is always an adventure. It only costs $2.00 each way to get to the Kenmore stop, and there is a lot of people-watching to be done on the ride. The T is part of the experience of getting around in Boston. After stepping out at the Kenmore stop, the festivities can begin.

As you walk from the T stop to Fenway Park, it becomes clear that the atmosphere is changing. Everyone in sight is decked out in Red Sox gear to support their team and express loyalty to a team that doesn’t always have the best record in the division. There are also those desperate people trying to buy a ticket or sell a ticket hours before the game is about to begin. Continue walking and you’ll come across the man handing out pamphlets on Jesus and also a bunch of guys yelling out “PROGRAMS HEAAAH GET YA PROGRAMS!” Many tourists probably get drawn in by the loud yelling, but Bostonians tend to just walk on by. What outsiders may not know is that if they pass by this yelling salesman who is selling the programs for only $2.00, they will have to pay more than double the price inside the park (just a tip!).

Shortly after this point the aroma of the baseball park hits. All of the distinct smells of Yawkey Way – sausage, peppers, onions, hot dogs, French fries, popcorn –are overwhelming. Groups of fans stand around waiting in line for some delicious food before even entering the ballpark. The prices are pretty high – a Fenway Frank is going to run you at least $4.00 and will be gone in two bites. Want a beer? You better go to the ATM because those are $7.75 a piece! These prices continue once inside the ballpark as well. If the weather is nice (which is quite the gamble), fans can be seen sitting at GameOn, the restaurant right outside the park with all open windows enjoying a refreshing beer and maybe an appetizer to prepare for more eating and drinking once inside the park.

Of course, Yawkey Way and Landsdowne Street are just seas of Red Sox attire, but the streets are also lined with gift shops and tables full of shirts and hats in case you are sick of the one you’re wearing. The occasional YANKEES SUCK chant can also be heard (even if the Sox are playing the Angels) along with the beeping of the ticket checkers. Strolling down the streets can definitely leave you with a full belly and an empty wallet. The experience of the spirit of Boston baseball fans, however, is priceless.

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