Ten years ago, last February, I wrote here that I couldn’t wait to take my newborn grandson Chase Greene to his first Red Sox game, and on July 1 this momentous occasion came to pass. is produced.
It was getaway day for the Red Sox, a rare weekday afternoon game, and April dropped off Chase at 8:30 a.m., dressed head-to-toe in Red Sox gear. He settled into the back seat and made himself comfortable. âOn long car trips I like to take my shoes off because I tie them very tight and it gets very boring,â he said.
Chase is in the grip of baseball fever. He collects the cards, watches the Red Sox on NESN, and counts the points (guess who taught him). He played shortstop in the Newt Guilbault League and although he excelled, he had made the last game of the league championship.
âIt was a lot of pressure on you in the last game,â I said.
“Do you mean hitting with the winning point for the last out?” With like 300 people watching? I didn’t even want to go up to bat.
âIt’s baseball,â I said, âand you came down swinging. ”
We parked at a Trader Joe’s in Cambridge and drove past an elementary school and little league field and through the Memorial Drive exit ramps to the BU bridge where a group of geese rose from the river bank in search of food.
On deck, we saw kayakers pass under a graffiti-covered railroad trestle not far from the boathouse where the Head of the Charles, the world’s largest two-day regatta, will resume in October.
We crossed the streetcar tracks on Commonwealth Avenue and joined the Red Sox fans striding towards the baseball stadium like pods of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Several wore Andrew Benintendi jerseys in honor of the popular left fielder who saved the season by catching Alex Bregman’s drive at the 2018 ALCS.
Benintendi had been traded to Kansas City for Franchy Cordero. At the all-star break Cordero was scoring 0.179 with one homer and Benintendi was hitting 0.275 with 10 homers. Alas, he was injured and did not play in the Red Sox series.
We strolled through the park amid the crowded din of barker carnie selling windmills and fans lined up while waiting for the ticket office to open.
Chase wore his navy Curt Schilling jersey with the number 38 on the back, blue shorts, a blue Red Sox cap and wore the black Rawlings glove he received for his birthday. âI hope you catch a lot of balls,â said a woman sitting on a crate and smoking a cigarette.
Scruffy locals who sold contraband programs on the streets for $ 3 had been replaced by Red Sox workers who sold them for $ 5, and ticket dealers were gone, replaced by digital ticketing. We’ll never hear those Boston bellows and their constant refrain, “Who’s got tickets?” Who sell ? Who has extras?
Chase heard his name call him and turned to see his friend Jack Burnham crossing the street with his father Mike. We stopped and had a chat, officially making Jack the first friend Chase met during a Red Sox game. There will be many more.
Mike pointed to the MGM Music Hall which is located behind the stands in the central court. Construction was in full swing, destroying places like the Motor Inn where transients, out-of-town media, and minor league appeals once stayed. I felt like Frank Gallagher from âShameless,â bitterly complaining that the developers had ruined the old-fashioned baseball vibe.
After the doors opened, we walked through the wet concrete belly of the park and up the ramp behind the marble. Chase stopped and watched, but it wasn’t Alice in Wonderland’s moment generations ago when a child’s vision of Fenway Park went from black and white to a whirlwind of bright colors and to the sound of organist John Kiley playing “Sweet Rosie O’Grady.
âLet’s go get a hot dog,â Chase said, and we went into a concession area behind the left-field grandstand. âWe’re not open yet,â the cashier said. âCome back in about five minutes. ”
We left to find our seats and when we returned the grill guy recognized us. âHot dog, right? You need it. You launch today.
Chase took a bite and his eyes widened. âThis is the best hot dog I have ever eaten in my life! I’m not even going to use ketchup!
The cashier nodded that the money was about as good as I had made it in any game, so kudos to the Red Sox for hiring good people.
Regarding our seats, back before Red Sox Nation, Pink Hats and Wally the Green Monster, there were three choices of tickets: bleachers, grandstands or boxes. Today, the Red Sox website lists 33 different price points, and costs are skyrocketing quickly. Two seats a few rows away from the visitor’s dugout canoe for the next Blue Jays series cost $ 362; two seats to watch the Orioles where the old press box cost you $ 810.
I went there on the cheap, paying $ 114 for two seats in section 33, the alcohol-free section next to the left field wall. I had considered buying two Pavilion seats on the upper deck, but didn’t want to pay the extra $ 150.
Chase was not thrilled with the family of four sitting to our left and the three teenagers who were to our right, or the kids behind us kicking our seats.
“Do you want to sit somewhere else?” I asked, and he nodded.
Chase stayed close. He followed me to the bathroom and followed me straight on our journey to Right Field, that vast wasteland of obstructed views and poorly positioned chairs. This is where they put bus groups and people with paid tickets who end up wondering if their selfies should be on the back of a carton of milk.
During our research. I spotted the family from upstate New York who let Chase and I get ahead of them in the line. They had toured the stadium and decided to stay for the match. It was a mistake. They were stuck in a section where two aisles converged and fans crowded in front of them, like the woman using a cane to pull herself up on the old stone steps and the father holding a two month old baby.
We sat behind the right field foul post in chairs that faced the central field bleachers. Chase sat on his side and tried not to let the filthy post get in his way. He was tilting his head side to side until he noticed a block of empty seats behind third base.
“Let’s go over there,” he said.
KC’s Whit Merrifield hit Nate Eovaldi’s sixth pitch to center field for a single. – After this round, I say.
We walked back and went up a tunnel behind third base. The usher looked at my Springfield Indians T-shirt and said, âI’m so old I saw the Springfield Indians play against the Providence Reds in their smelly Coliseum.
When the Red Sox retired he let us go to our seats. I looked at Chase and said, “After you.”
He was flexible and quick and I rushed after him across the grandstand to the upper lodge seats where he transformed into an empty row and sat in a seat he owned. “Wouldn’t you say those seats over there are the worst in the world?” he said.
Below us, another bailiff had kicked out two children who had tried to sit in the lower huts. He wore an LL Bean raincoat and masked, he looked like Joe Biden. He was looking for scofflaws and stared at us for a while, but then turned his attention away.
We were safe at home.
The game was everything a 10 year old would want to see. Kike Hernandez, JD Martinez and Danny Santana all hit homers and Xander Bogaerts doubled up. When the Kansas City pitching coach went to the mound, Chase asked, “Why do coaches wear uniforms?” ”
Excellent question, I say.
“They’re going to make them feel sorry,” Chase said when the score was 8-0.
âNo pity rule in the big leagues,â I said, so we agreed to leave if the score reached 11-0. Late in the sixth inning, Rafael Devers threw a three-point explosion to give the home side the lead 12-0.
âLooks like this game is in hand,â I said, and we left to shop for some souvenirs. Chase bought a t-shirt for his brother Carter, a pack of Red Sox cards and a baseball signed by Robby Scott.
Robby Scott was a Red Sox pitcher who was released in 2019. Chase bought his autographed baseball because it only cost $ 15 and the other unsigned baseballs cost $ 45.
I held up a glass bottle the size of a pepper shaker filled with authentic Fenway Park soil. “How much, ten dollars?” I asked the clerk.
– Twenty, he smiles. âEvery time someone buys one, it blows my mind. ”
Chase quickly figured out how to find good seats. When I told him about the expensive Pavilion seats, he said, âTake them. I’ll put $ 100.
Imagine that, a 10 year old kid offering $ 100 for a baseball ticket. I don’t know who should be more embarrassed, me or the Red Sox.
Chip Ainsworth is an award-winning columnist who has written his observations on the sport for four decades in the Pioneer Valley. He can be contacted at [email protected]