Take Me Out To The Ballgame.

Spring in New England. Some days, the temperatures soar into the 80’s, the leaves on the trees bud, flowers bloom, and there is not a cloud in the sky. The very next day, temperatures can crash into the 40’s, the sky is dreary and overcast, winds gust, rain falls, and it feels more like late October than May. Attending outdoor events during springtime can be a hit or miss affair here, especially a baseball game for the hometown Boston Red Sox at legendary Fenway Park.

Built in 1912, Fenway Park is one of the oldest baseball parks in the nation. It has been home to seven of the eight Red Sox World Series championships. Built near Kenmore Square, Fenway Park is located in an area of the city that was originally swamp and marshland. Manmade fill created an entire section of the city, known as the Back Bay, in the mid-to-late 19th century. The stadium was constructed on an irregularly-shaped city block, leading to an asymmetrical stadium design. Rather than a traditional diamond-shaped field, the stadium’s designers were limited by the available space, leading to an asymmetrical field design that is unique to Fenway. A park that has witnessed Babe Ruth, “The Impossible Dream” season, Carlton Fisk waving his home run from foul to fair in 1975, the 2004 World Series championship that broke “The Curse,” and on and on, Fenway Park has seen more than its share of history. On April 20th of this year, Fenway celebrated its 105 birthday.

While I am from Philadelphia and am a Phillies fan through and through, whenever I have a chance to attend a game at Fenway, I jump at the opportunity as it is simply one of the best places to watch baseball. When friends invited me to join them for Harvard Alumni Night at Fenway this past Monday, I immediately agreed, despite a forecast that called for temperatures in the low 50s, wind, clouds, and a chance of rain.

Fenway Map
Fenway Park, in Boston, MA. The area where Fenway sits did not exist during the American Revolution. Much of the area was either swampland or water until the mid-19th century.
Fenway Park Exterior 1914
Fenway Park, shortly after opening. (Image labeled as public domain and free for reproduction, via Wikipedia).
Fenway Park in the 1914 World Series. Unlike older stadiums such as Soldiers Field in Chicago that have been extensively renovated, Fenway exists in a time capsule. When it opened, it could seat 35,000 people. 105 years later, the most it can hold is 37,000, which is tiny in this age of mega stadiums. (Image labeled as public domain and free for reproduction via Wikipedia).
Here you can see the irregular construction of Fenway. Very little has changed, aside from the section of Jersey Street that runs alongside the stadium being renamed to Yawkey Way, in honor of longtime Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey. (Image labeled as public domain and free for reproduction, via Wikipedia).
Heading down Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, on my way to the stadium. On either side of the street is Boston University, my alma mater for my undergraduate degree.
Warren Towers, one of the residence halls at Boston University. Warren is the second-largest non-military dormitory in the nation. Nicknamed “The Zoo,” it was also my home during my sophomore year of college.
And I ended up parking in the garage under Warren Towers. Despite the high cost ($30, which, all things considered, isn’t bad for game-day parking in the city), it was cool to return to the building where I lived for one year of my life. Fenway Park is an easy walk from BU.
With a little time to kill before the game, I walked around BU for a bit after dinner. It was nice to reminisce. Many of my closest friends I met while I was an undergraduate here.
Located in Marsh Plaza, one of the central spaces on campus, the “Free At Last” sculpture honors one of BU’s most famous alumni: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Walking to the park, I snapped a photo of the CITGO sign in Kenmore Square. One of Boston’s most famous landmarks, this electronic sign, built in 1940, is often seen in movies and television shows set in city. It is also visible during telecasts from Fenway Park.
Fenway Park!
Fenway, built in red brick and of a similar height to other buildings in the neighborhood, tends to blend into its surroundings. The first time pitcher Roger Clemens visited the park, he mistook it for a warehouse until his taxi driver told him to look up at the stadium lights (via Wikipedia). 
The front entrance to Fenway, with banners hanging for each of its World Series and American League championships. 
Newer parks, such as Camden Yards in Baltimore and Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, are eating and shopping mega centers as much as they are ball parks. Given its age, Fenway lacks many modern amenities. The concession stands are tiny and the shops are few and far between. In other stadiums, entire sections are devoted to the home team’s successes. Here in Fenway, what little space that is available is put to good use. In this photo, an old ticket booth has been converted into a display case honoring the 2004 World Series team.
Fenway Park. Play ball!!! Compared to the drama that was to unfold later in the game in other sections of the stadium (described below), the section where I sat was quiet and well-behaved.
As described earlier, Fenway is an old park with many quirks. The 37-foot high green outfield wall on the right of the picture (in left field) is known as the Green Monster. The hand-operated scoreboard below the Green Monster was installed in 1934, and the scores are changed by a staff that works the entire game behind the wall. The yellow foul pole on the left of the image is known as Pesky’s Pole, in honor of a Red Sox short stop and coach, Johnny Pesky.
Cold, wet, and windy, but still a great night for watching baseball. Unfortunately, the night was bad, as the home team lost. And then the night got even worse, with accusations that some Red Sox fans threw trash at the opposing team’s center fielder and yelled racial slurs before and during the game. Sigh.
Fenway Park, taken from the corner of Landsdowne Street as I left the game.
One benefit of being a Harvard alum: those of us that got our tickets through the Harvard Alumni Association were treated to this free t-shirt!
Back home, and the miles keep on rolling.

For many of the locations I visit, I often end my posts with a statement such as “if you are in the area, it’s definitely worth to make a detour and stop by.” In the case of Fenway Park, it is worth making a trip to Boston for the sole purpose of attending a Red Sox game. For any baseball fan, or anyone interested in American history, Fenway Park is on the list of must-see destinations. Despite the team’s rabid fan base, tickets are fairly easy to get and relatively affordable, aside from during the playoffs or any game against the hated (!) New York Yankees. Thanks for coming along on this special, mid-week episode of the Voyage of DH!

‘Til next time.

5 thoughts on “Take Me Out To The Ballgame.

  1. Pretty cool that you were able to retrace some of the steps from your undergrad education! I want to go to Fenway sometime. Enjoyed the story about how it was mistaken once for a warehouse. How are the concession stands?!


    1. They’re ok (hot dogs, pretzels, ice cream, etc) but not up to the same level as more modern parks that have craft beer breweries, Gourmet restaurants, etc. Fenway is all about baseball, and history. That’s not a bad thing, either!!


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