Rear Window Ethics Rear Window Ethics: Fenway Baseball

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Fenway Baseball

Today we went to the last regular season home game at Fenway Park. The Sox destroyed New York. Despite being there for way too long, (almost five hours) and the game dragging along in brutal direct sunlight, I thought it would be a good time to write my ode to Fenway.

I love going to baseball games at Fenway Park. Everybody cares about what's going on in the game and on the field. Newer ballparks have 'fun zones' with arcades and restaurants and waterparks for kids to play in. You don't even have to watch the game if you go, there are quite enough distractions as it is.

I love becoming fast friends with fans around you, so that for those three hours or so it would seem incomprehensible that you had never met before, let alone that you will probably never meet again after the last pitch crosses the plate. Hugs, high-fives, jokes, and food are shared between people that would never meet otherwise, but within the confines of Fenway Park they are bound like brothers.

Everywhere is green. The grass, walls, the scoreboard. The Wall. The best scoreboard in the game is at Fenway Park. Not only is it romantic and historic, with its manually operated number slides, but after a few beers digital scoreboards get fuzzy while the green and white paint on the old scoreboard stand out.

I love that there is minimal ridiculousness between innings. Sure, they'll show some Sox clips and play music, but it has the feel of old baseball. There are no stupid sound effects (ahem, Yankee Stadium) that make me feel like I'm at a minor league game. How many times must I hear that windshield cracking sound effect after a foul ball? Never at Fenway. The park caters to those who love the game, and those who are willing to be swept up into it for the few hours they are there. If you want fountains, arcades, and stupid video races between Mr. Soda, Mr. Peanuts, and Mr. Hot Dog, go somewhere else.

I love the silence that follows a foul ball on a full count pitch when it matters. Deafening screams disappear in those few moments, only to slowly ramp up again with scattered claps, piercing whistles and finally an even louder ovation than before as the batter steps into the box and the pitcher comes to the set.

The place is cramped, uncomfortable, and small. Considering the likelihood of acquiring post-season tickets, I don't think I'll be back to Fenway until next Spring. I already can't wait.