What a magical weekend it was! As most of you may or may not know, baseball has been a passion of mine since I was a child. I have been a die hard Orioles fan since forever, but I can appreciate the history of the game and all the great players who have played no matter what team they played for.
Friends of mine have a goal to take their children and their friends to all the baseball stadiums around the country over the next several years. My son has had the opportunity to be a part of this. They have seen the Phillies, the Nats, the Pirates, the Mets, and the Blue Jays. For this past Easter weekend, they made plans to visit the historical Fenway Park, to watch the O’s take on the Red Sox. You see where this is going? That’s correct. I was on board to be a part of this trip.
Fenway Park is the oldest stadium in baseball and some of the greatest players of all time have played on this field. It’s the sacred ground of this game. Players like Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, Carl Yastrzemski, just to name a few, have played in Fenway. More modern day players like Freddie Lynn, Jim Rice, and how can we forget Carlton Fisk and the magical home run he hit in the 1975 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds. You have heard of the Curse of the Bambino? The Red Sox sold the contract of Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1920 and for the next 86 years had not won a World Series. They had played in four, only to lose each one in the seventh game. Visiting Fenway Park is the type of event a baseball enthusiast puts on his bucket list.
I arrived in Boston on Friday, with my son, nephew, and friends. We walked the Freedom Trail to understand more of the history of Boston and finished by climbing the tower at Bunker Hill, all 294 steps. It’s a work out! Saturday was game day. We arrived early enough to tour the stadium, only to find out they were hosting a Fan Appreciation Day. This allowed all the fans to walk on the field prior to the game to take pictures with players and get autographs. I was mesmerized. We were only allowed to walk on the warning track but that didn’t phase me. I was in Fenway Park! Not only was I in the park, I was on the field. The chills ran down my spine. From the Pesky Pole in right field, to the Green Monster in left field, it was a magical walk. All I could think about was the history surrounding this ball park. I even had the opportunity to jump up against the wall at the 379″ sign in left center field, to make a catch. I was a kid again!
The next day as part of a tour, we landed on the field again to watch a little bit of the Red Sox batting practice. From there, we were able to sit atop the Green Monstah (that’s not a misspelling, it’s just the way they talk in Boston) and watch batting practice for a while. About an hour later, we were standing behind the Orioles dugout watching the O’s take batting practice. There were about 30 of us yelling to each player as they went by. We were cheering them on and yelling for them to throw us a baseball.
Ten minutes later Brian Matusz approached the dugout with a ball in his hand. He was obviously looking for a kid to give the ball. Brian is a left handed pitcher, otherwise known as a Southpaw. As he got closer to us, all of the fans were shouting for Brian to throw them the ball. I caught Brian’s eyes and yelled as loud as I could, “My son’s a southpaw, he’s a southpaw!” With that, Brian’s eyes lit up, he smiled, and threw my son a ball. Magical! Five minutes after that, Chris Davis approached the dugout and my son was able to get him to autograph his ball. This couldn’t get any better. Or could it?
We later went to our seats to watch the game. Somewhere around the fourth inning or so, Nick Markakis was batting. He took a swing and hit a line drive, foul. It was coming right at me! I couldn’t believe my eyes. I was going to get a baseball in Fenway Park. Just as I was about to catch the ball, the fan in front of me reached out. The ball hit his hand and ultimately landed in my lap. I looked at my son and he had this huge smile on his face. You couldn’t wipe it off if you tried. I held the ball high in my hand and shouted “Yeah! Yeah!” Two sections of fans were booing me. As they continued to boo, I could only smile, thank them, and take a bow. It was a great moment.
Not only was I in Fenway Park for the first time ever, but my son got a ball, he had it autographed by Chris Davis, and I caught a foul ball. It was a magical weekend indeed.
Until next time my friends and thanks for reading…..