With spring semester starting today, I decided to take a look back at my most epic summer of baseball touring to date, which began with a bang in Boston, Massachusetts. Fenway Park has been at the top of my must-see list for years, and it was surreal to see the dream finally come to fruition this summer. I was like a kid in a candy shop on the morning of the game when we first saw the stadium and began our tour. At the start of the tour, we sat behind home plate to watch some of batting practice and then were able to come down on the field. On the field we were able to catch a glimpse of Cleveland Indians radio broadcaster Tom Hamilton, one of the best in the business and my absolute favorite. Hamilton was chatting with Boston manager John Farrel and managed a wave as we were passing by.
After that, we were ushered up to the Green Monster where we watched more batting practice. Watching batting practice from the Green Monster was probably the coolest baseball experience I have ever had. From the time I was a child, I always dreamed about sitting on the Green Monster and even wrote a letter about it in high school. Although it was just for batting practice, it still gave me chills. After our tour, we left the stadium and enjoyed a sausage on Yawkey Way. We reentered in time to watch the Indians in batting practice where we caught a David Murphy home run and then were thrown a ball by Indians reliever Cody Allen. The game hadn’t even started, and yet I was the happiest girl in the world.
My favorite stadiums are the ones brimming with history and tradition. Fenway Park definitely fits under that category as it is the oldest Major League Baseball stadium still in use, and it maintains the same character and features synonymous with the Boston Red Sox. Just the atmosphere around the stadium is addicting and enough to bring a smile to the face of any baseball fan. How could the thousands of fans invested in and so passionate about their team and the traditions the team represents not warm your heart?
Getting the Ball Rolling
The narrative of Fenway Park begins in 1911 when Red Sox owner John I. Taylor purchased a plot of land in “The Fens” of Boston to be the site of his new stadium. Construction for the stadium began in September of 1911 and took less than a year to complete. The first official game at Fenway Park was played on April 20, 1912 against the New York Highlanders (Yankees) and the new stadium proved to be good luck as the Red Sox went on to win the World Series that season.
Since its inception, Fenway Park has hosted baseball, football, hockey, and even concerts. Countless memories have been made at the stadium by players, and fans alike.
The Lone Red Seat
In the right field bleachers, 502 feet from home plate, lies the lone red seat. This seat, Section 42, Row 32, Seat 21, represents the longest home run ever hit at Fenway Park. The home run was hit by Ted Williams on June 9, 1946 and landed on the head of a fan. The seat was painted red to sit among the sea of green seats, commemorating this unrivaled feat.
The fan who was hit in the head by Williams’ blast, Joseph Boucher, was quoted as saying: “How far away must one sit to be safe in this park? I didn’t even get the ball. They say it bounced a dozen rows higher, but after it hit my head, I was no longer interested. I couldn’t see the ball. Nobody could. The sun was right in our eyes. All we could do was duck. I’m glad I did not stand up.”
The Green Monster
Looming at a height of 37.167 feet, stretching 231 feet across left field, 310 to 315 feet away from home plate, is the Green Monster, possibly the most iconic image of Fenway Park. Although today we know it as the Green Monster, it had neither the name nor color at onset.
When the stadium was built in 1912, “the wall” as it was referred to, was made out of wood and meant to block the view of people outside the stadium who had not paid for admission to the game. In 1934, the wall received a face-lift as the wooden fence was replaced with a concrete-and-tin wall. The Green Monster as we know it today, was born in 1947 when the advertisements were scraped off the wall and swapped for green paint. In 1975, the final change was made when a hard plastic took over for the tin.
The shortest outfield distance in Major League Baseball finds its home at Fenway Park, in the form of Pesky’s Pole. Standing 302 feet from home plate, the right-field foul pole still presents a challenge for hitters as the fence sharply curves away from the pole. Pesky’s Pole was named after John Pesky, a long-time Red Sox short-stop and coach, who hit a number of his six home runs at Fenway Park around the pole. On Pesky’s 87th birthday, September 27 2006, the Red Sox officially dedicated the pole as Pesky’s Pole and placed a commemorative plaque to its base.
To date, this trip and stadium remains one of my favorites. Not only does Fenway Park ooze with tradition, but all of Boston holds numerous jewels of American history. Not to mention the delicious authentic Bostonian cuisine. There’s just something about Fenway Park, an aura that beckons you inside, causing you to never want to leave. Once you’ve tasted what its atmosphere is like, you can’t stop counting down the days until you can return.