Last week I had the chance to do something I’ve wanted to do ever since I was a kid. Sorry if I gush just a bit. You see, I got to watch a baseball game at Boston’s legendary Fenway Park. What a thrill to sit just five rows behind the home team’s dugout. So many great baseball players made history on the field that stretched out in front of me–including Babe Ruth, Cy Young, Ted Williams, Johnny Pesky, and Carl Yastrzemski.
Built in 1912, Fenway is the oldest Major League Baseball stadium still in use today. The intimate size of the stadium, the fourth smallest in the league, just added to the charm of the evening. Unlike some of the modern behemoths, Fenway Park offers an incredibly warm and family friendly atmosphere.
For instance, before the game started young fans easily got signatures on balls, caps, and their programs while players tossed balls into the seats with smiles. The casual interaction between fans and players reminded me of a friendlier time, when the business of baseball didn’t eclipse the fun and magic of the game.
Another fun feature was spotting “The Lone Red Seat” out in the right field bleachers. As best I could tell, all of the other seats were blue or green. But as I learned, the lone red seat signifies the exact spot where Ted Williams pounded a 502′ home run on June 9, 1946–the longest shot inside Fenway Park.
Just before things got underway, the booming voice of announcer Carl Beane filled public address system as he highlighted nine rules of conduct for the fans. In addition to the caution to “avoid balls in play” and “keep Fenway Park clean,” fans were encouraged to “watch your language” and “respect all other fans.” I got the impression that maintaining an enjoyable, family experience was still a big deal.
While the Red Sox were battling it out with the Baltimore Orioles (the Sox lost 7 to 4) I was content to be temporarily transported back in time to an era when things were good and people were kind to each other. I came away from that evening with a new dream; I dreamed of the day when I could return to America’s Most Beloved Ballpark with my boys Trent and Troy to experience both the game and a piece of American history.