My Travels – MLB Stadiums: Fenway Park, Boston Red Sox (September 18, 2013)

Two years ago Kara and I took a red-eye from Denver to New York City to visit the Mets and the Yankees. In short, the trip was memorable for all the wrong reasons, but we laugh about it now. We paid to see the Red Sox and Yankees play at the new Yankee Stadium. Yankees, Red Sox, late September. This was the game I dreamed about for years. We were six rows off the wall in left-center field with a bucket of fried chicken and a $5 umbrella purchased at the exit of the Times Square subway station…

…and the game was postponed until the day after we flew back to Denver. Ahh! It was one of the soul crushing moments for a lifelong Yankees fan like me. We needed redemption, another chance to truly check Yankee Stadium off our list.

So, fast forward two years, and we headed back east with a slight detour: Boston. This would be dark, moving into enemy territory. Red Sox fans can pick out certain smells better than anyone else on earth: clam chowder, Dunkin Donuts, and a Yankees fan in Boston. I went in unmarked, all Yankees apparel safely stowed for our entire stay.

We flew into Logan Airport and grabbed a rental car to kick around town. If you’re planning on driving in Boston, here’s some info to know: Boston roads are crazy! I have never seen three lanes merge into one without any signage or warning like I saw in Boston! A good co-pilot is recommended if you have to brave the traffic.

The Four's Restaurant (Boston)We stopped by The Four’s Restaurant off Canal St. for a late lunch. If you want a first-class look into the history and culture of Boston sports, along with a great meal to boot, then make your way to The Four’s. We were very pleased with our experience there.

After lunch we kicked around the rest of the North End of Boston, including a walk along the Freedom Trail. If you have extra time, the Freedom Trail tour is worth the 90 minutes of walking to learn more of Boston’s heritage.

That night we headed to Fenway Park, the capitol of Irish baseball, bad facial hair, and the only place where calling someone a chowderhead is a term of endearment. The Orioles were in town and Chris Davis put on a clinic in clutch hitting as the Orioles prevailed in extra innings. I still hate the Red Sox, but I have no qualms about saying Fenway is a special place. Here’s some of what we learned if you want to go to a Red Sox game…

  • Parking is a nightmare around Fenway. Prices start at $45 and go up to $50 quickly. If you want to go east or north of the stadium, there are some parking garages that can give you the evening rate around $15 for the game. The catch is that you have to enter the garage after 6:00 p.m., which works great for a night game.
  • The food was very good, lots of variety and tasty! Save your appetite for the ballpark because it’s worth the wait.
  • The info displayed on the  two Jumbotrons along the outfield contain backgrounds consistent with the Green Monster to the left of them. It gives a very uniform, clean look to the fan experience and one that I can appreciate as a visual design dabbler.
  • Fenway is very up to date with technology, advertising, and staying current with cultural trends. We saw a couple of charging stations sponsored by Verizon where fans can choose from a variety of plugins to charge their phone while at the ballpark. The hard part is that you have to stand there to wait for the charge. I’d suggest that if you have to charge your phone, there should be mini-lockers/drawers with coded chips for owners to deposit their phones for up to 15 minutes. That way your phone can charge in a secure location while you’re getting concessions, using the facilities, or actually watching the game.
  • Sweet Caroline. It played in the 8th inning and I experienced one of the most magical moments I’ve ever had at a baseball game. The feeling alone was worth the visit.
  • We sat in the section to the left of the Green Monster. Since Fenway is an older stadium, it doesn’t have the greatest sightlines like you might see at some of the newer parks. Be sure to check out websites like aviewfrommyseat.com to see your potential view.

Even as a diehard Yankees fan, I am impressed with what Fenway has to offer. We’re getting close to the end of our 30 before 30 bucket list. Twenty-six down, only four more to go. Thank you, Boston, for a great first visit. I hope to return again sooner rather than later. Cue Sweet Caroline.

JK - Fenway Park

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