A ball game at Fenway Park; good times never seemed so good

Aug 22, 2017 By Craig Blumenshine, Staff Writer

We weren't sure what to expect. Many, like us, who had never had the experience, were full of anticipation.

This August day had been marked on our calendars for months.

Maybe the feelings were a bit like those we remembered from job interviews. There was excitement, nervousness and impatience.

And, the clock-watching. This day called for plenty of that, didn't it?

There was a schedule to be followed, for sure, and everyone new the exact time. Seems like everywhere we looked, a TV was broadcasting the schedule to the minute.

The sun was ever so hopeful as it rose and brought the beautiful light of day to the western Rockies. There were a few high clouds, but not enough to raise concern.

The forecast we had been watching for weeks was more than favorable and the weather the day before -- they say the best predictor of the weather is yesterday's weather -- was stunningly perfect. Not too hot, and certainly not humid.

There were people, but not nearly as many as anticipated, which made getting around as easy as it always has been.

And, as we boarded our flight in Denver to Boston last Wednesday, thoughts of the Green Monster, the Green Monster ladder, the Fisk pole, the Red seat, the manual scoreboard, and our anticipation of singing "Sweet Caroline" eclipsed all other worries.

We were on our way to Fenway Park, Major League Baseball's oldest stadium.

The 60-foot-wide Citgo sign was the first landmark we spotted. And it is a landmark, so much so that it's being studied to see if it should receive historic preservation protection as a Boston Landmark.

Through the right-field gates, we turned left and progressed under the bleachers and through the throngs of fans towards our seats behind home plate, scoping where we would grab Fenway Dogs and Italian sausages before first pitch. The corridors at Fenway are certainly less expansive than those at Coors Field in Denver, or other modern ballparks.

But if there is one thing you immediately notice at Fenway, it is the fans. They are intense, knowledgeable and loyal to their team.

Then we saw the Green Monster, the iconic left-field wall that is one of the most recognizable sights in all of sports. My brother, who had seen games at Fenway before, knew. But it then struck me that that this was the place where Babe Ruth, for a time, called home. So did Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, Big Papi David Ortiz, Roger Clemens and so many of baseball's legends. No other park we've experienced is so full of baseball history.

We heard more than once, "The pitch... is looped toward shortstop. Petrocelli's back. He's got it! The Red Sox win. And there's pandemonium on the field," the legendary call by Red Sox radio announcer Ned Martin, as he was telling the world that the Impossible Dreamers had clinched the tightest pennant race in American League history.

And then we saw them -- The Impossible Dreamers themselves -- 25 of them, back in Boston for a reunion. When Yaz was announced, I got goose bumps, hearing a yell of a loving crowd unlike any I have ever experienced in sports.

We were wearing our St. Louis Cardinals shirts. The fans in our section were so intense, but so understanding of baseball history and tradition. Young friends, two in front of us, and two just behind us, constantly having faith that their Sox would come from behind and beat our Cardinals.

"Are you nervous?" we were asked more than once.

Their faith was rewarded. Mookie Betts lined a two-run double off the Green Monster with two outs and two strikes in the ninth inning, capping a three-run rally that lifted the Red Sox to a 5-4 win over our beloved Cardinals last Wednesday night.

Even so, good times never seemed so good.

Until we experienced totality yesterday, that is.

Have a great sports week. Go Big Red!

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