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Friday, April 20, 2012

Fenway Park is a century old, and has always been home to Major League Baseball's Boston Red Sox.
Photo: Creative Commons/MisconMike
Fenway Park is a century old, and has always been home to Major League Baseball's Boston Red Sox.


Fond memories of Boston's Fenway Park and the Red Sox

By Rick Martinez

Fenway Park celebrates its 100th anniversary Friday.

The only home ever of Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park is the oldest venue used by a professional sports team in the United States and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

I’ve been drawn to the park near Kenmore Square in Boston at the corner of Yawkey Way and Van Ness Street and home to the Green Monster and Pesky’s Pole since I was a child.

My grandfather (Pepere, as we affectionately called him) brainwashed me. When I visited him in the summer, we would listen to the Red Sox games on the radio as he rocked on the front porch of his Manchester, N.H., duplex.

That was long before the Red Sox broke the fabled curse of Babe Ruth after 86 years to win a World Series title in 2004 (and again in 2007).

Full disclosure: I’m a diehard Red Sox fan. 

I’d love to write this blog with a Boston dateline, but I’m not there.

However, I was just in Beantown — or, more modestly, the Hub of the Universe — last month. I stayed at The Park Plaza Hotel & Towers, the Official Hotel of the Boston Red Sox, while attending the Discover New England Summit & International Marketplace.

As I walked the streets of Boston in the crisp March air, Red Sox caps with the gothic “B” were everywhere to be seen. It felt good.

Unfortunately, the closest I got on the trip to Fenway — besides seeing its lights from afar — was nearby Northeastern University and the Museum of Fine Arts. No baseball pleasures on the visit; bummer.

For me, visiting Fenway and rooting on the Red Sox has always been a group excursion. Whether on a motorcoach (a few times) or in a couple of vans, cheering on Boston against the rest of the American League has always been a community affair for me.

The sun sets over Fenway Park in Boston.
Photo: Creative Commons/InspiredInDesMoines
The sun sets over Fenway Park in Boston.


The only baseball stadium I’ve been to more often is Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs.

One of my fondest memories of Fenway and the Red Sox came in summer 1987. After a Red Sox win, the group I was with managed to spend some chat time post-game with Boston player Marc Sullivan. During the game, he chatted us up a little during breaks; he was the bullpen catcher and we were sitting just above in the right-field bleachers.

I’ve toured Fenway as a fan many times, and I've seen the Red Sox play both home and away. And I am looking forward to this summer, when I hope to take a 50-minute tour of the home field for Red Sox Nation — unless I'm able to score some tickets (fat chance since Boston’s typically sold out).

After all, Fenway is where Ruth pitched (before he went to those New York Yankees), Ted “The Kid” Williams hit, Carl Yastrzemski dazzled, Carlton Fisk caught and David Ortiz still thrills. Fenway is a place where pro baseball, football, soccer and hockey have been played. Fenway is a stadium that opened eight days after RMS Titanic sank. 

There was one winter afternoon years ago where I tried to get a group of Boston visitors I was with into Fenway. While it didn’t happen, I recall walking the perimeter of the 37,493-seat ballpark. We managed to sneak some peeks inside, but that was about all.

One of my friends said: “It’s a lot cozier than I ever thought it would be.” 

Ah, cozy it is. Too bad I can’t be there Friday to celebrate.

Rick Martinez is Editor of Group Tour Media.

So nice to read your article and history as a Red Sox fan! Great job, Rick!
I think that's about right. The Red Sox just went crazy in the 2004 LCS and were really doatnmie in 2007. The White Sox and small ball took the central division fairly easily despite a late season drop off and their post season was perhaps the best ever since the 3 tier system was started. 11-1 and some of the best heads up plays you'll ever see.
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