Saturday, May 19, marked the day Katey and I checked off Fenway Park — the third stadium in our appropriately named “Stadium Challenge.” Following last month’s adventures to Dodgers Stadium and Angels Stadium, which also rank in the five oldest major league baseball parks, we headed a handful of hours east to check out Boston’s oldest, which was built Tuesday, April 20, 1912.
The first step was cloaking myself to blend in with the crowd as a normal baseball fan. Instead of showcasing my pinstripe pride, I discretely cloaked myself in a Kanye West — not really his — T-shirt and a Syracuse trucker cap.
Although the BoSox were not playing the boys from da Bronx, there was a great potential of receiving some flack about my team preference.
As a Yankee fan, I dislike the Red Sox. It’s in the genetics. However, there isn’t pent-up hatred toward the team. Save that hatred for the Patriots and Georgetown, whose Hoyas will continue to suck until the end of time. This baseball ire is more of tolerating a temporary burn when we lose to them. Baseball would not be the same without their presence, and the rivalry between the two northeast teams is like none other.
The last time I found myself in Massachusetts was in 1998. As part of the environmental club (E.C.O.S. or Environmentally Conscious Organization of Students) at West Genesee High School, we were essentially given first dibs on an offered a whale watching trip. Less Than Jake’s album Hello Rockview hit the shelves days before, and my copy was picked up in Boston, and it provided a significant part of the trip’s soundtrack.
While en route to Cape Cod, we enjoyed a stop in Boston. The last time (and first time) my feet hit the Massachusetts pavement was a few years before, per a family trip. That trip was a great chapter in a personal coming of age story, but I digress. The weekend in mid-May 2018 proved to be a vital adulthood trip, tastes of reflection of adolescence and anticipation for future visits.
Fenway Park is iconic. It’s beautiful. It’s full of vibrant energy, the same energy I remember the old Yankee Stadium had. The same energy the aforementioned stadiums have. Tallying this ballpark as the third on our list is comforting.
Boston is a beautiful city. Save its thick and rich history, there are many contemporary creative efforts, including the weekly SoWa Vintage Market. It’s similar in size/walkability and overall aura to Syracuse’s City Market, which is held monthly in the plaza of the Everson Museum of Art, but slightly more diverse offerings.
The open-air outing that features a plethora of local, regional and even out-of-state vendors selling baby clothes to graphics or paintings of various sizes, fresh produce and artisanal bread to bottled hot sauces and beverages, such as cider. (Hats off to Prospect Ciderworks.) The air is electric and the people are hustling and bustling. The street vendors are pumping out meaty fare, musicians are playing their tunes and artists, including children, are showcasing their creative mediums.
Boston cradles Fenway, which sits snugly and comfortably in the guts of the urban setting, opposed to Dodgers’ and Angels’ stadiums sitting in their own designated areas. It’s as if the city is cupping its stadium in two protective hands. The leading up to the game is nothing short of a party.
Of course, we had to eat the street meat (seen in the slideshow above). Katey’s friend, Matt, knows a guy manning one of the carts outside the stadium. He’s gotten to know the food slinging businessman for years and, of course, is a frequent customer at the spot. Although the Dodger Dog was delicious, the Boston street meat is currently wearing the crown of best game day fare.
There is a particular way to order the sausage with onions and peppers. Depending on the day (and the cook’s discretion) the perceived Italian staple packs various degrees of heat – spicey heat. For my taste buds, the arrow on the meter fell between mild and medium, leaning toward the latter. It was probably one of the best sausages with onions and peppers I’ve had. Although it was food bought outside the stadium, it had an attitude that challenges the Dodger Dog.
Stadium? I don’t need a feckin’ stadium to satisfy hungry customers.
The seats were diesel as well. Our group sat out in right field and avoided poles, giving us a great view of the game, the Green Monster and the rest of Fenway Park. The older seats were tolerable, and, dare I say, felt comfortable. I’m thinking it was the combination of the company and thrill of being in the ballpark, at that moment.
Experiencing the passion of the fans matched the atmosphere of the other stadiums. Even the race for the better fan base is a rivalry between the Yanks and the Sox. Oddly enough, I felt right at home. Plus, I’ve never sung “Sweet Caroline” louder in my life. The song never gets old in any setting.
Boston doesn’t get old either. It’s aged gracefully.
From adulting in Night Shift Brewing to adulting with families and parents-to-be, there was time and various efforts to take in Massachusetts. Another little taste of Boston left me craving more. It’s [still] amazing [to me] how traveling, no matter the distance, gives insight into many aspects of life, providing keys to doors of the past while giving hints to personal desires for the future.
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