I've been a baseball fan since I was knee-high to my father. I remember as a kid listening to games on my little handheld pink radio. I'd play at the local park and sit on the merry-go-round and listen to the announcer give play-by-play information on whatever game was on.
Sometimes I'd sit and listen with my dad while we sat in lawn chairs and enjoyed the weather. As I got older, we'd watch the games on television together. And when I was even older, we went to see the games at the stadium. It didnt matter whether it was professional, triple-A, or a local farm team playing under the lights on a hot summer night. All that mattered was that I was watching the great American sport of baseball.
I've seen the Minnesota Twins play in person. At one point, I even had an autographed ball by several of the players. Today I have no clue where that ball is. I'm sure it was lost in the many shuffles of moving I've done in my lifetime. When I lived in Virginia I went to see the Orioles play.
Nothing compares to going to see the Boston Red Sox play baseball. That's not to say that the baseball is not as good, but the whole experience is different. Picture a kid sitting in the back seat of the car as you drive by the stadium and he or she sees the sign for Fenway Park for the first time. That was me yesterday!
My mouth dropped open in awe. Flies could have landed on my tongue and it wouldn't have bothered me one bit. Here I was, driving by a stadium that's been around for 100 years. It's beautiful!
We parked just a block away, but that entire block there was an energy that radiated off every person walking by, heading in the same direction as us. . .to Fenway. Banners hang from the side of the stadium lettered with names and dates of some baseball greats like Wade Boggs and Babe Ruth just to name two.
Then we walked down Lansdowne Street. Here is huge difference that any other game I have ever attended. This street is partially closed off to visitors who don't have a game ticket. Lansdowne Street is a smorgasbord of game day vendors.
There are souvenir stands, baseball stores, food carts, food stands, beer, even a three-piece band played music in the middle of the road. There was a caricature artist drawing his heart out and a line of fans waiting their turn. Another vendor was a balloon artist making funny things out of balloons including a baseball hat for a kid on his birthday yesterday.
We had the opportunity to meet a beautiful 67-year old woman who wore a funny hat with fake hair on top of a Red Sox visor. The same hat the friends I was with were wearing. She asked if the guys would take a picture with her. Of course! It was only her second time at the stadium and she was there with her family to celebrate her husband's birthday.
Everywhere you turned you saw a Red Sox t-shirt on someone old or young, big or small. Hats were worn or carried in hands, but just about everyone had one.
I can honestly say that I did not stop gawking or smiling until the game was over and we were on the highway headed home. Okay, honestly, I have not stopped smiling at all.
Going to a Red Sox baseball game is not just going to a game, it's part of an adventure that you will remember for life. If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend that every person experience it at least once and if you're lucky, more than once.
I promise you, you will feel like a kid in a candy store and just won't know where to look first, and you will want to look at everything. You will want to tuck every little thing in your pocket and take it home with you.
When the game is on. . . all eyes are on the field and the enthusiasm is electrifying and catchy. From the vendors hailing and selling their lemonade, hotdogs, and peanuts, to the fans making a wave go around the stadium, you will feel a part of this day like no other. Lots of oooo's, ahhhh's, and clapping.
Every time a foul ball is hit, you will wish the ball came your way. You will find yourself hollering at players trying to get their attention, trying to get just a smile, a tip of a hat, or maybe even a handshake.
When a homerun is hit, you will high-five the complete stranger standing next to you. It doesn't matter that he's a fan for the other team. Everyone is excited that the ball hit the back wall.
When the sun shifts and shadows encroach on the field and the game is at a close, you will feel a sadness in your heart that such a day has come to an end. But -- you will relive this day, the game, the fans, and the energy over and over again in your dreams.
To all you baseball fans, if you want to experience a game day like no other, I recommend you go see the Red Sox play. Oh! And take me with!