Orioles @ Red Sox, May 31st.

Last night, I had the good fortune to see the Red Sox battle the Orioles at beautiful Fenway Park. It was my first ballpark game in at least two years, and the first time I’d actually had really good seats.
Really good seats, you ask? When it’s impossible to get tickets to a game? This is where Rhode comes in. Not having to go to work due to her impending departure for Michigan, she had offered to sit in line all afternoon for day-of tickets. She arrived around 2 pm, and was the first in line; Mike and I joined her just before 5, and we ate burritos I’d brought from Anna’s while we waited for the ticket booth to open.
A little after 5, the gates opened, and we stepped up to the ticket window.
“We’d like three next to each other,” Erin told the attendant.
“Okay… I have $45, $80, and $100.”
“Where are the $45?”
“Um, we’ve got grandstand, and right field box.”
“What are the right field box seats?” Erin had this down.
“Um, you remember that guy Chris House? Those seats.”
“We’ll take those.”
We forked over our money, got our tickets, and were ushered into the ballpark.
The first thing I noticed was how much nicer the concourse looked than the last time I’d been at Fenway. We were early, so there wasn’t much of a crowd, and the place looked clean and well-kept without looking brand new or so over-renovated that it had lost character. Right near the entrance, a brass trio was leisurely playing in Sox caps, lending something of an old-fashioned feel to the atmosphere. We walked around the concourse a bit before finding our seats, and my excitement was building; when I actually stepped into the open air and light of the stadium and saw where we were sitting, I was full to bursting.
Our seats were in right field box 86, row A, which means right at the back of the right field wall. I’ve never sat anywhere but in the grandstand seats, which aren’t bad, but aren’t particularly great either. This time, we were basically sitting in the exact same spot from which Chris House decided it would be fun to take a swipe at Gary Sheffield, and as soon as we sat down, we realized we’d made a huge mistake in not bringing some sort of sign to delight (or perhaps just confuse the hell out of) the viewers at home. However, our regret did not last long. We were captivated by batting practice, which was happening out on the field. Children and their fathers were everywhere, gloves on their hands, calling to the outfielders for balls. Several came our way, and though it was tempting to reach out to the warning track to claim them for our own, we left them for the kids. It somehow would have been utterly disingenuous to deprive these kids of something so wonderful. That was one of the best parts of the whole evening: seeing the joy in these kids faces, knowing that these were moments they would remember always.
During the Sox’s BP, they played an eclectic mix of country, generic rock, and hip-hop over the PA, presumably the players’ selections, if we’re to judge from their at-bat tunes. When Baltimore came out for their BP, though, there was a mix of silence and really horrid MIDI-type renditions of popular favorites (read: dentist’s office songs). It was like the sound guys had just set some Casio keyboard to demo mode and left it on. The effect was one of circus-like amusement.
As BP wound down, we decided to take a little walk to hit the restrooms, grab some food, and stretch our legs. Mike grabbed a beer for himself and for me, I sprung for the chicken fingers and fries, and Erin got the soft serve chocolate ice cream served in a souvenir miniature batting helmet. We went back to our settled in for the game.
The announcer told us that the national anthem would be performed by “the cast of a popular musical, Menopause: The Musical.” This was met with a lot of chuckling and confusion — no one had ever heard of such a show. However, the four ladies who sang did a really excellent job with a layered and interesting rendition of ‘The Star Spangled Banner.’ The ceremonial first pitch was thrown by some Mass Mentees to their Mentors, and a kid from Newton got to say the words “Play ball!” The game was on.
From our seats, we had a consistently nice view of Trot Nixon, not to mention the fact that we were close enough to see the texture of the warning track, of the turf. The Sox got off to a rough start, but Bellhorn kicked off a rally in the fourth inning, and soon Boston was on top. (Addendum: I forgot to mention that the interstitial music to kick off the bottom of the fourth was in fact the opening of ‘Tweezer Reprise’ — much to my surprise and delight — and I’d like to think this had something to do with the Sox’s subsequent rally.) Erin showed us how to keep score, and was sure to point out all the statistical and mathematical errors. I continued to be perplexed, wondering how the groundskeepers were able to clean up all the sunflower seed hulls that accumulated outside the Orioles’ bullpen. I also took a bunch of pictures of Fenway at various stages of darkness. Though I’ve never been to another major league ballpark, I somehow have this feeling that Fenway’s just gotta be the prettiest.
We were seated to the left of a big group of children, who were brimming with joy and energy, and to the right of a big group of BU/Emerson/other generic Boston college students, who seemed to be there to attract as much attention to themselves as possible without the dudes starting a brawl or the girls going wild. It was fascinating that every time the children to our right would try to get a chant going, or attempt to start a wave, the college kids would immediately copy them with more volume and obnoxiousness. When the game was getting really interesting, the college kids seemed interested in nothing but making sure that the wave kept going around and around the park, and bellowing with disappointment and the purest peer pressure at any section that let it die out. In the end, the college students seemed far more childish than the children.
The Sox came out with a win, 5-1, and the strains of ‘Dirty Water’ resounded throughout the park. We called Scott and dropped by Cruftlabs for a glass of water and the use of the facilities before heading back across the river. All in all, a positively joyous night.
Erin has blogged a bit about the night and about the particular language of baseball scorekeeping, which on appeals to me enormously. MRhé seems not to have blogged about anything in quite some time.
The Sox have just lost to the Orioles, 9-3, which is sad for many reasons, not least of which is the fact that I really want Wake to see some Ws, but it was also an exciting game, particularly during the 2-out 7th-inning rally that brought the Sox up to 3 runs from 0. I’m beginning to really look forward to NESN’s Widescreen Wednesdays. It really makes a difference.
Of course, nothing compares to a seat in the ballpark. I’m looking forward to doing that again. Next game: July with Bischoff!


3 thoughts on “Orioles @ Red Sox, May 31st.

  1. To be fair, the tickets available were $27, $45, and $80. But I wanted Chris House’s seats (again), and I knew those were $45. I believe the $27 were crappy grandstand seats.

  2. “MRhé seems not to have blogged about anything in quite some time.”
    It’s actually flattering to know that the lack of virtual wit and wonder is such a frustration to my audience.
    -Calmer than you are, dude.

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