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Keith Hough's Fenway Experience

I became a diehard Sox fan in July of 1967. From day one I had to know everything I could about all the Red Sox players and for that matter, all the players that the Sox would be facing. As a nine-year-old I immediately started my hero worship of Carl "The Man They Call Yaz" Yastrzemski, and I will always be a Yaz fan. It wasn't until four years later would I get my first view inside the old ball yard. It was May 28, 1971, and my dad was in the Air National Guard stationed in Worcester, Mass., on Belmont Hill. The Guard had planned a family outing to Fenway park that night and I was the lucky one in a family of seven (two girls and five boys) who was picked to accompany my mother to the game. I was fortunate enough to know well in advance that I would be attending the Friday night game. As the day grew near, it became apparent that Boston's 8-and-0 Sonny Siebert would be facing Oakland A's 10-and-1 Vida Blue. It was billed as the game of the century and anyone who was anyone wanted to be in the ballpark for this game. How lucky was I? All my friends were jealous and would drill me with questions, stats and such.

Game day, my dad drove my mother and I into Worcester (we lived in Northborough, 20 minutes to the east) and to the Guard base. As I got out of the family car, I was so excited that I shut my left hand (ring finger) in the door. OOOOCH!! As I screamed and opened the door, I noticed that about 1/4 of the tip of my finger was hanging on by a thread. The unit medic (family friend) came running over and immediately started to stop the bleeding. After a couple of minutes he told my parents that I should be taken to the emergency room immediately, because there was no doubt that I would need stitches if I wanted to save my finger tip. Wow!

Let me tell you I spent the next 25 minutes pleading, begging, and imploring my parents into not taking me to the hospital. This was to be my first baseball game and first trip to Fenway Park, there is nothing that was going to keep me from going! As I stomped my feet and demanded that I be allowed to go to the game, my father against his better judgment had the medic bandage (my finger looked five times its normal size) up my finger as best he could. What I didn't tell them, was that my finger was in extreme pain, throbbing so hard I thought people could hear it.

When we got to the ballpark and entered, I looked up at the Monster - I don't think that my eyes have closed yet and that was 35 years ago. Not knowing anything about the park at the time, I looked at the tickets for the seat location and was not impressed. That is I wasn't impressed until I got to my seat which was six or so rows behind the Oakland dugout and to the left (I think in line with the third base bag). Wow, this was great, I could see everything. During the game my finger was KILLING me, but there was no way that I was going to complain. Between innings I went to the concessions to get a piece of pizza. As I paid and turned to return to my seat, this guy whacks my bandaged finger causing it to be in EXTREME pain and has the nerve to tell me to get out of the way. Well, I am in tears from the pain. I can tell you that I have never forgiven that guy, whom I knew from TV. The guy was one Clark Booth, channel 5 sports guy. From that day on, every time I saw him on TV I would immediately change the station. Also my finger (no, I never did go to the doctor's) to this day is weather-sensitive. But the memories of that game will always make my finger feel better.

For days after the game (which was won by the Sox 4 to 3 and Siebert went to 9-and-0) my friends would pump me for information, like did Vida Blue really jump over the foul line when he went to and from the mound, was Reggie Jackson big, or how fast was Siebert's fastball.

I will never forget that day. I have attended hundreds of games - Opening Day, playoffs and World Series games - and I look forward to the day that I can take my twins (born August 2005) to their first game. OK, their first game will be at an age where they will remember the experience.

MJPCRP's Fenway Experience

I can remember the first time I visited Fenway Park: my Dad was a fan but we did not have the financial resources to ever be able to haul all six of his kids to a game when we were young. Finally, in 1964 I was 15 and old enough to take the train from Winchester to Boston on my own. I decided to take two of my sisters, age 13 and 12, and a few neighborhood friends came along. Off we went and of course our first walk up the ramp and out into the bright lights of Fenway took our breath away. Every color was bright and crystal clear, every inch of the panorama such a thrill to behold. We were out in the bleachers but still felt like Red Sox princesses overseeing our realm. We put our hands over our hearts during the National Anthem and settled down to watch the game. The pitching, hitting, and fielding were magnificent (to our untrained eyes): I wish I could remember who the visiting team was, but that fact is lost deep in my memory. After a number of innings everyone stood up and many started moving away from their seats: I now know that they were headed for the rest rooms and the concession stands but on that day, I looked at my companions and said, "Well, I guess the game is over." Silly me. As we went to the exit and left the park, I was a little confused that more people weren't doing the same... my father has never stopped teasing me for mistaking the Seventh Inning Stretch for the end of the game.

John Harvey's Fenway Experience

Growing up in Fort Worth, Texas, the only Major League team we had were the Astros which came into existence when I was around 6 or 7. Naturally I kept up with them pretty well until 1972 when we got the Rangers from Washington. Of course I changed leagues at that time and started pulling for the American League. Even before '72 I was already a Red Sox fan, I pulled for them in the impossible dream season of '67 where Yaz was just head and shoulders above everyone else that year.

I always pulled for the Rangers but the Red Sox I just simply loved. The '75 series just killed me and Game 6 is still the best baseball game I have ever witnessed. Bernie Carbo's 3-run homer in the bottom of the eighth is one of my favorite all-time moments. The '78 season still hacks me off. The Sox should have let the Evil Empire catch 'em. Of course '86 was the all-time killer. I had never been to Boston but I felt like a true Red Sox Nation follower. I went on a road trip to the northeast in September of 1990. I started off in Yankee Stadium, then on to Baltimore, on to Philadelphia and then to Fenway. I've got to admit the Fenway Franks weren't very good but I had been told ahead of time what to expect. Never in my life have I enjoyed talking baseball with fans from a different part of the country. The Sox faithful knew their stuff about single player on the team. I must have talked baseball with about ten fans at least an hour before they opened up the gates. That still blows me away when they opened up those gates and I got my first look at the Monster.

I spent at least half the game wandering around Fenway Park. I was in heaven, I get chills just thinking about it even today. A fan took a picture which I proudly display with the Monster in the background. I want to take my wife and daughter to Fenway because I told them if they ever want to see Boston well then Fenway is part of it.

I think I probably qualify as a Red Sox fan because of my hatred for the Evil Empire. I will never ever pull for the Yankees. I simply can't do it and won't. I would love to get some of those on top of the Monster, that would be the absolute ultimate. I have a Boston newspaper from the '04 World Series and several videos, and I even have the movie Fever Pitch which I can understand where he was coming from. Hopefully within the next couple of years I can get back to Fenway. I've told my ten-year-old daughter all about it. She understands it was built the week the Titanic sank and Babe Ruth pitched there for the Sox before he went off to the blowhard Yankees. Her doctor asked her just yesterday who her favorite team is and she said the Boston Red Sox. I know living in Texas she should probably pull first for the Rangers but I'm proud that she'll one day be a member of Red Sox Nation.

Colman Roberts' Fenway Experience

Being from Georgia, attending a game at Fenway Park was unbelievable. I attended college in Cambridge, Massachusetts, during the summer of 2000. My first game was against Baltimore and Cal Ripken. We sat in the outfield and it was awesome. Fenway Park is my favorite to this day. We were able to see over 15 games that summer and I will never forget that place.

Doug Bodger's Fenway Experience

I took my two boys on a little New England road trip that included a few days in Vermont, Boston, and NYC this past July. I spent a few days on business in Boston last fall and it was really the first chance I had to do much there. I loved it. So, I wanted my kids to experience it too. I must admit, Iím a lifelong Yankee fan, though not ardent. I just enjoy sporting events, and have been dying to go to Fenway for a long, long time.

The Twins were in town in late July, and for three months prior I tried getting three tickets at a reasonable price... not an easy thing to do. So when we arrived in town Friday afternoon we walked from our hotel to Fenway to scope out the ticket situation. It was not promising at all. We decided to go back about an hour before game time, and see if we could buy some from scalpers. The best price we heard was $125 each SRO... not even close to what I was willing to pay. If my kids were huge fans, maybe, but they were like me... just interested in taking in the Fenway experience, but not getting bent over like that.

So, as it got closer to game time, I decided to try one last thing. I've been to countless sporting events all over the country. I've been to two Superbowls without tickets and have never failed to get in. I know, for a price, you can get into any event, but I prefer working the crowd and looking for a deal... it's all part of the experience. We stood for 25 minutes or so with three fingers in the air hoping that someone would come up and offer tickets at a reasonable price. The boys were getting antsy, but I told them to be patient.. you never know, some nice old lady may come up and say you look like a nice family that wants to go to the game and not scalp the seats. They said, "Yeah sure, Dad!" Donít you know it, some nice old lady came up to me about 10 minutes before the opening pitch and just GAVE me 3 tickets. Apparently her friends couldn't make it and she wanted someone to have the tickets that would enjoy the game.

The kids were in shock, I told them, "I told you so!", and we entered Fenway on our way to right field grandstand seats. Of course I bought a couple beers on the way, and sat down just as the game began. As I made my way to our seats, some guy said, "Hey, I know you." Turns out he and his friend went to the same high school as me in Rochester, NY, and watched me play basketball when they were in sixth grade. They remembered me from 33 years ago! They were vacationing in Gloucester and went to Fenway for their last night. Another guy sitting next to us heard us talking and it turned out he lives in Rochester too, and I know his father. We had about a thousand beers together and had a riot. The Sox romped behind an Olerud grand slam, Schilling closed the game, the night was beautiful, and Fenway was everything and more we expected.

I'd love to go there again and sit on the Green Monster or somewhere not under cover, but beggars can't be choosers... it was awesome.

So here we are in late August [2005], the Yankees are 2 1/2 games behind the Red Sox, and I donít know who to root for anymore, all because of your damn ballpark.

I've been to the old Schaefer Stadium and watched the Bills get crushed many years ago. I hated that dump. I AM an ardent Bills fan, so I have no intention of going to the new place. I want to stay a Bills fan.

Anyway, Boston is a great town, Fenway is awesome, and you have great fans. I love it there.

Sparksrr's Fenway Experience

My only visit to Fenway Park was in 1978. I was 22, living in New Hampshire, never been to a major leauge baseball game. Through a friend's company, we boarded a chartered bus bound for Boston!

I was so excited to attend my first real baseball game, all I was thinking about was what it would be like! However, instead of talking about the game, the buzz with my co-passengers was............ hot dogs! I'm like, "Eh, OK."

Before the National Anthem was sung, I had the mandatory standing in line for a hot dog. Found our seats (yes, they really are cramped!), and bit into this "Holy Grail" of a hot dog. Wow! Delicious! Amazing a 125 pound, 22-year-old could eat six over 9 innings!

That aside, it's an experience to be at Fenway Park, I'll never forget.

By the way, Boston won 7-1 against the Tigers.

I've never forgotten.

Leigh McLachlan's Fenway Experience

There are so many experiences. Beginning when I was young - and yet still at 45 - it's a magical place in my life!

I've driven five hours and back to see a game. This is the toughest way! With so many colleges in and around the New England area, it's not always easy to get a hotel room, especially on parents' weekends! That usually happens about the time the Sox hit the playoff games! Aw, who needs a hotel, I've slept twice on the concrete outside of Fenway for three and five nights in '86 and '89, respectively (both before I turned 30). The first time, I was by myself, with two of my brother's friends from college watching after me. I also had my golden retriever, Rainey with me for protection - ha! Rainey was named after an adorable ex-pitcher for the Sox. My brother and I both ended up in our hometown in New Jersey in our family business. So the first time was fun, a lot of drinking and partying going on - some fans even picked up couches from sides of the road and brought them to sleep on. I only had a sleeping bag, clothes, battery TV, and radio. Once you got in line, you made friends with the people in front and back of you, so that you could leave for bathroom and food stops. What great guys - from Boston College - they also introduced me to the Baseball Bar on Boylston - which is to the day my second favorite to the Cask & Flagon. Here I am, outside of magical Fenway park - on a brisk October night, with a lot of new friends. The lines wrapped around several blocks to the Prudential Center! A lot of cards and all types of games were played to pass the time. The nearest bathroom was the HoJo's across the street. They were on the lookout for us vagrants, but I made friends with the front desk folks by explaining that my own bathroom was five hours away! So imagine, no shower, barely a bathroom, eating badly - looked pretty good by Monday morning. So the line is finally moving - Rainey jumps onto one of the barriers, and some guy says "Get in there" and took our picture. Rainey had a Sox shirt on while I wisely kept the hat! Well we got our tickets - it was such a great feeling on the five hour drive home. To know that I'd be back soon - and with who? My dad (who started our entire family as Sox fans by being a Ted Williams fan), or my nephews who loved the current team? Well, no matter - what a wonderful weekend and now back to work Monday afternoon. Tuesday morning, my brother's friend called him and asked who my PR person was. He proceeded to tell him that I was the entire back page of the Boston Herald! Rainey and I had made it big! Wow!

This was all preceded many years earlier by my parents going to church one day - while my friend and I re-decorated my bedroom with fluorescent paint. Two to three feet high - Bosox, Red Sox, Yaz, etc. Then the cool black light got turned on, WOW! I had to go to church every Sunday after that one! I had caught Sox fever 5 years prior and to this day, still have it!

Last year [2003] we were lucky enough to see a playoff game but this year, nada! Had they won the division, I would have been at Game 3! Now euphoria - THE SOX WIN - THE SOX RULE! And for me, it was the Acela Express to Boston for the parade with my husband. How much fun was that - Ortiz, Pedro, Damon - all within feet. That was a highlight of my life that will always rank in the top five! We stayed in a wonderful hotel, the Hotel at MIT, and ate lobster at their restaurant after the parade. Before the parade, you couldn't come close to a Starbucks or deli without waiting so we went to the Holiday Inn Express for breakfast, where we met a wonderful couple from New Hampshire. We awaited the parade together and shared a cab to Fenway with them after the parade. We went to the Souvenir Store and the Cask to top off the experience! The end highlight was meeting a wonderful conductor on the train home. He is an experienced gentleman who was lucky enough to be requested more than once to accompany the Sox on his train this year. Today, I received two wonderful pictures from him - one of which is now my permanent wallpaper. It was him with Manny, Pedro, David Ortiz, and more!

Thank you Boston - Thank you Red Sox - for being so good to me!

Jeffery C. Lowney's Fenway Experience

My most memorable Fenway Park experience was Opening Day, 1975. I was in Jr. High living in Newton, and my friends and I were allowed to ride the T to Fenway and watch the game. I do not remember where we sat, but I have wonderful recollections of seeing Hank Aaron in his first game with Milwaukee after hitting his 715th home run in 1974 with the Braves. We won the game, and afterwards my friends and I hung around the parking area where the Red Sox drove out of the stadium. I met Luis Tiant, Fred Lynn, Reggie Smith, Carlton Fisk, and got all of their autographs. Unfortunately I did not get to meet my hero, Yaz. At 42, I still enjoy thinking back to that game and how cool it was to be a part of a historic season.

Michael Leggett's Fenway Experience

Actually, there are 3 of those experiences.

Two Knights of Columbus Councils, one in Queens, and one in Arlington, MA, sponsored a joint trip to Fenway Park. At the K of C Council in Arlington, I learned about NY Yankees fans in Boston. What surprised me is that they come from the old Boston Braves fans, as well as NY college students, studying in one of Boston's various universities. The game was a 5:05 pm start. The Detroit Tigers were in town. Mo Vaughn, who was hurt in an interleague clash with the NY Mets at Shea Stadium (he would later get hurt playing for the Mets at Shea Stadium, around 2003), was on the 60-Day DL. Now, the contingent of K of C people were Yankee fans, with the exception of two of us, who wore, quite proudly, Red Sox caps (as I write this, I am wearing this same cap, which I wore to Fenway Park). Now, the ones wearing NY Yankees Caps were supplied with Sox caps, by the host K of C Council. It was done for safety reasons. The Red Sox lost 6-0. We had RF Grandstand seats. A nice experience, but three of those guys from Queens went into a Lansdowne Street bar, chanting Bucky Dent's name, which is bad form by a few Yankee-worshipping blowholes. I was hugged by two of my K of C Brothers, fans of the Sox. I loved Fenway, Part 1, and vowed to return.

Part 2 was in July, 2000, when I witnessed the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings of Boston-Montreal Expos, from the upper bleachers. As the strains of "Hey Look Me Over" was played at the end of the game, with Boston being victorious, I was greeted by Sox Fans, who started seranading me with "Way to go Jimy, way to go." They told me that I looked like then-Sox manager, Jimy Williams. I had a ball with this, and went to a bar on Lansdowne Street, behind the bleachers. They saw me inside that bar, and seranaded me with the "Jimy" Chant.

In September, I came to Fenway for the Seattle Mariners and Red Sox. This time, I was in the lower bleachers. I saw Carl Everett hit a ball into "Williamsburg". Rickey Henderson was in CF for Seattle. I razzed him for his 1999 NLCS antics with the Mets, for his card game with Bobby Bonilla in extra innings. Even in the bleachers, I felt close to the action. Sox win. End of game, head out of the bleachers, down Lansdowne Street. Notice something unususal being sold, namely a "Yankees Suck" T-Shirt. Bought it. Wore it proudly. It came back to NY and the Borough of Queens. The shirt was an instant hit with me and Mets and Red Sox Fans in NYC.

I have to make another pilgrimage to Fenway Park one of these days, because I enjoyed the 3 times, so very much.

Bongo Robillard's Fenway Experience

My dad and I went to the final game of the '75 season and I was 10 years old. We sat behind the Sox dugout and when the final out was completed the fans rushed the field. We used to be able to do that. Those were the days! My dad lowered me onto the field and told me to go have fun and try to get something out of the dugout. I ran onto the field and there were people everywhere! I went into the dugout and got my hand on #8 (Yaz's) bat until this big kid pushed me to the ground and grabbed the bat. That didn't deter me. I went and grabbed a batting helmet out of the rack and ran around the field for awhile with it on screaming and yelling and enjoying the whole expeierence. I wore that hat all the way home on the subway and still have it today. And now I have a son who is six and he wore it throughout the playoffs and the 2004 World Series. It's amazing that he is six and the Patriots have won the Super Bowl twice and the Beantown Bombers have won the World Series. He doesn't have a clue, but he is a New Englander to the core. Go Sox!

Anna Tachco's Fenway Experience

My first and only Fenway experience was everything I had hoped for and more... My father was born in upstate New York and grew up a Brooklyn fan. He ended up moving to Los Angeles the same year the Dodgers did thus I am a Dodger fan as well. I became a Red Sox fan in 1975 because I hated Cincinnati so much that I cheered for Boston in the World Series. (How could you not love that team?)

Anyway, I was visiting Boston in 1996 (the Red Sox were playing Oakland). My friend got us tickets through the A's because she has friends who work for them. When we went to Will Call to pick up the tickets, they weren't there. After a few calls, my friend found out that the tickets were at the shop across the street from Fenway, Twins International. When she went to pick up the tickets, one of the "twins" (owner of the shop) came out and said that he had much better tickets than that and insisted that we take them instead. When we got to our front row seats directly behind the Boston on-deck circle, we were in shock. Baseball-wise, Fenway was the most amazing place I had ever been.

We were talking to the people seated around us, all of whom were season ticket holders from years back (they each described their own version of Fisk hitting that home run in game 6). At one point, we started talking about catching foul balls from those fantastic seats. They all said that it didn't happen much but once in a while someone would get lucky. Just at that moment, Mo Vaughn hits a foul ball that bloops its way toward us, hits a rut and flies into my hand. The Red Sox ended up winning that game with a Wil Cordero walkoff home run in the 9th.

When I got home (now San Diego) I immediately looked for the next Red Sox-Angels game in Anaheim. I bought tickets to a game the following weekend and my husband took me to the game on the train. I was bound and determined to get my ball signed by Mo. We went in early for batting practice and there I am, along with 50 or so little boys, around the Red Sox dugout begging for autographs. Mo was sitting in the dugout next to Jim Rice and he wasn't moving. Finally he gets up but it looks like he's going toward the clubhouse so I figure I have to go for it. I scream at the top of my lungs,"Mo, you hit this ball to me in Fenway last week and if you sign it for me, I'll love you forever!" Well, Mo stops and walks over. I throw the ball to him and he says, "You weren't kidding," signs it and throws it back. It now sits with a group of signed baseballs I have collected over the years, my personal favorite. After all, I promised I'd love him forever.

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