Christmas at Fenway
Saturday, December 14, 2013 – Fenway Park
Christmas at Fenway
Ever since the Red Sox made Christmas at Fenway an invitation-only event after the chaos of the 2004 free-for-all, I’ve never been selected in the lottery to attend. This year was no different, as I received my rejection letter during the week. That meant I’d have to take my chances in the dreaded Virtual Waiting Room online to try to get the 4-game Sox Pax that included Opening Day, a feat I haven’t had any luck with in the other Championship years. The other thing that was up in the air was the Fenway Park Yard Sale, which in previous years has been combined with Christmas at Fenway. The way it works, and who’s allowed to go, has been a little different every year, and this year I hadn’t seen any mention of it.
I was very lucky with the online sale and actually managed to get one of the Opening Day packs. I’m 45 rows back in the bleachers, but I don’t care – I get to go to my 14th consecutive opener, and see the World Champions raise the banner and get their rings! (About 15 minutes after my transaction was complete, I saw that package had sold out.) I was ready to move on with my day, when I saw a tweet just before noon that Red Sox Nation members and Season Ticket Holders could go to the Yard Sale at 1:30. (And that was only because Jere from A Red Sox Fan from Pinstripe Territory tweeted to ask them, not because they sent out emails or anything. How are we supposed to know?) So I hopped in the car and made it there just in time. There was a line of lottery winners who were waiting in line for a special wristband (they were calling wristband numbers when it was time for them to go to the ticket office), but those of us who were just there for the yard sale were able to go right in.
I went to the Yard Sale area first, inside a function room on the first floor near Gate B. There didn’t seem to be as much stuff as previous years. I didn’t see any Fenway Park bricks, which had always been a highlight for me. The other thing I like to stock up on at these Yard Sales is the publications, like old media guides and yearbooks. Those were just thrown randomly into giant boxes. I dug through a little, but the only thing I found interesting that I didn’t already have was a 2013 Umpire Media Guide. It has bios of the umpires, rule changes, and ground rules for every park. There are also sections titled Instant Replay, Rules Regarding Weather Conditions, and Elbow Pads that look intriguing. (Not sure if there’s anything in there about obstruction, though.) I bypassed the boxes of game used jerseys and banners that used to hang in the area around the park, because they’re all out of my price range.
In the back of the room was a line for autographs. I assume they rotated players there throughout the day, and Ryan Lavarnway was the one currently there. I had brought a picture of me with the 2013 trophy which I’m trying to get as many as possible of the players from that team to sign, and was able to add Lavarnway’s autograph. Sam Horn and Bob Montgomery were also signing.
Next I headed out into the chilly Big Concourse to find the World Series trophies. First there was a World Series ice sculpture that I posed with. I also went up one of the ramps to see the field, where preparations were being made to build a hockey rink for college games next month. Temperatures were in the teens and snow was falling. It was certainly a different view! The trophy line took about 20 minutes, and while I was waiting I ended up buying some World Series logo wrapping paper from a roving Red Sox Foundation person. They were also raffling off prizes every half-hour. When I got to the front of the trophy line, I decided to pay tribute to bullpen cop Steve Horgan by posing in his familiar stance. (I cracked myself up even further when I got home and added a diving Torii Hunter to complete the picture.)
My last stop was the Royal Rooters Club. Earlier in the day NESN had been broadcasting from there, and they had had interviews with players and staff. By the time I was there, nothing was going on except for a group of carolers. For some reason they also had some small animals on display – I heard there was a scorpion, and saw a girl holding a bunny. I stoppped to eat a pretzel before going home. As I left, I went back downstairs to the Yard Sale room to see if there were any other players signing, but instead they had moved the trophies inside and were using the space for that.