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Wayne Parsons' Fenway Experience

Of many memories about my Fenway experience - Ted Williams home runs, Yaz home runs, Luis Tiant twisting and turning, etc., etc. - the one that sticks in my mind the most was the 1961 All-Star Game. At the time I was 15 years old and had paid for the tickets out of the money I made delivering the Somerville Journal. I wish that I had held onto the scorecard which I threw away in the early 70's. Just to think of the Hall of Famers who played in that game gives me goose bumps.

I'm now living in Florida but am still a living breathing die hard Red Sox fan and am proud to say that my son who is now serving his country in Iraq is carrying on the tradition along with my granddaughter. Whenever I can I catch them on the TV - thank you ESPN, FOX, etc. - and have signed up on to listen to Joe and Jerry calling the games on radio.

I personally like the changes that have been made at Fenway because they have kept the basic ballpark the same without destroying the atmosphere. I'm hoping to get up to Boston this summer and will do as I did when I was a kid and take the T to the cathedral on Yawkey Way.

Ben Payson's Fenway Experience

I live in Virginia now but grew up in New York and made it to Fenway about twice a year during the 1980's and first half of the 90's. The first game I ever saw, in 1980, Mike Norris and the A's beat Chuck Rainey and the Red Sox 11-8. Norris pitched a complete game and gave up eight runs! Jim Rice hit two homers that night.

I also remember going to the old-timer's games they used to have in the early 1980's. One game, Bob Montgomery hit one over the Monster. In the game they played that afternoon against Texas, which Boston won in extra innings, Yaz - who was older than some of the old-timers - came up to pinch-hit in the late innings. The crowd was on its feet and really screaming. Yaz hit it as far as you could hit it without going out of the park - a flyout. Later on, after the game, I was walking along Yawkey Way after trying to get autographs at the parking lot - the street was mostly deserted by then - but down the street comes a guy in a white denim suit holding a cocktail... Carl Yastrzemski. I got his autograph but when I looked at it later, the pen had run dry in the middle of his autograph! All I have is the indentation of his autograph on the book cover!

I met former SS Jackie Gutierrez after a game too. He had some wierdos hanging around him - one guy was holding a bird in his hands. Not some exotic bird, but a sparrow or something.

The crowd is the best reason to go. I have many recollections from sitting in right field. One was in the late 1980's, when Frank Tanana pitched for Detroit. He was warming up in the bullpen and guys were screaming at him, "Hey, Tanana, how come your baseball card isn't worth anything?"

I saw Roger Clemens' last game in a Red Sox uniform (he lost to the Yankees), Bill Buckner's first home run with Boston. My father and I ran into a security guard who happened to go to the high school where my father taught, and he let us into the then-brand new roof seats so we could see the immortal Mike Brown beat Seattle, 6-0.

Rueann Marras' Fenway Experience

Last summer [2004] my husband and I went to Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire. On the night before we left to go back home to Louisiana, we went to the game and saw the Red Sox play Tampa Bay. It was a great experience. I had done so much checking on the internet that I knew exactly where everything was when we got there. It was just so great to be able to say I'd been there where "The Babe" had actually played years ago. We spent a lot of the game visiting with a couple from Boston who were so nice. We got to see Curt Schilling pitch, which was exciting. Needless to say, I stayed glued to the TV during the World Series, rooting for the Red Sox.

Justin Anderson's Fenway Experience

I live in North Dakota right now, but I used to live in Massachusetts. I try to make it to Minneapolis when the Sox are visiting the Twins. The Metrodome has no character or appeal compared to Fenway. My wife and I specifically planned our vacation to New England this year [2003] to correspond with a Red Sox homestand. I initially wanted to be there for the last Yankees visit at Fenway but it was impossible to get the time off and there were no tickets available except for singles. I looked at other series in September but finally settled on the Orioles. I figured the last home game would be cool to see, so I choose the 25th. After putting in the order I jokingly remarked to my father that "hypothetically", that game could be a playoff clinching game. Without much more thought about it, I watched as the Sox gained and lost ground in the wild card. We got to Massachusetts the Saturday before the game and I kept telling my wife that we really might see the clinching game if all went right. Then on Tuesday with them trailing in the ninth, I thought that it was unlikely that it would happen. Then Walker tied the game and Ortiz hit the game-winner. All I needed was the Mariners and (sadly) the Sox to lose on Wednesday.... well you know what happened. I couldn't believe my luck. I was holding a ticket to the possible playoff clinching game.

My wife and two other friends sat in the bleachers. We got to Boston early and walked all over downtown and the North End. We got to the game early and discovered we had very good seats that were right behind the visitors' bullpen. During BP, crowds gathered in front of us and we had to stand. Once the game started, security kept the fence clear so we could see. The game was great and we stayed for a while after the game. We watched Nomar try to throw a t-shirt up towards the center field stands. It didn't make it. I was standing on the fence right behind the bullpen. We also watched Todd Jones (I think), pour champagne on one of the Boston city police officers. It was a great game. We got home that night and I watched the highlights on SportsCenter, and they were calling the celebration "over the top". That kind of ticked me off; I thought it was a great celebration. I never have heard Fenway so loud before.

Rich Chiarilli's Fenway Experience

Visiting Fenway Park for the first time is like making a holy journey for a Red Sox fan. Living on the west coast I'm not as fortunate. Our ballparks have no meaning, or passion. As I approached Fenway for the first time, I was simply taken away. For me, this was the ultimate experience. Even though the Red Sox were playing the Tigers, Fenway was sold out. The fans stayed for the final pitch, some even stayed longer. You can't get this type of passion on the left coast. I try to tell my friends about this experience, but they can't seem to understand how important Fenway is to a Sox fan.

Jeremy Coody's Fenway Experience

My first Fenway experience was at the age of twelve. My little league all-star team had just won the Berkshire County tournament here in western Mass. It was the summer of 1987. A good-sized group of parents and kids had gotten together and all rode a school bus three hours to Boston to see our beloved Red Sox. We even had a big white sheet painted with the words, "Cheshire Mass. Loves the Red Sox!" It was the first time I had ever been to a major league park so when I came out of the tunnel and saw that green grass I started to cry. Can you imagine that? A 12-year-old boy shedding tears of joy at the sight of his team's stomping grounds. Our seats were out by the bullpen and my best friend and catcher at the time Tom dropped his hat onto the field during warm-ups. Who do you think picked it up? It was second-year player Bo Jackson. He literally stopped playing catch, walked into the dugout and passed it to us, shook our hands, and went back to warming up. Even though he played for the Royals, it was still a great thrill. Almost as great as meeting Tim Wakefield in Baltimore before a game as he came over to chat with a friend of his that was standing right next to me. That was a thrill because I knew he was going to be great.

As for Fenway, there is no experience like it in all of sports. I have been to many MLB parks such as Camden Yards, Mile High Stadium (in the Rockies' first season), and Atlanta Fulton County (which is gone now, too). Nothing compares to Fenway. It has been a long time for me being military and now Wife military. I haven't gotten back to Fenway in 16 years. But still to this day I still get goosebumps thinking of it. Will they build a new stadium? I think it will happen sooner or later, but I feel that when it does the Green Monster should go to its rightful place in left field.

There are three things in this world that I truly love more than anything: my family, the place I grew up (Berkshire County), and the Boston Red Sox. I have followed them for over 20 years of my 28 on this earth. My grandfather is 82 and he has been a fan for over 75 years. I want them to win for him, for every fan who has spent decades following them and dying with them every year, and for my son who is now one and will visit Fenway next year for the first time. He is very special to me as is this team. Especially this 2003 season. The emotion is like none I have ever seen on that glorious green grass of the best ballpark in history, Fenway.

Andrea O'Neill's Fenway Experience

I have been a Red Sox fan since 1986 (ironic, huh?) I was in 5th grade at the time and had grown up among a family of Phillies fans. I guess I sided with the American League team just to be argumentative, but for some reason, the Sox grew on me and I became a fan for life.

My first major league ballgame experience came with a trip to Baltimore where my dad lived to see the Sox play the Orioles. Boston won in 10 innings after being behind by 3 runs in the 7th (Dad insisted on leaving early to beat the traffic and we listened to the incredible finish on the radio in the car.) 10 years later, my husband and I made the trip to Boston so I could finally see my Sox play at Fenway. Walking into that park was like walking into a cathedral. We took our seats and I almost cried, I was that happy. There is a feeling there - a genuine history that cannot be replaced. You can almost see the fans of yesterday rising to their feet to cheer on Ted Williams or Babe Ruth or any one of the great players of the century. It was incredible to think about what those walls have seen, or how many people those seats have held over time. Ironically, my husband is an Orioles fan and again, Boston beat them that night. I didn't want to leave, and it was obvious by the way my feet dragged to the exit. There is an aura in that ballpark that is almost eerie. After feeling it, I almost belived in the curse. It was too easy to imagine the ghost of Babe Ruth kicking back in a seat behind home plate with a beer and a smile on his face. It's something that I cannot explain, and only those who have been there know what I'm talking about. I know they need a more modern facilty, but I can't see something that historical being leveled for modern conveniences. I'll wait in line for the bathroom, I'll stand for an entire game if necessary, I don't care about a partially obstructed view as long as I can be inside the park. Once it is gone, it is gone - and all the great things about it are gone with it. I hope to get there one more time before............. well, I don't want to think about that!

Ron Vachon's Fenway Experience

My favorite Fenway Park experience just happened to be my last visit there. September 3, 1990, the Sox were playing the Atheletics. I was invited by a company to sit in their skybox seats. I planned on having great seats to see two great teams play. It was the first inning with Rickey Henderson at bat for the A's. Roger Clemens was pitching for the Sox. Rickey hit a foul ball towards the third base side of the field. It was comming toward the luxury box that I was sitting in. I was the only one out there at the time. Everyone else was inside eating shrimp and sipping champagne. I dropped the foul ball into the cheap seats. I got a light round of boos. The very next pitch a foul ball was hit in the same direction. The very same thing happened. I dropped my second consecutive foul ball. This time the faithful gave me a good razzing. I made all the newspapers and talk shows throught the country the next day. My brother in Hawaii saw it on TV. It appeared in 135 papers across the country.

I haven't been back to Fenway since. I moved to Florida.

Jake Foley's Fenway Experience

Fans: My earliest Fenway Park memory is from 1961 - I remember that feeling of entering a cathedral, and noticing how BIG the players looked when taking infield. My Grampa, Charley Weir, took my older brother and I to his usual haunt in the right-field stands, and when a skinny kid took his place in left field to a chorus of boos, I asked Gramp why people didn't like him? He replied that it was just people with little knowledge of baseball, and less patience; his take was - "Let's give the kid a chance - he'll turn out OK." Even Gramp didn't know that Yaz would one day be a Triple Crown and MVP winner, but the torch was passed.

My most memorable experience also involved Grampa Charley, and the Yankees. It was late 60's, and the Home Town Team was taking a licking, down 9-3 in the bottom of the ninth. As many of the fans have related, it behooves out-of-town fans to leave early to beat the rush. When I asked Grampa if we HAD to go (It's a long ways from central Vermont to Fenway), he just laughed, and said "It's not over till it's over" and turned to holler to the next batter "Come on, boys, let's GO!" After a few scratch hits, a hit batsman, a Yaz bomb into the bullpen, our Sox whupped the Yankees 10-9. (If you don't believe me, like the Perfessor says, you could look it up.)

Last, but perhaps most important, is the continuity of rooting for the Red Sox. In 1962, when I was 12, Grampa brought my brother and I to the Fens on the spur of the moment, and was unable to get his usual seats in right field, so we were schlepping down Lansdowne St. to get into the bleachers. It was almost gametime, and most of the crowd had cleared out. I remember all the food vendors closing up their carts, and gawking at the net atop the Green Monster.......... and I walked headlong into the first parking meter in line next to the Wall!!!! I was embarrassed, but Gramp just smiled, and said he was sure it happened to a lot of people their first time down Lansdowne Street.

Fast forward to 1992, when my Cincinnati Red wife (She's coming around) and I took our den of 12-year old Cub Scouts to get some bleacher seats to see the White Sox with Bo Jackson. We took them on the subway (ten 12-year-olds - keep them together in a crowd!), and watched them as they schlepped down Lansdowne Street, looking at the hat and food vendors closing up their carts, gawking at the net atop the Green Monster........... and my eldest son (age 12) walked headlong into the exact same parking meter I had hit 30 years ago, almost to the day!

From Grandpa Charley, to me, to Brandon (Lefty-hitting catcher - maybe a Red Sox player of the future, eh?), Fenway is the greatest place to see a ball game, and the Red Sox are the ONLY team to root for!

P.S. I don't agree with management that can't get us a championship often, but Fenway should be replaced - the original left in pieces; Diamond vision screen?!! 600 Club abortion?!!! I DO agree with the fan who spoke up for inexpensive seats; my Grampa was not wealthy, but he went to every game he could make - these are the true fans - the ones whose moms will forge them a "sick" note for opening day. In '67, we painted a sign on a sheet and hung it from our chimney - my dad was furious, but Mom said she needed a new sheet, anyway. She also wrote us a note that we could skip classes to go to the auditorium, where the principal had a TV set up for us rabid Red Sox FANS! There is NO curse (Unless you count Duquette), so GO SOX!

Maria Lampasona's Fenway Experience

About 10 years back [1988], my Dad took me to my first Sox game. My favorite player was (and still is) Dwight Evans. Well, about 6 innings into the game, I decided I needed to use the restroom. I was about 11, so I was little and was able to cut about 6 women in line undetected. Well, when I emerged from the bathroom, at the exact moment I walked far enough to have a good view of the game, Dewey hit a home run. My Dad was so disappointed I had missed it, but in actuality, if I had been a tenth of a second later I would have. We were both so excited that my first experience of many in the best ballpark in the world also consisted of my seeing my favorite player slam one over the Monster!

Matthew Savoie's Fenway Experience

I grew up in Massachusetts. My mom was the Red Sox fan. My dad was never much interested in baseball, but tolerated my mom's passion for the game. She grew up going to see the Red Sox and Boston Braves as a young girl in the mid 40's and early 50's. My grandmother and grandfather loved baseball and would often take my mom and her sisters (all huge baseball fans) to Boston several times a year to see Ted Williams (yes, I'm jealous), Dom DiMaggio, and others play.

My first memories of the Red Sox came during the miracle season of 1975. As a young impressionable boy, my favorite players were Carlton Fisk and Fred Lynn. I remember watching the 1975 World Series on TV with my mom, and getting scolded for sneaking out of bed to covertly watch the night games. I especially remember sneaking out just in time to see Bernie Carbo hit his 3-run 8th inning home run in Game 6 to tie the game. Unfortunately, I fell asleep before the 12th... but hey, I was only 7.

Some of my fondest memories of growing up are from the times my parents took me to Boston to see my Red Sox play in Fenway Park. I still remember being thrilled in 1977 when my parents took me to see the Red Sox play the Milwaukee Brewers and win 12-1. And, 1979 when they played the Royals and George Brett dropped a foul ball right in front of us.

I still get chills when I walk into Fenway Park. To me, there is no sight more beautiful than walking up the ramp and seeing the Green Monster rise in front of you; and then, seeing the green, green grass so perfectly manicured. It's like you're walking into the Cathedral of baseball.

Anyway, I've long since left New England. I enlisted in the Army in 1986. Unfortunately for me, my drill sergeant was a New York Mets fan from Queens, New York. I ended up doing countless pushups for Bill Buckner's costly error. So, I feel like I've suffered more than most Red Sox fans!

Tom Connolly's Fenway Experience

I have many memories of Fenway going back to the early 50's. The one night of pure magic was in September of '75 when Jim Palmer went against Luis Tiant. The Sox had a good, good team and were leading Baltimore by 2 1/2 games with maybe two weeks to go. I went straight from work to Fenway where a guy from the neighborhood, East Somerville, was already inside with tickets for the bleachers. We had about 8 guys that night. Tiant was warming up in the bullpen with the crowd cheering on each warmup pitch. When he walked into the infield and dugout the crowd gave him a standing ovation.

He and Palmer were both on their game, but the Sox took an early lead and never looked back. Tiant was turning his body to center field and working the moment let a great bullfighter. This was the night the "Louie, Louie, Louie" chant began. The crowd chanted his name all night long. I will never forget that night!

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