Saturday, April 11, 2009

First Fenway Game Of 2009

Above, the first picture I took in Fenway Park in 2009. Wednesday, April 8th.

Left: old seats, right: new seats. You're supposed to line up at 4:10 to go the Monster Seats for BP for a 7:10 game, if you have an RSN membership. At 4:40, they let you up there for a half-hour. I got there right at 4:10 and there were at least 50 people on line already. When we went up, we were only allowed on the right half of the Monster, and I quickly realized I could also go to the bleachers, too, which I should've done, as the few people who did got easy HR balls.

Instead, I stayed up there, and got nothing. Here's the improved RF roof area.

Now I'm down close--note the row letters on the new field box seats.

I was psyched to see Gabe Kapler again. (He had previously returned with the Brewers.)

Pat Burrell in a non-Phillies uniform.

It was cold and windy.

Longoria pointing to where his self-esteem went.

The new loge seats/ground/paint.

New grandstand. The seats have all been restored with springback mechanisms. It used to be "fall forward" as you slammed your shin into a seat bottom, now it's "spring back."

Very close to the 2004 banner.

New shelf for standing room behind the plate.

View from said shelf.

Look at that. Not one seat in the down position. Of course, this is only from dugout to dugout.

You can really see how bright red the new seats are.

Walkway on first base side, now lower.

And from the first row of the loge, you can really tell--look how far you have to go up just to reach the first row. The back row of the field boxes are also raised up now.

Carlos Pena and friends/relatives.

A Tampa player's shoes--maybe Iwamura. But look, that's a Red Sox Baldelli bat! Long after Red Sox BP has ended.

I saw the shots of them putting up a new screen--but it really is different, coming down to the wall at an angle. And I don't think the facing of it goes as high as it used to. But the big question on everybody's chapped lips was, Did they "fix" the top part, where balls would roll up and then drop straight down into the crowd? On the first foul ball, it appeared they did, as it just rolled back toward the field. Every one after that, though, dropped into the crowd. Nice. If only those people paid attention and knew it was coming, but they never seem to.

Underneath the first base grandstand is a door from 1912--and in it they now have a replica of the 1912 World Series trophy, and a pic of that year's team.

The story of the door.

And just to the left, year-by-year Bud ads. Much like the WS logos they have up by the players' lot outside, which went up last year despite someone on UniWatch saying they were knew for this season.

The "ca" lights are out. To the right of those, the lights that are on, but don't show up in photographs. And on the outsides, the lights that are on and do show up.

Another shot of the old seats next to the new seats.

Now I'm way down the first base line. Check out thee one green plastic seat among the blue wooden ones.

It's funny how when Tek plays long toss with the pitcher, he appears to be part of the crowd.

Jon Lester, who would take the loss that night.

Kazmir, Kazmir, Kazmir!

Fans watch Lester warm up.

Those WS logos I mentioned earlier? They're also in that stairway behind section 1.

They've got a monitor up in the Cumb. Farm. section. I like how this sign kind of blends in unoffensively. I also remember the old ad from Red Sox games back in the early 80s on radio (on "Campbell's Sports Network")--"that Cumberland quality, Cumberland charm, something something, Cumberland Farms." Can anybody fill in that third line?

Rocco's first Red Sox start.

My first regular season Red Sox pitch of '09.

Another new thing: the starting lineups show the player on the board, with shots of old Red Sox greats playing behind them, with the position of the old matching that of the new, so, Lester would have Smoky Joe Wood, Bay would have Ted Williams, etc.

And of course, we still have the Fenway tradition where every seventh inning stretch, you have to tell all the shocked fools around you that Sweet Caroline plays, as it has for years and years, in the middle of the EIGHTH INNING. Of course, I beat them to it now--they'll go "but what happened to...??!!!" and I'll say, "eighth inning." I'm telling you, next time you go to Fenway, just start looking around during the 7th inning stretch, and you'll see the faces start to contort--it's fun to predict which drunken college girl/boy will be the first to ask what happened to Sweet Caroline. Listen to my spiel about that here--maybe skip ahead to about 3 minutes or so.

Oh, and the House of Blues on Lansdowne is finally, essentially, done:

Edited to add: I forgot to mention the family hour, which is the first hour after gates open. This is when food prices are really cheap. They're only doing it in April. When I go to games, I buy one thing: a slice of pizza. Even if I did drink beer, I like to think I wouldn't need one at a game. I see how many innings people miss and how much cash they spend just to get beer, and I feel like I wouldn't want to do that anyway. And in most cases, I don't feel the need to buy a four dollar water when I can just take a few gulps at the water fountain before the game. But I usually get my one slice (or those personal Papa Gino's pizzas that are the size of a Kennedy half). So anyway, in that first hour, I got my pizza slice--for $2.25! On the second day, I got two on principle.

Personally, I find the flip up seats annoying. I didn't like it when they made the change in the bleachers a couple years ago. I used to be able to stand up during a big play and plop my scorebook on my seat until I needed to sit again. Now, the seat flips up so I have to hold the book, since I'm certainly not putting it on the ground. Plus, I can't store anything on an empty seat next to me.
You take the good with the bad I guess. In the past you did at least have the choice of how to leave your seat or the one next to you, up or down. I think overall it's easier on everybody this way, though, just for moving past people in a row--and it's pretty easy to just push down on the seat with your butt and sit right down. I also have no problem resting my camera bag between seat and seatback, with the little pocket it creates.
I hate the flip-up seats, too. I always have an extra jacket or sweatshirt just in case, and if I don't have it on, I like to leave it on my seat. If I have to get up, I juggle my scorecard and the jacket, and then arrange it all again before sitting back down. If it's because someone needs to get by, that's fine, but if it's because I'm jumping up in anticipation of strike 3 and then sitting back down when it ends up being a ball, or craning to see a ball hit into the triangle, or applauding a good offensive play, etc., it's quite annoying! If they had at least put cupholders in the bleachers when they redid those seats last year, it wouldn't bother me because I wouldn't have to worry about my stuff falling into everyone else's beer cups.

But I digress. A little. OK, a lot. :)

I was just going to say you took great pics. I totally missed the plaque explaining to the 1912 door, so I thought it was just a display case with the 1912 cup in it.

There's a similar plaque next to the men's room behind the 3B grandstand for "The Steel Bridge" that used to connect Fenway to a neighboring building.

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Location: Rhode Island, United States