Opening Day at Fenway Park
Wait Till Next Year
By: Charles Giuliano - Apr 13, 2011
The Boston Red Sox, a preseason pick to make it to the World Series, have been a flopperrrooo so far. Total bust.
It’s been mostly Casey at the Bat at Fenway Park with no joy in Mudville or Bean Town.
When I informed my buddy Mark Favermann, a BFA contributor/ editor, that I would be in Boston last week, he said “What are your plans for Friday.”
It seemed like a trick question.
Then the sweet music fell on my astonished ears.
“How would you like to join me for Opening Day at Fenway Park” he said.
Be still dear heart.
For days I scrutinized the weather forecasts. It was a blustery, wintery week. Mostly grim and overcast for early April. Predictions of showers and general gloom.
“We can take in the opening ceremonies and leave if it is too cold” Mark suggested.
Just like a kid on Christmas Eve I didn’t get much sleep the night before the game. With the cursed New York Yankees. Which only made it all the more thrilling.
Tough tickets getting megabucks from scalpers.
“Be at my place by noon” Mark said. He lives just steps from Fenway about a ten minute walk. “You will be joining my friends Ben Kilgore and Joe Beegan.”
Mark was waiting with the door open when I arrived just on time.
He described designing the huge flag to be unfurled as well as all of the infield signage from first to third base. Over the years he has worked for many professional sports teams including the Olympics, NCAA Final Four and Bowl Games. That comes with some nice perks. He showed me a season pass to Fenway Park.
“I don’t need a ticket” he said. “I can just walk in on any game. However, I have standing room only most of the time.”
Some guys have all the luck.
Not long after Joe Beggan, a tall cheerful dude, arrived. He is a transportation planner who works on projects with Mark. Seems we are both Boston Latin grads but a generation apart. I was class of 1959 before girls when it was still tough. One in four graduated. We compared notes on attending the nation’s oldest school (1635).
And waited and waited for Mark’s deadbeat friend Ben Kilgore, a public relations guy.
I mean, what noive, to be late for opening day at Fenway. Comped no less. The whole deal cost me just seven bucks for a sausage sandwich and a fin for some soft ice cream. That compared to the hundreds most fans fork over for a game. Geeze, the sign for parking said $35 bucks.
Kind of pissed at Ben, "Typical," Mark remarked. He pinned a note to the door and the three of us set out.
It was mobbed at Yawkey Way as we inched forward on the ticket line. Hell, it was Opening Day with Red Sox Nation in full glory.
There was a frenzy with 40,000 fans crushing about.
Joe and I found our seats while Mark was still trolling for Ben.
We are three big guys. Joe is more trim and fit than Mark and I but it was a tight squeeze in the seats. Not much wiggle room. Joe commented that it was a lot better than it used to be. Hard to believe.
The opening festivities were thrilling. What we couldn’t see from our seats next to the outfield was broadcasted on two vast, almost three dimensional screens. They seemed somewhat redundant. During the game itself it would have been nice to have one dedicated to following the game and instant playbacks. Particularly on tight calls by the umps.
The huge flag than Mark designed and had fabricated for the occasion was most impressive. I was busting with pride for my pal.
Then, gosh darn gracious, the PA announced that Yaz would throw out the opening pitch.
He is grey haired and thicker than his playing weight. But cripes what a thrill.
Then the game started. It was crappy. Both pitchers was lousy.
Yankees Suck we chanted. It was true this day as the Sox actually won their first game of the season and only one since then now a week later.
Hey, they even got swept by Cleveland which, pre season, was predicted to have the worst team in the league.
Talk about flip flop.
After an inning Mark and Ben connected by cell phone.
Mark, what a great guy, went looking to collect Ben. Somewhat later he came back with the dufus in tow.
“How can you be late for opening day at Fenway” I asked Ben in a testy tone.
Ben responded with some ragtime jive about distance, weather, and the state of the union.
And it seems, he’s also a Republican. Oi vey.
By the 7th inning when we left, Joe stayed, the Sox were ahead.
Hard to believe.
I had to meet Astrid at the Parker House by 5:30.
The ambiance was awesome. Just being there with all those fans was amazing.
But hey, time to dump Dice K and make a few trades. They may have looked good on paper pre season. But boy they suck. Big time.
As they say in Boston.
Wait till next year.