If you live in the Northeast region of the United States, you were most likely blessed with gross, frigid weather for Memorial Day Weekend. For the second straight time paying the city of Boston (and Fenway Park for that matter) a visit, I was greeted by rain, wind, and cold. During the summer. In fact, upon my arrival, I received the following text message from Maria: “I feel like you bring rain to Boston every time you see the Red Sox!”
Despite the rain falling in sheets, NESN (New England Sports Network aka: New England’s version of SNY or YES) assured us that first pitch would go on as scheduled. Skeptical, we left Erin’s apartment (armed with towels, umbrellas, and layers) and took the green line to Kenmore with enough time for us to grab food and get to our seats before Jon Lester was set to take the mound for the Sox.When we reached Fenway Park, we stopped briefly outside to take what’s becoming a traditional yoga photo outside Gate C on Lansdowne Street. Because yoga and baseball totally go hand in hand. Right? Since I’d already started doing eight angle pose at the games, I felt obligated to do it here…with my poor midget hands sitting in the cold, dirty puddles of the Boston sidewalk. Pleasant. Don’t worry. Erin showered my hands in anti-bacterial cream as soon as I stood up.
Naturally, once we got inside, we found the tarp covering the field and the already tight concourse packed with people trying to stay dry during the rain delay. We knew that the best “meat” in the ballpark was the kind sold from vendors stationed on Yawkey Way, so we headed in that direction pretty soon after entering the building. Unfortunately, when we reached our destination, we discovered Yawkey Way to be totally deserted!Quite unlike the Yawkey Way I remember from my last visit:
We stood in the rain for a few moments, contemplating the gravity of the situation. Now we’d have to eat a hot dog from INSIDE the stadium. Meat that, based on our last memory of the Fenway Frank, was just one step above the Dodger Dog (aka: grilleddead baby finger). This was an unappealing prospect. We talked about not eating. Yes. Me. I actually talked about not getting food. You’ve seen the unlimited powers of my stomach right here on this blog and yet, here I was telling myself, “You’re really not that hungry.” When have I EVER said that? Oh, yes. When I had food poisoning.
Erin had gotten a really cool souvenir Ted Williams soda cup with his career stats on it. I saw it on display at a few concession stands and decided I wanted one. I rarely drink soda, but for $7.50 (with free refills I might add…very cool), I felt that the little splurge on root beer (although I’m not sure why they were so against filling my cup with actual beer) was worth it. The stand right next to the Gate C entrance (yes, we walked all the way back to where we’d come in) had no line. After receiving my soda, we noticed a sandwich board nearby listing the specialty Fenway Franks they had to offer. There was A LOT! Infinitely more than when Lisa and I came to town.
The lovely man pulling cashier duty told us that normally, he’s supposed to charge $2 extra/hot dog for adding toppings, but if we rung out food up together, he’d only charge $2 total for our toppings. Obviously the man was an angel sent to take care of us (before you question this, yes, I can be bought with something as simple as $2 hot dog toppings…and yes, I’m aware that this is pathetic). As he fixed our hot dogs, I noticed that something truly terrible and tragic had happened. My Ted Williams cup was not Ted Williams at all. It was Carl Yastrzemski. What the shit? Calmly, I put my best smile on (the one I use when I want something from you) and asked if I could switch cups. Pretty please? His supervisor kindly explained that there were none left, only the one on display, which had a hole punched into the bottom to prevent theft. Carl Yastrzemski was the park’s “series 2” cup and Ted Williams was “series 1.” I was stunned. Was Yastrzemski a great player? Yes. Did that mean I wanted his cup? No. I’m a f*cking Yankees fan. What the hell do I want that sh*t in my bedroom for? Ted Williams was the only acceptable option for me. He seemed to sense my distress because he offered the Ted Williams display cup to me for no charge, which I happily accepted. It’s now in my bedroom (with Yastrezemski’s cup tucked into it) next to the ball Adam LaRoche tossed me during a batting practice at Shea Stadium from his days as an Atlanta Brave.The hot dogs renewed our faith in the Fenway Frank. Let’s call it a comeback, shall we? They were NOT garbage. They were pretty damn yummy and cost us a total of $12 for both. Erin’s hot dog had nacho cheese sauce and chili while mine was topped with jalapeño peppers, spicy mustard, Choulula hot sauce, and sauerkraut (because within me lives a fat kid that loves cake and pizza).
You may have noticed from this photo that I’m not wearing a Red Sox hat (and if you didn’t notice, now you have). I’m wearing a Notre Dame Softball hat. The Fighting Irish was not playing that day or anything like that, but I refused to wear a Red Sox hat and I was not going to be “that a-hole” who wears Yankees hats to games in which the Yankees are not playing. This hat prompted a lot of charming old men working at Fenway to ask what position Erin and I played on the softball field (catcher and third). We’d never played for Notre Dame (the hat is a gift from Old Man Ed that was bought during his trip to see the Notre Dame football team take on Stanford several months earlier), but they didn’t need to know that.
We got to our seats just as the Red Sox were gearing up for their first inning. We wiped down our soaked chairs with Erin’s towels and settled in under the umbrella. Our section was empty and we hoped that the rain had driven most of the crowd away so we’d be able to keep the umbrella over our heads for the duration of the game.Luck would not be in our favor. The umbrella lasted over our heads for maybe 10 minutes. After the people sitting behind us showed up, we lowered the umbrella to cover our legs so at least our thighs wouldn’t get wet. We spent the rest of the game looking and acting somewhat like this:
It was like Fenway Park knew that within its midst, there was a sleeper agent. Someone dressed in a way that was passable for a local Red Sox fan, but harbored love for the enemy. That sleeper agent was me and the enemy was the Yankees. In my only two Red Sox games at Fenway, a heavy downpour slammed us, like the stadium tried to purify itself of the toxin strolling along its concourses, sitting in its seats, and eating its food. I did not belong there.
Besides the shoddy defense (caused by what we assumed was the bad weather) and 3-run 2nd inning by the Red Sox off of Justin Masterson, the game proved to be somewhat uneventful until the 6th inning. Through it all, the rain continued to fall and our clothing continued to soak through our layers of clothing. Here we are, fake smiling in our misery:Here are some cute kids that were small enough to sit and fit beneath this umbrella. Lucky turds:
Oh, look. More f*cking rain:
At this point, we were begging for 1, 2, 3 innings. Please, just end this game. The Sox were winning, we wanted to go home. The players MUST’VE wanted to go home, but it would not be so. The Red Sox decided to stage what seemed like a never-ending rally in the 7th that included a bevy of pitching changes (in actuality, it was only 4 runs and 2 pitching changes, but it felt like a lot more as we sat there shivering with clenched muscles and chattering teeth). We agreed that once we stood, we were so drenched and cold that there was no way we could possibly sit back down. We’d just leave. At the end of the 7th, we’d had enough. The Red Sox were ahead 8-1 and I’d swear that the rain began falling harder.
Before we left, we asked the security guard to snap a photo of us with the field. He took two.Like our sarcastic thumbs up in front of the Green Monster? As he gave back my camera, he noticed my hat.
“You played softball?”
“I did. Yes.”
To Erin. “You?”
“I was a catcher.”
“You were the smartest one of the field.”
Haha. That man was awesome.