Saturday, July 15, 2017

Fenway Park Tour

We cannot tell you how excited we were to do a guided tour of Fenway Park. Several people told us that it was the best guided tour in the league, which is believable since it IS the oldest ballpark. Unfortunately, the tour did not live up to the hype. We must emphasize the fact that we were EXCITED to do the tour because we know that we're probably going to get the anti-New York peanut gallery on this one. Our criticism has nothing to do with the team, our dislike of the team, or our dislike of a good portion of their fans.

And now, for our story. It started a few days before we left for Boston.

A little backstory first. We bought tickets to see NKOTB, Paula Abdul, and Boyz II Men at Fenway Park with our delightful friend, Maria. Don't judge us. Just shut up. Since we were going to be in Boston and at Fenway Park ANYWAY, we thought it would be a great opportunity to do the guided tour we'd been hearing so much about.

Fast forward to a few days before the trip. Serena received an email from Fenway Park tour management regarding the tour tickets she purchased. Apparently, due to a "special event" (aka: our blast from the past concert), Fenway Park would not be holding any tours after noon (we had purchased the 1 pm tour). Considering that this so-called special event was on the calendar for awhile now, you'd think that Fenway would've planned for this and simply not offered the 12pm or 1pm tour on that day. Whatever. We can get over that as management allowed us to hop onto one of the earlier tours. The problem with that tactic is that everyone who booked the 12pm and 1pm tours ALSO received that offer.

When we arrived for the tour, the crowd was insane. There was simply just too many people for the tour group to manage. They broke us up into groups, but there was still too many people. In fact, it was clear that tour management didn't know how to handle the situation because our tour guide (more on him later) ended up just letting us wander around half the time without any guidance or input.

Now for our tour guide. He was a nice boy, but he was a complete buffoon. He started his tour by giving us a pop quiz about the ballpark. Sadly, the only quiz questions he asked were about movies that were either filmed at or took place at Fenway Park. That's right, kids. Nothing about the franchise or the oldest ballpark in the league, but about movies. At this point, the five of us agreed that any of us would've been better tour guides. It's worth nothing that none of us are from Boston nor are any of us Red Sox fans. Maria doesn't care about baseball, only Big Papi, Erin is an Orioles' fan, Matt is a Mariners' fan, and then you have us - a Mets' fan and a Yankees' fan.

Our first stop was just inside the concourse. The guide kindly pointed out that it was featured in The Town during the Fenway Park heist. Meanwhile, right behind him was a Boston Strong plaque. That was probably something he should've mentioned, but didn't. He also made sure to spend some time making fun of the Yankees and Yankees' fans. Super cool. Not the we're tooting our own horns or anything, but we assure you that neither Yankee Stadium tour nor the Citi Field tour mentioned any of their Eastern Division rivals.

Then we made our way to the field level section, where the tour group management wasted a bunch of time taking photos of us that they then tried to charge us for later. From our ridiculous photo shoot, we were led to a random section of seats.
We finally got a little trivia about the ballpark from the guide here, but it wasn't anything too impressive. He did mention how the seats on top of the Monster came about and that was cool. Sadly, he had a missed opportunity. Since the field crew was setting up for the concert, you couldn't see it, but directly across from where we were sitting was the section where the Ted Williams' seat is located. Granted, you couldn't see anything because the seat was covered with a tarp, but this was a golden opportunity to mention a little bit of Red Sox history.

From here, the guide led us to the seats on top of the Monster. Also cool. He even talked about the Pesky Pole and Carl Yastrzemski's famous home run. That was the part of the tour where we got the most information out of this guy. It was good information, but that is not the point.

After the Monster, he talked about famous live performances that had been held at Fenway, which is probably the least interesting thing about Fenway. Then he marched us right by a garden, didn't talk about it, and ushered us to the press box. What the f*ck? It's actually pretty cool and warranted discussion. Yes, there was a plaque that we could read explaining the garden's function, but what's the point in having a tour guide if all we're going to do is look up sh*t ourselves?
In the press box, they left us alone for about ten minutes. Said nothing. Pointed nothing out. Eventually, someone (not our guide) came in and told us that it was a just a stop to take photos, nothing more, and could we please keep moving?

We didn't even see our tour guide again until we managed to stumble upon him. He didn't say anything to us. Just offered to take photos of people with the three World Series trophies that they randomly set up in an arbitrary location. He didn't even talk about the trophies or the series that they came from.

After milling about this section for a few minutes without any guidance, our guide announced that it was the end of our tour. What???? We've been to several guided tours, so this was not our first rodeo. This could NOT possibly be the "best guided tour in the league." Serena grabbed the tour guide's assistant and point blank asked him if this was what a typical tour would be like without the concert. His response was disconcerting. "Oh, no. Normally, we would've gone on the field and inside the scoreboard. But I think they tried to make it up to you by taking you to the Green Monster and the press box. They never do that. That was a treat."

Wait, what? Okay, we understand why we couldn't go on the field or in the scoreboard because of the concert set up. Totally. We get it. However, the team dugout was police barricaded. They could've taken us to the clubhouse and the dugout, if not the field. There was no game, therefore no team in either clubhouse. What's the big deal? Every tour we've ever been on took us down to the field. They can't blame it on the high number of attendees on the tour because that was Fenway Park's fault. To be frank, since it was their mistake, they should've given us a partial refund. The tour was on the pricey end of the spectrum as far as tours are concerned ($20/each + fees, which means the five of us spent at least $100 for this tour in our group alone). They shouldn't have had those late afternoon tours on the schedule available for purchase in the first place. Secondly, why the hell AREN'T the Green Monster seats and press box included on the normal tour? The Green Monster is iconic and the most recognizable part of Fenway Park. Again, every tour we've ever been on included the press box. It's absurd to think that you wouldn't include either of these things.

As we exited the stadium, we passed an entire wall of framed jerseys. Each jersey was from a different era in Red Sox history. Again, a missed opportunity. Our guide had a chance to stop here and talk about each uniform and the team's history during that time period. Instead, he didn't even acknowledge their existence. He just walked us out the door. Two thumbs down.

We do think that the tour probably deserves a do-over on a day when there is no event, but we can't help but be extremely disappointed.

Here are some photos from the concert, just so you can see what a concert at Fenway Park looks like:


  1. Did they give you any Dunkin Donuts coupons on the tour? Hard to find those up there.

    Of course Lisa would be drawn to the Spanish radio booth. lol

  2. What a terrible tour guide. He took you to section 26, but not Section 36?!?!?

    Sorry you got a bum tour. It's really usually supposed to be pretty good.

    1. He said section 36 was under renovation. :p

    2. There is no section 36 in the grandstand section of Fenway the only section 36 in Fenway is in the bleachers.

  3. I'm a former Fenway Park Tour Guide. I was with the team from 2013 through this June when I "retired" from the position. Unfortunately what you're describing here is a side effect of the special event (concert) that went on. We as tour guides dread the concerts (at least I did) because of how they messed with the tour route and how they didn't allow me, as the guide, to give the optimum experience to the patrons.

    That being said... whoever told you we go inside the scoreboard or on the field either flat out lied or was severely misinformed. The scoreboard is never part of the public tour; it's not ADA accessible. I only went in there a few times on special VIP tours (former players, friends of team management, etc.). We did get field access now and then but it was never part of the standard tour route.

    It's a bummer the tour didn't live up to your expectations but I can promise you that it's worth checking out again. Honestly, the best tours are on days with no events or games... if you really want the full experience, you should come during the winter. Lots of places are available for tours to visit.

    Hope you can swing by again and take another tour.

    1. We figured that the concert had something to do with the diaorganization of the tour, but the guide and as you so clearly pointed out, the assistant, were not very good. We suspect that if we had gotten a normal tour given by this guy, we still would not have impressed with the information they provided. The guide just had nothing of value to share with us about Fenway or the franchise itself. 👎

      That being said, it's not that difficult for us to get to Boston, so we aren't against checking out another tour.

  4. And the Green Monster seats are always 100% part of the tour... again, you got very wrong information from the "tour guide assistant." :)